Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simple Sausage & Lentil Soup

The weather has finally started to feel like winter here in the Frozen Tundra.  New Years Eve was our first measurable snowfall here of the winter, and we only picked up just over an inch of wet, heavy snow. 

But, the snow ushered in the Canadian chill, which is the perfect excuse to try a new soup. 

This simple soup is filled with veggies and yummy lentils.  We use lentils in my mom’s famous turkey noodle soup, but other than that, our cooking experience with them is rather limited. 

Lentils are a legume – that means they are part of the bean & pea {and peanut} family.  These plants are especially excellent to grow because they have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that fix nitrogen for the plants!  This means the plants have an excellent nitrogen source and the need for fertilizer is reduced, even in poor soils.  Sheesh… can you tell I’m preparing to teach my plant class.  Sorry. 

Okay. Moving on.

Lentils are an excellent source of protein, including two essential amino acids.  Green lentils contain more than 30% fiber, are a good source of iron and vitamin B.  They are one of the healthiest of a non-traditional food. 

Have you cooked with lentils before? 

If not, give this soup a try.  You’ll enjoy it!

Simple Sausage & Lentil Soup – Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C green lentils
  • 1/2 lb. ground Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced (or 2 T minced onion)
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced (about 3/4 C)
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced (about 2 C)
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 T minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • sea salt & crushed black pepper, to taste
  • 6 C chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

Directions

Lentils need to be soaked before use – so, bring pour the lentils into a large bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Allow the lentils to soak for at least 15 minutes.  Then drain. 

Kitchen Tip: Why soak the lentils?  Lentils have properties that inhibit the enzyme, trypsin, a key digestive enzyme that works to break down protein in the small intestine.  Soaking (for up to 24 hours) decreases the action of the trypsin inhibitor – which is what we desire! 

Being the soup by browning the Italian sausage in the bottom of a large stockpot.  Drain excess grease. 

Add the minced garlic, 1 small diced onion, 3/4 C diced celery and 2 C sliced carrots to the stockpot.  Toss in the 1 tsp. basil and 1 tsp. oregano.  Stir well. 

Heat the veggie meat mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Then, add the can of undrained diced tomatoes, and 6 C chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer and add the lentils. 

Add in the zucchini.  Then cover the soup & simmer for 1 hour to 1 hour & 30 minutes until veggies and lentils are tender.  Season with salt & pepper as desired. 

Serve warm.

Linked to: Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday 2, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday & Kitchen Tip Tuesday

8 comments:

  1. This looks wonderful! I have used lentils some, but I would like to use them more. I try to sneak in a small handful when I can to bump up the nutrition of a dish. I don't usually soak them, but just make sure I cook them long enough. I have failed at this before and they were a little hard and not very tasty, but it usually works if I have enough time allowed. Is there a reason to soak them other than to make them cook more quickly? Do you soak them if you are cooking something like this in the crockpot all day?

    I am loving your healthy recipes. I tried your sweet potato chewy granola bars last night. Yummy! I plan to save the rest in the freezer for mornings I work for a quick breakfast.

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  2. Oh my goodness, this sounds so amazing on this COLD day!!!

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  3. I haven't cooked with lentils before, but this yummy looking soup definitely makes me want to try!

    We're finally get winter-feeling weather here in NY too...had 2 inches this weekend of snow, and now it's chilly!

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  4. This looks very delicious...and I actually have some of the ingredients on hand right now! :) I agree with you...the extremely cold temperatures make me craving some warm, tasty soups!

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  5. Just noticed your tip about soaking lentils that answers my question. :) Not sure if that was there before and I missed it, or if you added it for me. Thanks either way. I will soak my lentils from now on. :)

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  6. We are growing in our lentil use...but I love the nutritional information on why they're so good for you. Slowly but surely, I'm adding to my lentil recipe collection too. This soup looks like a great way to use up frozen garden veggies and lentils at the same time :)

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  7. LOVE lentils! I cook w/them often. And even tried a recipe on another site for slopppy joes!

    Soaking is a must... I always soak mine overnight w/an acid medium, such as vinegar or lemon juice.

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  8. Great idea for a lunchbox! Would you be interested in linking up to my Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love party?

    http://allergyfreecookery.blogspot.com/2012/01/raspberry-crumble-bars-and-lunchbox.html

    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

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Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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