lentil-soup-with-sausage-chard-and-garlic Recipes

lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic

Every year around this time — well into the winter season, but long after we found it charmingly brisk, as it is when you do googly-eyed things like ice skating around a sparkling tree at the holidays — we get some sort of brittle cold snap in the weather that catches me by surprise. Even though we live in New York, a place where a cold snap or two a January is as predictable as being hosed by some unspeakably awful puddle of street juice slush by a car spinning through an intersection; even though I’ve lived in this exact climate for every one of my thirty-I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it years; and even though I have the audacity to look forward to winter every sticky concrete-steaming summer, when I walk outside on that first 20-degree day and the wind gusts into my face and renders it hard to exhale, the very first thing I do is audibly holler in rage and disbelief, “WHAT THE WHAT?” I am nothing — as we joke when my sweet little son tries to clomp down the hallway in his dad’s massive boots and immediately falls on his tush — if not Harvard Material.

all of this + 24 degrees outside: let's go!

Weeks like the one we’re having on the East Coast require their own bourbon cocktail plane tickets to someplace tropical and child-free, uh, family-friendly elixir and although I’ve previously found comfort in such meal intensities as lasagna bolognese, chili and mushroom and noodles, glorified, I think this year’s pick — a hearty Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic trumps them all. It hails from the new cookbook from the guy behind one of the first food blogs I ever read, and still do, The Amateur Gourmet. I think you should buy it right this very second. Why? Because in it, Adam Roberts does what he does best — schmooze with great chefs and get them to spill the dirt, all in the name of making us better home cooks.

[He’s also good at this with less famous, non-chefs, such as yours truly, when he got me to confess to a packed room last month my top-secret, totally-un-PC method of getting toddlers to occasionally eat what you’d like them to, not that I’d be crazy enough to let that happen twice.]

the easiest simmer

To write this book, Adam travelled all over the country to visit chefs in their work or home kitchens with a reporter’s notebook and jotted down everything. He learned all sorts of goodies such as why Sara Moulton says you should steel your knives before starting to chop things and how you can tell without sniffing or tasting (or crossing your fingers) whether your butter is still good. Oh, and he’s just getting started. Reading this on a lazy Saturday afternoon before my son decided to start his still ongoing nap strike [our household internal dialogue is something like this right now: noooooooo], I was enrapt as I learned the secret of Jonathan Waxman’s technique for tossing salad and how Alice Water’s “crown” of fresh herbs can make even the simplest olive oil-fried eggs heavenly, plus a font of tips he picked up through observation, such as how chefs manage to use their produce before it gets forgotten and goes bad to (still shocking to me) how sparingly most of them used freshly ground black pepper.

rainbow chard

What none of these tips — delightfully, refreshingly — aim to do is intensify the gap between restaurant chefs and home cooks. There’s nobody on a high horse, rolling their eyes at people who prefer to cook from recipes or who benefit from (gasp!) suggested measurements of seasonings. I had very few opportunities to take part in my own eye-rolling-at-chef-recipes pastime, such as when they expect you to use four skillets and eight prep bowls to make a single soup. No, instead this book’s stated goal would, in an ideal world, be the stated goal of every cookbook on the shelves, to be “a prompt, a catalyst for self-reliance in the kitchen.” That it also yielded one of the most delicious, hearty soups that’s ever graced a frigid January day was just the cherry sizzling garlic oil on top.

lentil soup with sausage, chard, garlic

One year ago: Buckwheat Baby with Salted Caramel Syrup
Two years ago: Pizza with Bacon, Onions and Cream and Baked Potato Soup
Three years ago: Poppy Seed Lemon Cake, Black Bean Soup + Toasted Cumin Seed Crema and Cranberry Syrup (+ An Intensely Almond Cake)
Four years ago: Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew, Vanilla Almond Rice Pudding, Light Wheat Bread, Clementine Cake, Mushroom Bourguignon, Sugar Puffs and Smashed Chickpea Salad
Five years ago: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, Pickled Carrot Sticks and Chicken Caesar Salad
Six years ago: World Peace Cookies, Salade Lyonnaise, Artichoke Ravioli and Leek and Mushroom Quiche

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic
Adapted from Secrets of the Best Chefs, where it was provided by Gina DePalma

This soup is hearty and intense and the absolutely best remedy for a brittle, cold winter day — a meal in a bowl that also leaves your home smelling amazing. (I kinda wanted to eat the air.) A few other things I liked about it: it didn’t require you to have broth or stock on hand; you only need to use water because the other ingredients are so aromatic and deeply flavored, it’s not necessary. You could easily make it vegetarian by skipping the sausage. And you could veganize it by skipping the sausage and romano cheese. What you are absolutely not allowed to skip is the sizzling garlic oil as a finish. Drizzled onto the bowls at the last minute (especially with the salty romano cheese on top), it raises the bar, unforgettably.

One P.S. I have a weird aversion to overcooked greens in soups, so only added what I needed right before serving, into the portion we were going to eat. It kept them vibrant, and I kept the leftover greens for today’s eagerly anticipated leftovers.

Serves 6

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (I used half of this, preferring the sausage to not dominate the soup’s flavor [update] and from the comments, it sounds like most of you preferred it with just 2 links as well)
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is, conveniently, a little less than 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)

When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.

To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

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436 comments on lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic

  1. Elizabeth

    I’m trying to cook my way through your book and you’re not helping by posting such delicious looking things on your blog at the same time! :)

  2. Jocelyn

    Is there anyway to substitute the sausage for a type or fish? Or perhaps a vegetarian version (tofu, anything like that)?? Looks great!

  3. Jessie

    Oh, this looks perfect — hearty, easy, healthy, and great for leftovers. I love thick lentil soup as well and refuse to add more water :-)

    1. deb

      Pam — I used the garlic too. You don’t have to if you don’t think you’d like it.

      Jocelyn — I mention in the headnotes that the sausage can be skipped. It’s great here, but the soup would also be good without it.

      Julie — Glad you’re enjoying the book and that we got to meet! I say make it both ways; one veg, one just with meat and pick your favorite. There’s a lot of winter left and I don’t think you’ll mind eating it twice. :)

      Psst — It’s been over a week since I last posted! (Shame on me.) Surely I’m not putting up new recipes too quickly. :)

  4. Julie

    Hi Deb! Loved seeing you in Wheeling, and have made and loved many of the recipes from your book. I’m kosher and can’t do both the meat and the cheese- do you recommend skipping the sausage and just using cheese, or go the meat route and skip the cheese?

  5. Joanne

    Thanks Deb – like Elizabeth, I’m trying to make my way through your cookbook and you keep throwing me curve balls! I am on such a soup kick – I think this is being added to the repetoire for next week. I’m making the gnocchi w/ tomato broth tomorrow!

  6. When cooking with my big Italian family, we sometimes say “there’s no such thing as too much garlic.” Funny, but I never applied it to lentil soup (my mistake!). I sometimes get sick of lentil soup, but this variation with the garlic drizzle looks like a must try.

  7. Jamie

    I took some sweet italian sausage out of the freezer this morning, not quite knowing what I would do with it for dinner tonight. I think you’ve just decided for me!

  8. Deb – i think you mean, Secrets of the Best Chefs, not Cook Like a Chef :) Anyway the link takes you to the right book. And it’s an amazing book at that. Been loving reading it.

  9. Tracy

    Oh you tease. How do you get your toddler to eat what you’d like him to!!! I would have been there if I could have…so it’s kinda the same as telling me now…:)

  10. This soup looks delicious; just the sort of thing I enjoy making. I am a soup fanatic, even though southern California weather hardly warrants it (hello, 80 degrees outside). I know the cold may be miserable, but I feel a little ripped off over here :)

    Anyway, can’t wait to try the soup and check out the book!

  11. Renee

    I am with Tracy – now we need to hear the un-PC tip for feeding toddlers. My daughter is just starting solids, but I am already thinking about this topic!

  12. Love everything about this post. You totally nailed the Winter Denial thing and I have lived thru enough sticky-concrete steaming summers in NY to feel your seasonal-transition pain. I’m a longtime fan of Adam Roberts too. Quite possibly, I discovered his blog thru yours, or vice versa.

    Definitely ready for a new lentil soup recipe, so this helps. As always, the pictures are lovely too. Thanks!

  13. Christina Aydt

    I am a huge fan! I have your book on order and just made your best birthday cake for my son’s 5th birthday (along with many many other things from your blog and they have never disappointed). Thank you for inspiring me! Every time I visit my boyfriend in New York (I live in Dallas) I always hope I’ll magically run into you! So… you have to tell us, how do you get toddlers to occasionally eat what you’d like them to? Ha!

  14. Kristin

    Yum! I don’t have very good luck with lentils, but with all these other delicious things maybe they will turn out just fine. Your timing couldn’t be more perfect, with this vicious cold snap breaking across the country. Hope you and yours are staying warm in NYC!

  15. JanetP

    I’ve been doing a lot of lentil soup with kale this winter already and love it. i leave out the tomatoes and use really good chicken broth, and finish it with some orange juice. Kale and oranges go so well together! Adding sausage, or chorico, is yummy as well, although I prefer it without.

  16. Danielle

    I have leftover cooked sausage in the fridge from yesterdays dinner. Do you think i could use that instead of fresh sausage? Chop it up small and throw it in at the beginning, middle or end?

    1. deb

      Marci — Red lentils are great, but they fall apart more easily in soups.

      Danielle — It’s hard to say. Because there’s just water in the soup, you’ll probably want all the flavor you can get from the sausage so earlier might be better.

  17. Bella

    Julie (& Deb): I get a wonderful vegan chorizo that I think would be really nice here along with the cheese. I’m usually not into fake meats (at all) but as an accent in soup it can really hit the spot by providing some hearty chew and smokiness.

  18. Jennifer

    This is perfect for the snowy cold day we are having here in Toronto. I may try the red lentils too and just add them later in the cooking time? Love you blog.

