Lentil soup is not always on everyone’s favorite list, but with a little care can be one of the finest soups you’ll ever try. Years of trying to make lentil soup, or stew, went by and I failed miserably with tasteless soup that my family would eat only to be polite. I finally picked up a book of soup recipes, and followed the directions on lentil soup and now everyone loves the lentil soups I make. This soup is a delicious and healthy dinner that is great comfort food for those winter nights.
Use substitutions where you feel they fit, but follow this basic recipe. Kosher salt can be any salt really, and extra-virgin olive oil is substituted with butter by some. Also, if you want this to be more of a super healthy recipe with no fat try subbing vegan sausage and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
One of the keys to making healthy meals flavorful is to use fresh herbs and spices. Some use several spices from the jar, which after drying in your cupboard for years are like sawdust. It’s better to use just a couple fresh spices for this recipe than several dry old ones. And, for garlic try simply dicing fresh rather than from a jar or squashing it in one of those garlic smashers.
The prep time on this depends on how long it takes to chop the veggies. But, since they don’t require precision should take no more than 10-20 minutes. Cook time can vary, since letting it steep in the pot for hours will help spread the flavor. Although, a half hour is probably fine.
Enjoy, eat healthy, live well!
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 12 ounces mild Italian sausage, diced into ½-inch cubes
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ cup lentils
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Arugula Pesto:
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 teaspoon marjoram or oregano
- 1 cup arugula
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the soup: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the sausage and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and fennel seeds; cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the white wine and cook, scraping up any vegetable bits that might have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add lentils and stock. Cook until the lentils are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Add tomato paste and kosher salt. Set aside.
- For the pesto: Using a food processor, pulse the garlic, marjoram, arugula and toasted pine nuts until well minced. With the food processor running, add the olive oil, lemon zest, juice and salt. Scrape down the sides and pulse again, adding more salt or lemon juice if needed.
- To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of arugula pesto and garnish with a sprig of marjoram.