  19. carissa

    I, too, audibly rage at the first frigid day of winter. I also almost always underdress the first couple days, too, like I forget how serious this Chicago winter is. In my defense I’m from far friendlier climes, but this is my 5th winter and I still can’t get over the snot-freezing cold! And the WIND!

  20. kate C

    Must try this – it looks fabulous! Probably the only thing I was disappointed in your cookbook was that it didn’t have many soup recipes.

  21. Joseph

    Oh my dearest Deb, I’ve followed SK for a few years now, and I owe the vast, vast majority of my greatest home cooking successes to you! I made the gnocchi in tomato broth last night, and when I woke up and saw this recipe, I knew I had to make another tomato-based soup again this week. Thank you so much for your blog, your recipes and everything you do for home cooks! It’s a testament to the ease, affordability and deliciousness of your recipes that even though I’m a busy grad student, I still make one of your recipes once a week to stay well-fed. Thank you!

  22. Susan

    I’m not usually a soup eater, but this winter (in CA, no less) has changed that. I’ve made a 16 bean soup using these ingredients and it was fabulous, too. I usually put the spinach or kale in our soup bowls and pour the hot soup over them. They wilt perfectly, retain their perfect texture and the leftover soup in the pot doesn’t get muddy with tough, overcooked greens. (just to let you know, I have noticed your aren’t posting as often. Hope you aren’t getting bored with blogging now that you get pulled from our attention by the book..;).there, I said it! :)

    1. deb

      Susan — Oh my goodness! I am not even close to being bored of blogging. I really look forward to returning to it full time, as I still love being here most of all. It’s still the book distracting me, a mix of ramping up for the UK release next month (lots of phone interviews with people with awesome accents), planning for the next book tour, and oh, last week there was the small exciting matter of a film crew that took over the apartment for a whole day (details to come!). Anyway, I’ve been baking a bit and hope to have a great cookie to share this week or next. It’s worth the wait. There’s also been some biscotti and a big weekend pancake.

      Re, soups: I always thought I wasn’t a soup person either. But this is my third soup recipe in just a few months and I made a few from the archives recently too so I’m with you. Right now, it’s just working for us.

      Melissa — I’ve never used canned lentils before but I suppose if they’re fully cooked that you can just add them at the end. You might need less water, however, as it won’t be needed for the lentils to “drink.”

      Mayay — I don’t think so. You’d only be reheating/recooking your portion for that day, no repeatedly rewarming the same pot.

  23. Lentils! Lentils have become symbolic of my post-marriage life. My ex/late husband refused to eat lentils. His explanation–it sounded like yentl. That makes sense? So now I love lentils and appreciate getting this recipe on a cold day that’s perfect for lentil not yentl soup.

  24. Lindsay-Jean

    Oh c’mon! Please share your top-secret, totally-un-PC method of getting toddlers to occasionally eat what you’d like them to! We won’t tell anyone!

  25. Okay, so I know you mentioned skipping the sausage if you are a vegetarian. I just can’t eat pork, so do you think substituting turkey sausage would change the flavor too much? Otherwise, I can just skip it.

    It seems like everyone is doing soups for the last couple weeks! I blogged about it, and so did CanYouStayForDinner and HandletheHeat recently. It’s the weather I suppose!

  26. So happy to see a lentil recipe, and this soup looks like a beauty. I think the Lilliputian lentil doesn’t get the respect or attention that it deserves in the States. Lentils are loaded with fiber and come in so many pretty colors. And while I’ll try this hearty soup before winter moves on, you’ve put me in the mood for a French lentil salad with bacon vinaigrette on this sunny day. Thanks!

  27. So, if I’m making this with plans for leftovers… do I drizzle the garlic oil on the individual portions before storing? Or do I store the garlic oil separately, heat it up separately, and THEN drizzle on the oil?

  28. Sarah R

    haha, I was just searching your site last night for lentil soup inspiration! I’ve got a batch going in the slow cooker for when I get home tonight, but I might have to try out the garlic oil drizzle. It’s warmed up to 15 degrees from 8 this morning, when, on my way into work with my still slightly damp hair, my hair froze. When it’s cold enough out that you’re worried about your hair shattering (is that possible?!) it’s definitely soup weather!

  29. Christy M

    So, what’s the un-PC way to get your toddler to eat? What works for us is to lie (“That’s not an onion!”), or avoid the questions entirely, “Do you really think I would put tomatoes in this chili? I know you don’t like tomatoes!”

  30. Adrianne

    Yum! Thanks for a great recipe. I was looking for a delicious soup that was different from our usual and my family will LOVE this one. I can always count in your blog to help me out of my dinner rut!

  31. Hannah

    Wow this looks great!
    Sorry this isn’t relevant, but you’ve said that this is the best way to contact you: Can you do a post all about how to freeze & reheat different foods? Thanks!

  32. I loved this line: “such as when they expect you to use four skillets and eight prep bowls to make a single soup.”

    How true. It’s like when you read a cookbook from the “best chef in America” and find that the recipe for the scallop dish has 4 sub recipes, and just isn’t worth the bother.

    That’s what the challenge for (chef) aspiring writer – to connect with the audience in a way that will leave people wanting to make their recipes. Hard, I know!

  33. Becki

    This soup looks absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try it. One quick question- are the lentils you used dried or from a can? I always have a hard time rehydrating dried beans. If dried, do You have any suggestions for getting them soft again? Thanks!!

  34. Becki

    I just saw from an earlier post that you dont use canned lentils. Any types you happen to have for rehydrating beans I would greatly appreciate as I’ve never gotten it to work. I feel silly because it should seem so simple, but when I do it theyre still a little hard in the very middle. Thanks!

  35. This soup looks delicious!

    This is my first year living so far north! I experienced single-digit temperatures last week and thought I was going to die. I don’t know how y’all do it year after year. I’m sure spicy sausage & lentils have something to do with it, though! :)

  36. Hi Deb! Have you ever tried black lentils? Next to lentils de puy, they are my favorite. They are very delicate and have almost a caviar-like quality. I like to make a curried soup with black lentils, or even a Mexican flavored one with cumin, a dollop of sour cream and cilantro on top.

  37. Mary

    I live in a frigid part of the country and I’m with chid. Thank you for sharing this soup, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Also, your cookbook is beautiful.

  38. Charlotte

    You mean I travelled all the way to NYC to buy your wonderful cookbook only to find it is coming out here in the UK next month?!?!?

    Just kidding, trip was planned but did make a special excursion to find it in Barnes and Noble! Oh well at least the friends I keep raving about it too will be able to buy it for themselves and stop stealing my copy!

    I have already made 3 recipes from your book – I have never felt compelled to do that before!! (i’ve been back from NYC for 10 days!)

  39. Sounds delicious!! Have I noticed a tendency toward beans on this site lately? Oh yes, it’s January. (I’ve got your a batch of your crispy chickpeas in the oven; they’re awesome.) Also: Do you have suggestions for other winter vegetables that would stand up to this soup, maybe as substitutes for the chard? Could it be made with something besides tomatoes, as a lighter and less, um, tomato-ey soup? (Anathema, I know.) Thanks!

  40. shira

    I’m making this now for dinner tomorrow (always like soups better the next day), using Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian chicken sausage. Will let you know if the flavors still pop!

  41. Wendy

    Looks delicious. I have pre-ordered your book and can’t wait for it to reach my in Australia!

    My question is: How do you get your toddler to eat what you want them to?

    1. deb

      erika — Absolutely. You could always use half hot, half sweet if you’re worried about it getting too hot.

      Becki — I wouldn’t say that I don’t use them, just that I haven’t. I’m sure they’re just fine. As for cooking beans, I’ve used a million methods, from presoaking overnight before simmering them a shorter period of time to just simmering them without presoaking. I also use the slow cooker sometimes. I just cover them with water and put it on high until they’re done, sometimes 3 hours, sometimes 4 or 5. I like that they’re out of the way and don’t have to be monitored in there.

  42. Ada

    Thank you for continuing to be somewhat psychic! This looks fabulous and it came at a time when I was trying to figure out what the heck to make this week that involves beans and greens. :)

  43. Dan

    This year’s staple cold-weather dish has been your stewed lentils with tomatoes. I think I’m liking the looks of this soup as well!

  44. Brittany W.

    Would split peas work? Also, the link to how you get Jacob to eat what you want just went to a Facebook page for the event. Will you explain in the comments?

  45. I love soups! It’s such a childhood memory of comfort, wellbeing and love. My grand-mother was the queen of soups and it’s because of her passion for cooking and feeding the people that she loved that I enjoy so much cooking myself. This recipe is definitely something that I will try. Thank you!

  46. Amanda Jean

    So I made this soup for dinner and it was, dare I say, even more delicious than it looks! I used half hot sausage, half mild (I also used all four links for mega-sausage flavor) and kale instead of chard and it blew my mind away. My husband ate two full bowls and I had to swat him away from a third. I would definitely say do not skip the garlic oil, the smell alone plus that first garlic-y slurp … I can’t even.

    Another thing I will say is that it makes a ton of soup – we’ll have leftovers for days. A+

  47. Sara

    So I was going to make your stewed lentils and tomatoes tonight, but then you posted this. Without a trip to the grocery store, I subbed bacon for the Italian sausage, diced tomatoes for crushed tomatoes, kale for Swiss chard, and Parmesan for the Romano. Still delicious. :)

  48. Maeve

    I made this for dinner too. Boyfriend ate probably two bowl’s worth in maybe… 5 minutes. He loved it. I was a little unhappy at first, mostly to textural reasons. The flavor’s incredible – I used 3 hot sausage links, (I have a feeling this drastically changed the flavor) and while at the store I didn’t bother buying crushed tomatoes as I already had a full can of san marzano whole tomatoes, peeled. I hand-crushed them, which I figured was fine, because I’ll take those tomatoes anyway I can get them… however at the end of my 40-ish minutes the broth wasn’t thick as you had forecasted, and it really did seem *done*, with the lentils nearly falling apart they were so tender. I gave up, and put my bowl of soup in the blender… PERFECT! HOLY CRAP!

  49. As someone who has worked in a restaurant and cooked professionally, I must agree–sometimes chefs can use a ton of bowls, etc, to get things done! Haha–I am not for that in a home kitchen at all. The more tips to simplify and make delicious, straight forward meals, the better! :)

  50. Jackie

    A few things:
    1. As always, thank you. This recipe sounds perfect and I have everything for it, even the Swiss chard because I made your Swiss chard, pancetta, white bean pot pies tonight. Yum.
    2. I’ve been tempted by this cookbook and now with your endorsement will definitely purchase it soon!
    3. I, too, NEED your “how to feed unwilling toddler” advice!! Desperately. I can’t believe mine was just born with an aversion to green vegetables…but if he was, I need a clue on how to get him to eat them anyway!

  51. Catie

    This looks amazing! Very excited to try it. No complaints from me when you post! I still check at least once a day.

    I got a slow cooker for Christmas this year, and I’ve been looking for recipes to try it out. I’d assume I should still brown the meat and the mirepoix before putting it in the slow cooker, right? Any tips on adapting to slow cookers?

  52. This soup is amazing!!!!!!!!!!

    I made saw it on the blog earlier, and since i had to pick up some things at the store i got the ingredients for this too. It’s so delicious, and i’m not a huge lentil fan – they are my least favorite bean. My husband went back for seconds and even my daughter ate it. The cat ate some too (lentils and all) but if you knew my cat you’d know that getting the 12 yr old to eat it was the bigger feat.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  53. Sharon

    We are definitely soup folks in this family (even though living in So Cal makes soup season a wee bit short.) Saw this and it totally fit the bill today, including using up a huge bunch of chard I had in my fridge from our CSA. It was a total hit with all ages! Thank you so much for this recipe. Definitely heading into rotation.Delicious!!

  54. Megan

    I’m on board too – share your un PC way of getting a toddler to eat!! Although, I’ve got to say, my toddler likes SK recipes with veggies…mostly what you’ve done in the pancake method!

  55. I need this. It’s not winter here but on those certain days of the month (ehem..) like today, I really need a hot steaming bowl of soup to make me feel like all is good in the world.

  56. Graham

    My question is: the sausage gets cooked all that long time. Doesn’t it make it fall to pieces? I can imagine unidentifiable nuggets of grease floating around and being generally repulsive. I would like to hear – no,that’s not the case.

  57. Bruni

    Will try this recipe next. Got on a soup kick shortly before the cold snap. Love the way it looks in my prized LeCreuset pot. Found a great vegetarian recipe for Moroccan Lentil Soup in EATING WELL magazine. After having it at my house a friend swore never to buy a can of lentil soup again.

  58. This is perfect for today’s cold cold weather here in the east coast. I love all the flavors you put in this soup. I’ve never been brave enough to try chard in anything, though I will eat it if someone else made it for me. Your recipe seems simple enough. I will try this soon. Thanks for sharing. Stay warm today !

  59. Joanne

    Ok – I couldn’t wait – gnocchi & tomato sauce just had to wait. I made this last night and it was FANTASTIC!! I’ve brought some to work with me today to share. I had never had lentils or kale before. Such a sheltered life I’ve led. Keep up the great work!

  60. Mariola

    Is the nutritional information available for this or for any of the recipes in your book? I was thrilled to receive your book as a Christmas gift and eager to try the recipes but my husband was just diagnosed with diabetes so I have to be very aware of the nutritional data for recipes now.

    1. deb

      Mariola — I don’t include it, but I often cut and paste recipes here if I’m looking for nutritional information. It’s much more useful/flexible because you can adjust ingredients for what you have/want to use and serving sizes.

      steph — I don’t see why not.

  61. Jessica

    I subsist on soups like this (minus the sausage, alas for my spouse) for much of the winter. So good. Will try the garlic oil for sure! Any chance you can be convinced to spill the beans again on your method of toddler coercion? I may be willing to offer incentive!

  62. Nan

    My baby is now preparing to get married and move out…and in my head I just want to scream noooooooo…it seems to be the word of choice for mothers and sons…I’m going to miss him! I’ve been stock-piling “comfort foods” to help me get over myself, this sounds like a winner.

  63. Becky

    The meat, bean, green combo is a winner everytime! Especially with cheese and tomatoes in the mix. I like sausage, white bean and kale too. Cabbage is a nice substitue for the greens as well. Delicious and so comforting!

  64. I will have to try this. Field Roast makes an Italian vegan sausage that might be worth trying in this. It is fairly crumbly, so it definitely works better for dishes that don’t rely on structural integrity.

  65. Ashby

    Do you think tossing frozen chard in at the end would be pleasant? It’s not possible to find local chard fresh this time of year, alas.

  66. Lucy

    woah, mind explosion! Just before i read this i finished making a lentil-sausage-and-whatever-else-is-in-the-cupboard soup (post-snow here in UK and we haven’t been food shopping in near two weeks – we’re getting desperate!). This looks fantastic, as per usual – my mum had a strange aversion to celery, so i’m actively seeking out recipes that sneakily slip it in and seeing if she’ll notice – this one’s going straight for the ‘to-spike’ list!

  67. Dahlink

    Okay, this could be a fun game. If Deb won’t share her un-pc method of getting a toddler to eat healthy foods, we can guess. Um, Swiss chard dipped in melted chocolate? Ranch dressing?

  68. jmarie3

    LOVED IT! used frozen carrots and red lentils because i couldn’t wait to make it. SO GOOD and i wouldn’t change a thing :)

  69. Xochi

    This looks fabulous! I’m trying it this week. I had a bit of a soup fail last night and I need to redeem myself. ;) Thank you!

  70. Julia

    I made the soup with farro instead of lentils, and it is delicious! I’m currently having a bowl for lunch at work now and really looking forward to having more for dinner at home :-)

  71. Catherine

    I usually only comment AFTER I try a recipe, but in this case……..was at a loss for dinner tonite, you fixed that. And I follow three bloggers, you, 101 Cookbooks, and David Lebovitz…how did I NOT know about Adam and the Amateur Gourmet???? Guess I have some catching up to do while the soup is cooking……Thanks!

  72. I think you mean, in paragraph four, “a ton of tips” rather than “a font of tips.”

    Naptime has been slowly slipping away from me too for the past several months. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

  73. Heather L

    Could you sub bacon for sausage? I’m wanting to make this, but don’t have sausage…will try and convince the hub to go meatless if you think it’s not baconable. :).

  74. Anastasia

    Deb – I have sneaky ways to get toddlers to eat too… As a nanny for five plus years, I’ve had to use different tricks for each child (or set of twins). Shall we compare notes? I’ll start.
    1) While i’m still putting the final touches on dinner, i give them veggies. super small servings, a few varieties. Sometimes I make faces/ designs/ or landscapes out of them, sometimes I don’t. I have a ate for myself and I eat the same thing.
    2) i let them add a sprinkle of finely grated cheese, or actual sprinkles.
    3) If they are at all doubtful, I tell them of the secret, awesome ingredient… It’s usually bacon. Sometimes it’s cheese. Once, it was magic pixie dust from a house elf. (They had really liked that book)
    4) I play drinking games with milk. who can finish first, the silly toast/cheers game, the pool in your belly needs liquid for the food to party/swim in, and the original 1,2,3 – drink! So, I’ve taught kids drinking games.
    5) I do silly voices to make the food talk to the kids, basically asking to get eaten so they can join the party in the child’s belly. For some reason, broccoli has a French accent, while carrots are Russian.
    I have more, but this is getting a bit lengthy… Maybe I should start a blog. :)

  75. Heather Lee

    Made this last night, was amazing and hearty. Since we’re experiencing the coldest week of winter so far here in DC, totally appropriate. And semi healthy to flush out all the fun that was had this Inauguration weekend :) Thank you for sharing!

  76. Lindsay C.

    This looks sooo good – I love lentil soups. I have been dying for a good recipe for red lentil soup (a la Beyoglu), do you think you can make it using red lentils??

  77. Maria

    I am so curious as to how and where you find inspiration???.. Do you have a mood board you wouldn’t mind sharing? Also, I do find soup to be a frequently delightful meal, snack, or appetizer.

  78. I’m a chef at a wilderness ski lodge in Maine, the high today was -6… as in six degrees below zero… as in, I’m making this soup for our hungry guests tomorrow, as they definitely need something to snap them out of this cold! As always, your pictures and writing make it look and sound delicious!

  79. Mary

    My daughter put me on to your blog just recently and I am loving it. This soup looks fantastic, although it’s summer in Australia and I’ll need to tuck it away for the winter months. The “sweet Italian sausages” are unfamiliar. Are they sweet, because they have sweet paprika in them?

  80. Mariola

    Thank you SO much Deb! That site is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s been so overwelming trying to figure out whether what I cook is healthy and appropriate for my husband ( we LOVE to cook, and eat, of course :) ). Every recipe analyzer I’ve found was really a pain to use but the one you referred me to is wonderful – so user friendly. I’m am incredibly grateful – and I promise to use it to be able to make some of your recipes….

  81. Ali

    Thank you, thank you for this recipe! I’ve been on a bit of a lentil soup kick lately, but have a bad habit of using it as an excuse to just empty out my fridge – and spice cabinet – resulting in a less-than-restrained flavor combination. I made this last night and it was perfect!

  82. Christina

    I received this in my inbox this morning and was delighted to have tonight’s dinner dilemma solved. I substituted flageolet beans for lentils and garlic chicken sausage for sweet Italian, adding the pepper flakes and fennel seed for a little kick. It’s the perfect antidote to this chilly Cleveland evening. Many thanks, Deb!

  83. My sister-in-law recently recited her (mother’s) lentil soup recipe to me over the phone; very old-school Italian American and very much like this one. I grew up eating this soup, but as a curious wanna-be-modern cook, I fancy-up my lentils and can’t even manage to keep regular old green ones on hand. I think that has to change, because just looking at the recipe has revived some simple childhood hungers. And that’s a good thing. Thanks!

  84. Rebecca

    As soon as I saw this soup this morning, I knew it would be dinner tonight. It did not disappoint! What a tasty, satisfying winter soup. We loved it!

  85. Tara

    Hey Deb, thanks for a wonderfully comforting meal on a freezing night! Love your blog!! Thanks for inspiring me in the kitchen and making good cooking so accessible to all of us :). Also, LOVE your cookbook – congratulations again!

  86. Elise-Marie

    I just made this soup last night and yowza was it delish!!!! I substituted sausage for soy chorizo (love the stuff from Trader Joes) and added a few small red potatos. Super harty and so full of flavor. The garlic oil drizzled on top really did wonders too!

  87. Doris

    I just made this soup tonight. I made part of it with the sausage and part without since I don’t eat meat. It was delicious! Definitely would make again!

  88. I made this tonight – what a meal! I substituted spinach for cabbage and brown lentils for green because of my CSA haul this week. I thought the garlic and oil final touch would get lost among the other flavors . But it totally elevated the dish .

  89. Donna

    I made this for my family tonight. It was delicious. The swiss chard made it look beautiful. The tip on adding it last was a great one. The only change I made was substituting grated parmesan for the romano (which I found a tad strong). My kids aren’t big soup/stew/gruel eaters, but they gobbled this up! thank you!

  90. Ami

    Subbed a quarter pound chorizo for the sausage, doubled the onion, quadrupled the garlic, added a diced parsnip, and instead of a bay leaf tree in an aged Gouda rind. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t make my day.

  91. Kate E

    Long time reader, first-time poster. I made this tonight and it is absolutely divine. The grocery store was out of swiss chard and kale, so I used collard greens instead. This one is a keeper!

    PS I bought all the cooks in my family your book for Christmas– we’re having so much fun cooking through it!

  92. Issac

    Hi, love your recipes! How big of a pot is used in this recipe? I started to make it but had to abandon ship after adding the sausage and veggies as I could tell that there was no way that it was going to hold all the liquid and the tomatoes.

    1. deb

      Isaac — I used a 5-quart Dutch oven comfortably. Think you could get away with a 4-quart if necessary, but 5 is preferable.

      Mary — It’s actually not sweet at all. They’re referred to as sweet to contrast them with the “spicy” Italian sausage that’s the other primarily available variety at most grocery stores. I.e. They have lots of flavor and garlic/fennel/the works, just not heat.

  93. Barb Mann

    I’ve been reading you since the Fromage Fort, which is great, and now it’s lentils! Blessings! I do the Hungarian sour lentil soup from the Paprikash Weiss book (um, it’s old), but a new soup is more than welcome. And if it’s anything like as good as your incredible carrot soup with the crispy chickpeas, it’ll be worth its weight in gourmet dijon ketchup. Thanks!

  94. Sally

    For #13 Julie above who is kosher, another suggestion is to omit the sausage and add some fennel seeds and a little more red pepper flakes to mimic the sausage taste and then use cheese.

    I love lentil soups. This looks delicious and I think I’ll make it sometime in the next couple of weeks. I’d make it sooner except I have no greens or sausage and ingredients to make both chili and a sweet potato soup.

  95. lin43

    This is a really wonderful soup. I made it last night because it reminded me of one that I made back in the late ’60s (yes, I’m THAT old). It was called ‘Mrs. Saladin’s Meal for the End of the Month’. The idea being that if you were poverty stricken at the moment, and the rent was coming due, you could have two different meals from one kitchen session. The recipe directed you to cook a huge pot of thick lentil soup with sausage, similar to yours. For night one, you scooped out some lentils/sausage and served it as a kind of casserole or stew. The second night, you dined on the remaining soup, served up with bread. I always loved the idea, and your recipe brought the whole memory back. Thanks!

  96. Jenna B.

    Oh my!! Made this Tuesday night, with turkey sausage, and it was fantastic! Leftovers the next day for lunch, sill delish even without the garlic oil which I didn’t bring to work with me! On Tuesday, I stopped at Westside market in NYC and noticed that the woman ahead of me in line had lentils, kale, carrots, and sausage in her cart…your influence is everywhere!!!

  97. Susan

    I made this last night and it made the house smell so good. Loved the garlic oil, too. My favorite were the bites flavored with fennel from the sausage. Have enough left over for lunch today! I like that your soups make just enough for a couple meals for my family. I usually get carried away and have way more than I want to eat day after day. Good portioning, Deb.

  98. Kate

    Earlier this week I made the gnocchi and tomato broth. I am thinking of using the strained out vegetables for this and making purée soup that I will add the sausage back into along with the chard. What do you think?

  99. Linda

    Our long standing, go to lentil soup recipe has been de-throned…..sorry Ina!!
    Bravo Deb and thank you for a delicious dinner. We had corn bread along side as a nod to our southern roots.

  100. fran jeffery

    Hi, I was wondering if I used canned lentils (they are pre cooked) do I still need to add 6 cups of water, or less? thanks Fran

  101. I made this last night and it was delicious. I used kale since that was what I had on hand with turkey italian sausage. Warm, comforting and satisfying. Thanks so much for your blog-your recipes inspire me many days. It’s so easy to get into a rut and fix your old stand-by recipes week to week-so happy to have you on my shoulder urging me to break free from the routine!

  102. Sofie

    I just made the soup and I’m eating it as i type. It was the perfect dinner on this freezing cold evening in Denmark. I added a little thyme and sprinkled some parsley on top. Yummy!

  103. Bethany

    Deb, this looked so delicious and warming that I had to make it after work yesterday. I cobbled together a version from at-home ingredients but it still turned out wonderfully. I subbed baby kale for the chard and local chorizo for the Italian sausage. Threw in some farro, too, for extra toothiness. Your cooking is such a nice combination of straightforward and graceful – thanks!

  104. Love the touch of the garlic drizzle! I make this type of thing a lot. What do you think of removing the sausage after browning/cooking and bringing it back at the end with the chard? I often fear cooking the flavor out of the meat, and by sauteeing the aromatics in the oil I used to brown the sausage, I get the best of both worlds. But I’m going to try it; maybe my fears are unfounded! Oh yes, and I sometimes use lamb merguez which is great with lentils.

  105. Becky

    Any guess on the weigh of 2 (or 4) large sausage links? I’m asking because I plan to substitute Trader Joe’s soy chorizo to make the soup vegetarian/vegan. Chorizo may change the flavor a bit, but I think it will work really well with the lentils and greens.

  106. Karen Rauch

    Made the lentil soup tonight. Added a dollop of sour cream, the Romano cheese and some crusty bread…It was delicious! (I also added some potatoes)

  107. Lynn

    Deb– I am making this as I type. What am I doing wrong here? The soup tastes like watery crushed tomatoes! I only used two sausages, as you suggested, and even though the texture is nice and thick the way I like it, the taste is flat. I have gone to my spice cabinet thinking, oregano? garlic powder? italian seasoning??? I don’t know….never had kale before, so hoping that once I add it, that will make the difference.

    1. deb

      Lynn — It shouldn’t be watery. Were you using dry lentils? They’ll drink up so much of the cooking water, the soup should get quite thick and hearty.

      Travels4Food — Uncovered.

  108. Kristin

    Made this with red lentils because that’s what I had. I think they probably gave it a smoother texture than the brown. Used 2 links of sweet Italian turkey sausage (=0.6 lbs). And I had to add basil because to me you can’t have tomatoes and Italian sausage without basil. Delicious. Next time I will spice it up with fresh fennel diced and sauteed with the vegetables and spicy sausage. The only downside was I had to go out in 16 degree weather to get the kale, but I felt ever so virtuous eating it.

  109. sharon

    So delicious! Love breaking up the sausage…I used red lentils as I prefer the color and can’t really get the difference. Isn’t it a good idea to rinse the lentils first? ps I used 3 sausages, which were uncooked, local butcher, chicken mild Italian. Serving with Naan, and yes, I think sour cream would be good on top as an option.

  110. Sally

    This soup couldn’t be more timely. It’s 19 degrees out there and it even snowed. What could be better for dinner? Used 2 sausages and followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, other than using parmesan instead of romano cause that’s what I had. Also put in about double the chard since I LOVE chard so much and don’t use it often for some reason. The soup was even better than I imagined, the garlic oil and parmesan really make the soup. Next time I will double the garlic in the soup, and maybe add some fennel or fennel seed since I think 2 sausages are plenty, but I kind of wanted more anise-y flavor. Great recipe I’m gonna be making this again for sure!!

  111. Judith

    OMG. I am so looking forward to making this tomorrow. Like another of your posters, my kids don’t love soup/stews/gruel, but I think adding the sausage will the the way I can get this to happen! Do you think Dupuis (French) lentils will also work?

  112. Stella

    Great recipe, as always! But I do find it a bit funny that you consider,(quick math to convert fahrenheit to celsius), -6 to be cold. At the time it’s -17 here, that’s 1.4 degrees F to you, and here people are still going outside without hats and gloves. I began typing this with the mind set that you are crazy to complain about a little -6. But now I’m beginning to think we are the crazy ones for living in an ice box and not completely realizing it. Maybe a bit of both.

  113. Success! As a one pot meal specialist, this fits my M.O. perfectly. It reminds me of an Italian soup I once read about – peasant food. One thing you might want to consider doing is adding a touch of stale bread with cheese (It’s cheese – what could possibly be wrong in that?) like we do with French Onion soup. Other than that, it was a complete winner and definitely on my list of mealtime specials. Thanks so much!

  114. Made this the other night as we had everything and the photos were so beautiful, I didn’t have sausage so made without… Wish I’d used some sort of flavorful stock instead of water, as suggested. It was better the next day and after I raided the wine cabinet and grated extra cheese and sriracha, the garlic on top was a
    great touch though Thanks

  115. Karen

    Made this last night ( that phrase seems to be quite popular for this soup!) and it was wonderful. I doubled the recipe, freezing tons for future cold nights. I will add the chard or whatever greens i have on hand when I reheat it. Loved seeing you at Politics & Prose in DC!

  116. Julie

    Made it last night too, and my 3 yr old and 8 yr old gobbled it up! It was perfect for our 5 degree upstate New York winter night. Yum! Thanks:)

  117. Caroline

    I made this the day you posted it. I love lentil soup but my usual recipe has gotten so boring. This was just so amazing that I wanted to lick the bowl. I used tofurky sausage to make it vegetarian. Fantastic!

  118. Carrie

    I’d love to hear your top-secret, totally-un-PC method of getting toddlers to occasionally eat what you’d like them to :) Right now we’re stuck on chicken nuggets and appple sauce, with an occasional apple or dairy product or pbj sandwich. She’ll be three in March, so a little younger than your little one.

  119. Rose

    I ended up making this with spinach instead of chard (because I had it in the house already) and I did 1/2 sweet sausage and 1/2 spice italian sausage (again, because I had it in the house). It was DELICIOUS! My husband had 2nds, and he doesn’t even like lentils!

  120. Lindsey

    It is AWESOME to see recipes that can easily go vegetarian and don’t rely on soy (I am allergic to soy and my boyfriend is vegetarian)! I am really excited to make this very soon… It’ll be nice to change up my usual soup rotation and have something a little more interesting for our couple of forecasted 19-degree (in NC!) days we have coming up!

  121. Karina

    Oh my gosh. I consider myself an experienced soup-maker and I was doubtful that the simple ingredients wouldn’t make a complex, flavorful soup…I mean, no stock? Helloooo? But I was WRONG, so wrong…this was delicious. The only subs I made were using yellow lentils from Trader Joes and Tuscan kale instead of chard. 1/2 pound of sausage was the perfect amount. Even as I was putting the cooled soup into a container (tonight’s dinner!) I was surprised by the rich aroma of this soup. I’ll be making it for my next overnight guests – that’s how good it is!

  122. Love lentil soup and make it quite regularly. I’ve never tried it with sausage and greens though so going to give it a go. It sounds (and looks) delicious!

  123. Lisa

    Really delicious, I used tofurky (seeing as I am vegetarian), and although the texture is not the same, it still worked wonderfully! This will surely keep me warm during these sub-zero Boston nights.

  124. Jonine

    This was really delicious. I’m surprised that the broth was so rich and flavorful. I did make a couple of substitutions, only because my grocery store was out of lentils. I substituted 2 cans of drained and rinsed cannelini beans. I also added some broccoli since it was in the fridge and needed to be used up. The garlic chips were a wonderful addition, they gave a nice crunch. My husband told me to keep the recipe and “it’s a do-again”. (this is the highest praise for a new recipe in our house)

  125. Diana

    This was a huge hit! It was quick to make and full of flavor. I made it exactly like the recipe and loved the topping of sizzled garlic. Thanks for another “keeper”!
    I am also cooking my way through your cookbook and LOVE it!!

  126. Claudia

    And here I am, allergic to garlic. Does that mean I can never cook this soup? I sometimes feel weirdly guilty b/c I always have to substitute garlic and then I think I don’t do it *right* and I’m not a good cook if I don’t use garlic. (I get sick even from the smell, so it’s barred from my house in any form.)

    Oh, what the hey. I’ll try it without because I love me some lentil soup!

  127. Dave

    This sounds great but I’m having trouble convincing my wife to go for the lentils. What would be a few substitutes for lentils that would go well that I could get her to try?

  128. Jill

    This was delicious! I was being lazy so i didn’t do the garlic at the end and just added more to the soup itself, but it was perfect for a cold, rainy day. Thanks!

  129. Sara

    I’ve just gotten a batch of this soup on the stove, and I’m bringing it to Brooklyn tomorrow for my son and daughter-in-law, and my new baby grandson (maybe we can puree it?). I’m wondering if you put the cover on the pot to simmer, or if you leave it uncovered. I’m also thinking that one could use ground turkey or chicken in place of the sausage, if pork’s not your thing. Might need a little extra spicing if so. I love every single recipe in Smitten Kitchen, like it’s all customized to my palate. I’m smitten, so to speak.

  130. Julene

    I ate leftovers of this soup for lunch and now wondering if it would be bad form to have it for dinner too? I subbed green lentils for brown, used 3 mild italian sausages, and subbed baby bok choy for the chard/kale. The garlic oil and pecorino were divine. I also added a squeeze of lemon which made it sublime.

    The carrot soup was going to be next on my list, but now I’m tempted by the chocolate sables you posted…plus all the bookmarked recipes from your book still to try…*sigh*…As my 3yr old nephew would say “So many recipes!”

  131. Hadley

    Hi Deb! I had a similar problem as Lynn…I made this the other night, and it was good, but not as great as I thought it would be. It tasted a little blah. I halved the recipe (ah the endless frustration of cooking for one) and thus wasn’t very liberal with the garlic oil over the top. Do you think that makes that big of a difference? Maybe I’m just bad at soup…it sounds like lots of other people really liked it.

    1. deb

      Hadley — Did you make any other changes? We found it to be intensely flavorful, the furthest thing from blah, so I’m surprised to read your comment, though don’t doubt your tastebuds. Did you season it well with salt and red pepper flakes? Usually the answer to something “blah” is just that it needed more seasoning.

  132. Sandi

    Sending the DH to the store in the tomorrow (well, later today) for chard or kale and a nice loaf of crusty bread. Have everything else so this will be dinner. I think I may try it with various beans too as it sounds like something we could happily eat for days and days.

    (The watery soup problem a couple people had could be because 28×2=56 oz which is actually 7 cups, not 6.)

  133. anita

    Deilicious! Thanks, Deb. You continue to impress. This is absolutely the perfect recipe for the cold snap we’re having. I used Trader Joe’s soy-rizo, and was happy to see that a few other commenters made the same vegetarian substitution. I also threw in a couple peeled and cubed potatoes, and may have been somewhat liberal with the vegetable volumes. I should have followed your instructions, though, to use a “large” pot. My medium dutch oven overflowed!

  134. m o o n marked

    The flavor of the base soup pretty much reflects three things: tasty and complex sweet italian sausage; rich, fruity tomatoes; and the earthiness of the brown lentils. The bay leaf, the red pepper, the celery—even the sweetness of the sautéed garlic and carrots—add subtle enhancements, but the coming together of this trio is what makes this such a great soup. Until, of course, it gets even better with the fresh chard, garlic drizzle, and sprinkle of romano but even so, these two finishes can’t overcome a mediocre soup base.

    So for this sort of recipe, I would make sure to use sausage (meat or veggie) that I know is seasoned well. I am also careful to used canned tomatoes that are KNOWN to be good tasting—I used whole san marzano tomatoes and broke them up by squeezing them by hand right in the pot BEFORE bringing the soup to a simmer. And while other beans will work, to get the same earthiness I would try pigeons peas or maybe even black-eye peas. Red and yellow lentils are tasty, but break down quickly to a puree and thicken the soup. I used pardina lentils which are small brown lentils that hold their shape even after multiple reheating.

    I made it yesterday and enjoyed it; the only change I made was to not use extra olive oil to sauté the sausage; there’s more than enough fat in sausage to keep it from sticking and to help with cooking the onions and carrots (I ditched the celery). And I used the microwave to make my garlic oil, zapping a small juice glass with oil and sliced garlic one minute at a time until until the garlic crisped and was fragrant (about 3-4 minutes total); the glass went right from the microwave to the table for service so one less pan to clean!

  135. I did make this tonight with my brand new pressure cooker/slow cooker and the vegetarian “field roast” sausages and it worked really well. It was less than an hour including all of my prep time and sneaking in some reading time.

  136. Carol

    Made this tonight with San Marzano rather than crushed tomatoes, kale instead of chard, and bulk Italian sausage. Even my teenage son who doesn’t like tomatoes devoured this. It’s a definite keeper. I have 3 large containers headed for the freezer. Yum.

  137. I just made this soup tonight. Was wonderful. Like Deb, I would suggest using two sausages instead of the recommended four. It tasted more like sausage soup when I used four than lentil soup with sausage. Nonetheless, it was fantastic!

  138. Ash

    This soup is amazing! I admit, I cheated and used baby spinach because that’s what I had on hand. I t still smells and tastes great! I’m also super excited that you are coming to Denver! I am super excited to meet the person who’s recipes completely dominate my cooking each week. :-)

  139. Oh man… The weather has been entirely gloomy here (surprising for Phoenix, AZ) and this would be perfect! If it happens to freeze again, or maybe just on a night before this lovely weather ends, I must try this.

    The husband loves lentils, and loves sausage even more. This could be a family favorite! Beautiful!

  140. Lisa

    I made the soup, it was delicious, but I found that it served 4 people generously, with some sourdough bread and butter, and some room for dessert. I think 6 might be stretching it, unless there are ample appetizers to fill the stomach, or something more substantial for afterwards. anyway, awesome recipe, used Italian spicy sausage along with some red pepper flakes to add a gentle kick, and savoy cabbage instead of chard or kale because that is what is sold here in southwestern Germany this time of year.

  141. Caterina

    This was delicious – a perfect soup for the winter. I skipped the garlic oil at the end and used red lentils (I added the red lentils 20 minutes after the water and tomatoes). I also only used 4 cups of water. So flavourful and hearty!

  142. Kim

    I am definitely going to give this a go!! Looks amazing, and I truly think it might have superpowers to fight through this sub-zero temperature snap we are currently experiencing. Quick question – if I was going to prepare this in a slow cooker, how long would you recommend I cook it for?

  143. Laura Jane

    I made this for dinner last night, and the aroma permeating my apartment was worth making the soup alone. Oh, and it tasted awesome. That, too. The broth did an excellent job of salvaging the whole wheat bread fail that I made to accompany the soup (you win some, you lose some– all about balance!). I also halved the sausage and loved the flavor it brought without dominating the soup, though think I would have missed it if it were not in there at all. I am very much looking forward to my leftovers for lunch today…

  144. Caroline

    I whipped this up after a cold afternoon of cross country skiing in the Gatineau Park in Ottawa, and it was just what the doctor ordered to warm up my frozen limbs! Delicious, healthy, hearty, and warm! Love.

  145. Christina

    Delicious, made it on Saturday with kale and extra sausage and w/o the garlic oil at the end. Was perfect on Saturday and even better today (in icy/rainy DC) for lunch at work. Froze the rest which I may have to break out later this week.

  146. Gabby

    YUM!!! even though I had to make it with frankfurters instead of italian sausage… here in austria when you ask for italian sausage at the supermarket the workers give you really funny looks…

  147. joy

    Seems silly to go to the bother of being the 200-somethingth commenter, but I made the soup yesterday and had it for lunch today, and it was so tasty, and I just wanted to thank you for such a delicious soup. Lots of vegetables, no one flavor dominated or texture, and two sausages was the perfect amount. It somewhat salvaged what is otherwise a very, very, very gray, sleety, foggy day here in Brooklyn.

  148. Made it without the sausage (I’m vegetarian) for today’s lunch! I found it flavorful enough and didn’t even think the garlic oil and cheese were 100% necessary to doll it up. I did add more salt than usual, perhaps 1/2 teaspoon or more; I also probably cooked it for longer than most people would have since I kept it on low the first time. How yummy!

  149. linda

    Delicious!! I made this soup last night for dinner – so very good! I made a double batch so that I could use the whole bag of lentils and because I just love having lots of soup leftovers. I doubled everything except the sausage and tomatoes (used only 2 links of the sweet Italian type and one 35 oz. can of tomatoes, substituting water for the other can). Used spinach instead of chard since that’s what I had on hand. Amazing soup with deep and rich flavor! Deb, you are so right – it is all about the correct seasonings. Thank you so much for this recipe – looking forward to leftovers tonight on this cold, icy, rainy, snowy day in Westchester, NY.

  150. Zoë

    Made it last night for dinner and ate it reheated for lunch today. I used the full amount of sausage, added a half cup of farro in addition to the lentils, and used kale instead of swiss chard. If you use farro, it will need for time to cook than the lentils (perhaps cook it in advance and add it in) as it was still a bit crunchy at the end of the 40 minutes. Today for lunch the farro had soaked up more liquid (or benefited from the additional cooking/rewarming) and was lovely and chewy. Since I knew I would have leftovers, I didn’t add the kale to the soup while cooking, just ladled the hot soup over the shredded kale in my bowl, the residual heat was enough cooking for the greens. Delicious!

  151. Amy

    Deb – I made this soup for dinner last night and it was amazing! Even my 2 year old ate it! Kudos! Until now, I’ve had neither lentils nor chard but I am a fan of both. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  152. Nicole

    Wow..made a double batch of this tonight. I always double my soup recipe if I suspect it’s a good recipe..it’s doesn’t take much more effort, haven’t met a soup that doesn’t freeze well and prevents me from having to throw away the rest of the celery & carrots at the end of week.
    I made this with turkey sausage and added some fresh rosemary and some red pepper paste. It was outstanding. I love that I didn’t need to use a stock, helped me keep the sodium down since salt and I are not friends. I found a giant container of fresh chopped/washed greens at Whole Foods, a variety of kales and chard,. excellent time saver.

  153. Lorie

    Thanks for introducing me to swiss chard, I used it for the first time tonight and loved it. The soup was perfect for a cold winters night!

  154. Dave

    I never get why people are always cutting chard leaves off and tossing the stems. You’re already sauteeing aromatics for the stems, just chop up the chard stems and throw them in like they were celery. Extra fiber!

  155. Jane

    I made your soup for dinner with the Homesick Texan’s buttermilk biscuits on the side. It’s a keeper! My ten year old happily ate it (sans greens) but my son, true to form, had to be lured on with the promise of jam on his second biscuit. Sigh.

  156. StephanieR

    I made this tonight and my husband and I both loved it. The garlic drizzle was inspired and the soup was packed with flavor. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow!

  157. courtney

    i made this exactly as instructed, but with the two sausage links instead of four (used a spicy variety because it was what i had on hand) and it was amazing. I think you’re right, that the full amount of sausage would be overkill – i think it would have been more of a “sausage soup with lentils” rather than a “lentil soup with sausage”. anyway, thanks for sharing such a delicious, easy meal!

  158. marisa

    quick and easy! thank you for a last minute dinner solution. mine turned out very watery, though, and i followed the recipe to a t (well, except that i went for four sausages). can’t figure out where i went wrong, as i was hoping for thicker soup. still delicious, though!

  159. What better than a delicious homemade soup on a cold winters day. Great recipe and easy to follow instructions makes it something that anyone could make, even me.

  160. Mary

    Delicious! Going in the regular rotation. We made a few changes based on what we had on hand:

    – Not enough lentils, so threw in some canned white beans to round out
    – Had less-than-a-glass of red wine left in a bottle, so added that
    – Original recipe did not fit in the slowcooker we decided to use, so cut down on the liquid
    – Combined with an asiago baguette from the farmer’s market for dipping = winter evening heaven!

  161. Susanna

    Did anyone else have a problem with this being REALLY oily? Maybe it was the sausages I was using, and the cooking them in oil, along with oil on the top (not that I’d want to get rid of the garlic oil). I didn’t notice it so much when it was piping hot off the stove, but as leftovers, even reheated, it was almost uncomfortable in my mouth. But then, I’m pregnant and food is weird to me now…

  162. Jessica

    Just made this, and it was amazing! My only recommendation is to make it a day before, put the pot in the fridge once cooled, and then heat up for dinner the next day. Allowing the soup to rest a day and melt together makes it over the top!

  163. Mattie

    In case anyone was wondering, I made this last night with chicken sausage, and it was great! I used 3 sweet italian chicken sausages from the butcher (not the pre-packaged kind, which I’ve found don’t come out of the casing and crumble like the fresh ones do). I also used spinach instead of chard, because it’s what I had, and it was DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to get home tonight to eat it again! Thanks Deb for the fantastic recipe!

  164. Lisa

    Stopping at the grocery store to pick up the few ingredients I’m missing to make this tonight! Just curious if you think you can substitute a pasta, like elbows or orzo, for the lentil for something a bit heartier (albeit less healthy)?

  165. jpodliska

    Made this last week and used chicken Italian sausage. I also used kale. So yummy and my kids loved it. They even requested that I pack it in their lunches the next day. Thanks!

  166. Linda

    This is ridiculously delicious; and easy enough to make after a long day of work. I used the full amount of sausage, but it was a lighter Italian chicken sausage, along with home-canned tomato sauce from last summer’s CSA bounty. I also used kale because it stands up so nicely and looks so beautiful in the mix. You are absolutely right about the sizzling garlic oil drizzle at the end — I think I licked my bowl in public. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Even the greens naysayers in the family loved this soup.

  167. pvl

    OMG this was good. I ended up using turkey broth that I had on hand (and needed to use up) for 4 of the 6 cups of liquid, which maybe made it so crazy over the top delicious?

    Wow – used kale (again, cuz we had it and it needed using).

    Simply fantastic. Oh: and I bought the book you reference in the text, gonna hunker down with it this weekend! :-)

    THANK YOU, again ….

  168. Lisa

    To answer my own question (and for anyone else wondering), I substituted orzo for the lentils, and it was AMAZING. Turkey sausage to health it up a little… you know, counteract the gobs of pecorino I grated on top. I noticed some weird kale shortage at Trader Joe’s recently…. didn’t have it on my last 3 trips… so I also had to use spinach. It was good, but can’t wait to try it with chard or kale. The best part is, it’s so EASY! If you’re cooking for one, like I am, first of all, definitely half this. I made the whole recipe thinking I could eat the leftovers for a few days for lunch, etc….. I WILL BE EATING THIS FOR A WEEK AT LEAST. Also, if you hate buying a bunch of celery, carrots, only to throw most of it away because you can’t use it all, do yourself a favor and get the prepackaged mirepoix at TJ’s also. :)

  169. CS

    This was super yummy and easy to make, although, I did change things up since it what I had on hand and didn’t read the instructions beforehand! I used already cooked spicy Italian chicken sausage which I cut into small pieces and added after the lentils were cooked. I tossed in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of stewed tomatoes (which required a bit of chopping/mashing up in the pot since the chunks were big). Tossed in 2 cups of chicken broth since I had some in the freezer instead of all water. Instead of buying a bunch of greens I used in a whole bag of Trader Joe’s organic power greens. Since I had to make it ahead for people who were coming and going at different times i didn’t do the sizzling garlic, but may try it with the leftovers when a quorum of the eaters are here…Love the tip about adding the greens at the end to keep them bright!

  170. Michelle

    Absolutely delicious! Just recovering from a cold and this is the first real meal I have had in a week and it was amazing. I substituted chicken sausage for the italian sausage and it was heavenly. The chard at the end was the finishing touch. Yum!!!! Soup IS good.

  171. Katie S

    My friend made this soup last night and it was unreal. She added white shoepeg corn and kale instead of chard. We also ate a sweet cornbread with it…delish! I am going to make it Friday night for my mom’s birthday dinner! Thanks!

  172. Michelle

    This looked fantastic and mixed ingredients I normally wouldn’t buy (swiss chard, lentils). I also have trouble with sausage because I now live in Switzerland and I’m never quite sure of what I’m buying. There certainly isn’t anything labeled sweet Italian sausage, and believe it or not I’ve never seen that in Italy either. But I did find a perfect substitute, a type of farmers sausage mixed with mountain herbs and gruyere cheese.
    Your recipe was wonderful and it’s just what we needed to spice up the winter, thanks!
    I added a few things here and there because I don’t think I had the right balance of water and canned tomato nor do I ever add enough salt. A splash of worcestershire sauce and a half of beef bouillon.

  173. Adrianne

    This is good soup, my friend. (Used red lentils, they cook quickly, but yes, fall apart. It worked well).
    +1 grilled cheese ; )

  174. Leslie

    I made this soup on Sunday and my family and I ate it Monday night for dinner and I’ve had left overs every day this week. Today I’ll have my last little bowl and I’m so sad. I will make this again for sure. It was so delish and so comforting! Even my 3 1/2 year old son loved it. When he has a bite of something and says “mmmm” it makes me the happiest mother in the world. Thank you for your wonderful recipe!

  175. Kathleen

    I made this soup last night for my fiance – it was fabulous while we waited out the storm in Raleigh. Deb, I am going to miss you coming to Raleigh (next to where I work in downtown) as I will be in New Jersey celebrating my nephew’s first birthday. I have to tell you, I recieved your book as an early wedding gift from my family…and my sister had you sign it for me in Bridgewater NJ. I am using the book as our guest sign in at our upcoming wedding! Thank you for making my life so much more delicious!

  176. rachel

    trader joes has a surprisingly delicious soy chorizo that i used in place of the (probably more delicious) real sausage and it worked beautifully!

  177. Roshan

    Hi Deb — I have a ton of indian lentils of various kinds in my house. Can I substitute them for the brown lentils? It seems a shame to go out and buy more lentils when I already have so much at home. I don’t know if this will help, but I have urad, mung, and chana lentils on hand.

  178. JJ

    Thank you Deb!! Doubled the recipe and made this for a huge group we were having over, including several very picky/unadventurous eaters. Everyone loved it! Definitely a new standard recipe at our soup-loving house.

  179. Julie

    Made this last night and we LOVE LOVE LOVED it! I had chicken Italian sausage on hard so I used that, and omitted the carrots and celery (I know, its weird but I hate cooked carrots and celery) and it was AWESOME. Just ate the leftovers for lunch today!

  180. Annie

    This was wonderful, Deb! My husband was sweet enough to make this for me last night using his homemade Italian sausage. We are big fans of lentils in Italian food (e.g. a Lidia Bastianich recipe for rigatoni with lentils, tomatoes and loads of pecorino), and this was both satisfying and beautiful!

  181. Amy

    I tried making this for a cozy, winter anniversary dinner with my boyfriend.. and it was absolutely fabulous. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the $8 bay leaves though (cue struggling post-college complaints), so I used just a dash of cumin instead to add a little depth. So much home-made healthy goodness! Loved it!

  182. Eliza

    Like Deb, I hate overcooked greens in my soup. So I cut the greens (chard, kale, spinach, whatever green I’m using) into ribbons, place the cut greens into the bottom of the bowl, and ladle the hot soup over the greens. The heat of the soup cooks the greens to perfection. No more overcooked greens. They’re fresh and vibrant down to the last bowl of soup.

  183. Megan

    Made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! My husband, who cooks about once a year and its usually spaghetti with jarred sauce, actually made it himself. We left out the bay leaves, garlic infused oil (ran out of oil), and cheese (I’m dairy-free), and used kale (since that’s what was in the frig) and it was go-back-for-seconds perfect.

  184. This soup looks delightful! In the long winter months, sometimes a bowl of hearty soup is the perfect antidote for cold weather! One of the things I especially remember as a child is my mother making a delicious bowl of soup to sit down to after playing in the snow all day. This looks like a wonderful sophisticated version of what I remember. Thanks for sharing!

  185. Eliza

    Yesterday was cold and overcast, so I made this soup last night. The soup was delicious, filling, and comforting. Just what you want in a soup.

    Like Deb, I only used 2 sausage links and found that to be more than enough. I also used on sweet and one spicy Italian sausage for a bit more flavor. As previously mentioned (comment 283 above), I cut the kale into ribbons, placed them in the bottom of my bowl, and ladled the soup over my greens. They were perfectly cooked, bright green with still a bit of bite to them. Also, they won’t be overcooked when I reheat my leftovers.

    Thank you for another great recipe, Deb. I hated lentil soup as a kid, but this one sounded so good I had to give it a try. So glad I did.

  186. Nancy

    Made this for my boyfriend and I while we watched the Super Bowl. Served with homemade cornbread and green salad. Very delicious and filling. Thanks for another great recipe.

  187. Jess

    Isaac, not sure if you can hear me up there at comment 160, but I had the same problem (though having too much of this soup is by no demonstrable means a “problem!”). But yeah, I too had to bail on the 5qt Dutch oven for an 8qt pot. I used three sausage links, not too, but I don’t think that accounts for all of the volume difference. And we absolutely got 8 servings out of it. Win!

  188. Amy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I made this last week and my three-year-old has eaten three times for dinner since then. Last night he finished the leftovers and begged me to make “hot dog soup” for him again (we’re kosher, and I couldn’t find kosher sausage, so I used spicy hot dogs that didn’t break up when I cooked them). Even my husband who hates lentils loved it. Thank you, Deb. Delicious!

  189. Elisa

    This soup was amaaaazing! I made it on Sunday, got home late last night from work and had a big bowl of this! Comfort food at its finest. I used spinach as the leafy green wih some sprinkles of Parm cheese too!! Thanks this will be a staple in our home.

  190. Katie

    I’m a graduate student in Ohio, and I’m always on the hunt for warm and tasty winter lunch foods I can make in bulk on Sundays or Mondays and reheat during my midday breaks Monday-Thursday. I made this soup basically as written (except that I used a pack of three chicken sausages from Whole Foods, subbed green lentils for brown, and added all of my chard on cooking day), and it is a winner! It’s warm and filling, smells delicious (even when microwaved) and doesn’t become strange and coagulated in the fridge. I was apprehensive about the sausage, but it’s every bit as good as it was straight out of the pot even on day three…and that’s coming from a girl who’s consistently weirded out by leftover meat.

  191. Katie

    I also omitted the cheese and the daily dose of the warm garlic oil (though I did add garlic oil to the original batch), and didn’t find the soup to be missing anything.

  192. Jessi

    Made this last night and it was delicious!! Having it again right now for lunch. The Pecorino Romano is the perfect addition – I’m sure it’s good without the cheese, but it’s so darn good with it, I won’t even try going without!

  193. Jen

    I love soup, especially during the winter. And I had been looking for a good lentil soup to try. This was a home run for me. I used chicken sausage instead of regular sausage, though, (I can’t eat beef or pork) and it came out great with that too. Of course anything of yours I’ve ever tried has been super great.

  194. Natalie

    Deb, thank you. I made this tonight with Italian chicken sausage (just 2 link as you recommended) and it was delicious. You’re totally right about the hot garlic oil.

  195. Shelby

    MMMM! I made this soup last night and it was delicious! I think next time I will add less water and more lentils, but otherwise, yummy!

  196. Katy

    I made this tonight and it was wonderful. The family was skeptical, even up until the moment they tasted it, but then they ate it like ravenous wolves. I didn’t have bay leaves, so I used some dried tarragon from my garden, and I added a dollop of Better Than Bouillon with the water. At first, I was afraid of the amount of water and that it would end up too watery, but it was just perfect. My lentils took a bit longer to cook, too, so maybe more water evaporated than otherwise would have. I’m really looking forward to trying it again tomorrow for lunch!

  197. Nicole

    This was amazing!!! I made it just in time for the blizzard hitting Jersey City – I used 3 sausages and some brown lentils and red lentils (I saw someone asking if they could use different types). I didn’t expect the olive oil garlic to be totally delicious but I followed your tip and it was great! My BF liked it too!

  198. Geeta

    I made this tonight, as the blizzard was blanketing NYC :) Amazing! I usually have a very poor sense of smell but you were right–makes the whole apartment smell wonderful! I used green lentils & 1 Italian sausage mixed with 3 small sweet apple & maple chicken sausages as that’s what I had on hand. Lovely & complex despite the simplicity of the ingredients! Perfect meal for a wintry weekend! Thank you for making me feel like quite the cook today and all the days I embark on one or more of you recipes. Congrats on the book–cannot wait to own it!!

  199. I made this for lunch today and it has been a big hit. As I had a quick-cook four grain mix lurking in the cupboard, I used this in place of lentils and it worked really well (for those in the UK, this is the Waitrose mix that includes spelt, barley, rye and wheat berries). Italian sausages are almost unknown in the UK, so I used a pork and herb sausage, which worked very well, and I also subbed in Savoy cabbage for chard, as others have done.
    I am waiting patiently for the UK release of your book – I wanted to support the UK publishers, so avoided ordering from the US and having it shipped. Dare I hope there might be a book tour over here as well??

  200. Jack

    This was the best soup I’ve had this winter. And I’m in Wisconsin so that’s a pretty hefty endorsement. I followed the recipe but had a quarter head of green cabbage laying about so I chopped that and added it too. Utterly perfect. I did NOT share.

  201. Diane K

    I have mixed feelings about this soup – I kept sampling it during the simmering stage and the flavors weren’t quite what I expected. And then I tried a few rouge lentils that seemed perfectly tender, while it turns out most of them weren’t as well done. The cheese made a total transformation for me (and I only had parmesan – I bet the romano would have been amazing). My husband, the super carnivore, would have preferred all four sausages, but said he would eat it again. It was surprisingly filling! My not-quite-18-month-old daughter didn’t go for it, but I’d already fed her a light dinner since I got started late, so we’ll try again tomorrow.

  202. Kat

    I made this tonight for dinner, with the two sausages as suggested & it was fabulous!!! At first I thought it didn’t have enough flavor, however, as it continued to cook it all came together beautifully! P.S. This soup isn’t just flavorful & comforting on a cold winter day it is also very economical to make, it’s wonderful to have a recipe where it all comes together!

  203. Danielle

    I made this last night and it was terrific. I did only use 2 links of sausage since a lot of folks recommended that, and my 14 year old son said after his first bowl – “It’s good but I wish it had like 3 times more meat in it.” Just something to consider if you’ve got hungry teenagers in your house, you may want to use all 4 links. I will next time!

  204. Ana

    This soup is so easy to make, it took me no time at all and is delicious. Perfect for a cold NY winter evening and for taking as lunch to school. Goes really well with nice fresh bread.

  205. OMG, this is the best use of lentils and chard ever! I’m usually not a fan of lentils or chard, but this entree was to die for! As my husband said after his second bowl (and I agree), “My mouth is wanting more, but I better listen to my full stomach”. My own mouth is dancing with delight and I’m so looking forward to the leftovers for lunch tomorrow! And you were right….you can’t skip the garlic oil at the end (I allowed my garlic to get golden brown and crispy and my husband loved that bit of crispness to his soup).

    Spot on for total servings.

  206. Sherry

    I could have written the comment above by Anita! It is so good. All I had was a 28oz can of puree…worked well, really hardy and warming on a cold winter night! Thanks again Deb!

  207. Rebecca

    This, without a doubt, took the edge off of cabin fever here in Upstate NY. The house smelled great, the soup tasted great and I actually had to go outside, to my neighbors house to borrow carrots. Hadn’t seen her in months! And the 2 28oz = 6 cups, invaluable! You are the best

  208. Karina

    I am making this soup for a second time – I posted a few weeks ago on the first (amazing) batch and forgot to mention that I used fire roasted crushed tomatoes from Muir Glen Organic brand. If someone else has already passed along this tip, forgive me for the repeat – but a little fire roasting takes a great dish into the sublime.

  209. Mara

    I made this for dinner tonight for our three year anniversary! It was delicious. Of course, as I almost always do with recipes, I altered it :) I used vegetarian italian sausages instead, and I used wild rice, because lentils don’t sit well in my stomach. It was amazing! And since it’s just the two of us at home, I portioned off the leftovers into meal sized containers for the freezer to bring to work during the weeks ahead. Also, I made traditional bannock from scratch to dip into the soup (I am a carb junkie and always need bread with soup!)

  210. Krystina

    Made this last night and it was amazing!!! So rich and hearty and warm and comforting. A big bowl of “home.” Thank you so much for creating and sharing, Deb. You’re a rockstar.

  211. Wow, this has become the new favorite soup in our house. We used some Trader Joe’s spicy Italian chicken sausage and it’s a huge hit. Next time, I’m going to add some smoked paprika.

    Again, wow.

  212. Renee

    This soup is fast, easy and, most importantly, DELICIOUS! It’s the first Smitten Kitchen recipe I’ve made—I’m new to the blog. I’m now scouring the archives. Thanks so much. And, you are absolutely right about not omitting the garlic oil topping. Yum!

  213. Eliza

    You can also chop up the chard stems and add them when you add the onions and carrots. They’re tasty and it avoids waste. They’re a good substitute if you, like me, aren’t that fond of celery. Also, if you’re using red or rainbow chard, the stems add nice bits of color to the soup.

  214. Yvonne

    I just used my last onion the day before, so I substituted scallions, used some kale I had frozen from late summer, and substituted smoked sausage for the Italian (because I don’t like it in spite of living in PA and being surrounded by Italians), and it was still delectable…and it’s crazy filling…

  215. michael

    One of my favorites and two little things to add to send it over the moon………..one or two tblsps of sauce anglais(Worcestershire sauce) and a small splash of white vinegar to liven up the lentils. I am actually making the dish as I type and am using spinach instead of chard.

  216. Cheryl

    Forgot my can of crushed tomatoes, and at my 12 year old’s suggestion, added a jar of mild salsa. So delicious, and warming after a cold Oklahoma middle school soccer practice. My family loved it!! Thank you!!!

  217. Amanda Gonzales

    WOW! I have tho say that I’ve never really been a soup kinda girl. That is until now. This was amazing. My whole family ate it, for days! Thanks for sharing.

  218. Wow! Thanks so much for this recipe–it was amazing. My boyfriend and I decided to make this last night and we were not disappointed. He loved it so much, so, we have to give credit where credit’s due: thanks! I just wish I hadn’t put all the swiss chard in at once. I should have waited and maybe just put it in each individual bowl so that it didn’t lose its beautiful green color.

  219. Made this when you first posted it – and it rocked my world. Really really fantastic. ALL three of my children ate it. Shocking. I made it again last night and could not get the lentils to soften. How weird is that?! Any thoughts on what that was about?

  220. Molly

    This is probably not a comment you were expecting on this particular recipe but: made this for the first time tonight, and it ended up being my baby’s first solid food experience. Which, I know, breaks about 800 rules of parenting, and don’t worry, we only gave him the liquidy bits, and not very much. But he was so into it! And I’m so proud of him for having such good taste! We’ve been putting little bits of baby appropriate food in front of him for weeks, and he has never expressed any interest at all. Imagine our surprise when my husband almost perfunctorily put the spoon up to my son’s lips and he just went for it. And then wanted more. And more. I’m sure we’re going to pay for this tonight (tomatoes! in an already barfy baby!) but it was just so exciting. Thought you’d like to know your recipe played a small part in a milestone moment.

  221. Just a thought: I’ve made this soup twice now and I see absolutely no reason not to use the ribs of the Swiss chard in place of the celery. Chard is even more flavorful than the celery and complements the other flavors nicely.

  222. Nathan Miller

    First I just want to say a thousand thanks to Deb for providing me with many great meals and the foundations and confidence to explore.

    Now, this soup: it was amazing the first time I tried it, straight from the recipe. Tonight I decided to play with it a bit and the result exceeded my wildest hopes. First, I added some cubed Adirondack red potatoes, which added some nice texture and gave a bit of silkiness to the broth. Next, I chopped the chard stems and added them about fifteen minutes before the soup was ready; this lent the whole thing a wonderful earthiness and a bit of crunch. Finally, I tossed in a small handful of chopped cilantro in the bowl and gave it a quick stir before grating the pecorino on top, and, well, wow. The cilantro and the pecorino are like ballroom dancers cooperating and competing to see who can make it more awesome. They tangle up together and each enhances the other remarkably. This is the best soup I’ve ever made, hands down.

  223. Mia

    This was delightful. I’d bookmarked the recipe a few weeks ago, after showing it to my husband elicited an “ooooh, when are we going to eat that?!” I mean, he doesn’t even really like chard! It’s such a solid soup–I’m making it again tonight. Soooo flavorful, so satisfying!

  224. Ellen

    Delicious! I just wanted to comment because I love hearing other people’s adaptations.

    I made this last night for a girls’ night in and it was just right. I had four leftover cooked bratwurst sausages and a few pieces of bacon from breakfast, so I sautéed that all together and went from there. Brown lentils, spinach instead of chard, and definitely was pleased that I added the red pepper flakes because the kick was just right.

    I (um) forgot the garlic oil in the pre-dinner rush, but the flavour was still excellent. And my 3 and 5 year old daughters ate it up after initial hesitation. Will be making it again!

  225. Ellie

    This recipe is awesome! I’ve made it with both chard and kale, both were delicious. I’ve also used a number of different sausages (and different amounts) and it always comes out fantastic. Thanks!

  226. This looked so delicious I had to try it. I made a few changes (less oil, some mushrooms and parsley, turkey sausage) and then one that was totally unplanned. Those lentils I thought we had in the pantry turned out to be whole buckwheat groats. Even so, it was wonderful!

  227. Drisdy

    love this recipe! tried it for the first time on my own after a friend made it in March… i used kale, and it was just as yummy!

  228. Raquel

    LOVED LOVED LOVED this! I can’t eat onions, so I used shallots or green garlic. I also didn’t use celery but used the chard and kale stocks. We used so salt added diced tomatoes to. My boyfriend loves loves loves this soup too. This is a great great recipe.

  229. kristina

    Am delighted to report that this freezes wonderfully and makes for rich eating when living on a pauper budget. I am adding rice to my servings this time in addition to the greens (so the delicious soup will last a little longer) and it’s just as delicious served with the rice as a hearty stew as it was as a soup. I used locally made Italian sausage and the resulting flavors are heavenly.

  230. Ann

    This may sound insane, but since I didn’t have chard, kale, or spinach in my fridge, I substituted the one lonely leek that missed the boat on a recent potato-leek soup. It was absolutely delicious! Used vegetarian sausage, green lentils, and no celery; next time, I might add some prawns as well. Oh, and that garlic oil? I might have to just start adding that to everything I make from now on… hello, mashed potatoes… Anyway, thanks for yet another fantastic recipe, Deb.

  231. Jenn

    I tried this soup over the weekend and it is delicious! Instead of just lentils I added half lentils and half pearled barley – yum :)

  232. Emily

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was actually Plan B because I was out of the cheddar I needed for Plan A. I have never been so glad to be out of cheese! This was one of the best soups I’ve ever had, and that is coming from a soup girl through and through. My husband, who has only recently started warming up to soup, also loved it, as did our one year old. The almost-three-year-old ate 4-5 bites without being asked, which is quite something for him!

    Changes I made: used smoked turkey sausage instead of Italian, used two cups of turkey broth (it was already defrosted for Plan A) instead of all water, pureed a small can of diced tomatoes instead of the 28 oz of crushed tomatoes, used kale instead of chard.

    This one is going into the Tried & True file!

  233. o_oreally

    I had a bag of organic green lentil soups that just sat in my cupboard, literally for months, maybe three. The last time I cooked lentils, which was my first and last, I cooked them as the bag suggested. They sat and eventually spoiled in the fridge. I didn’t want to do that again, so I figured I’d hold on ’til I found a better way to use them.

    Today, I came across your awesome recipe after googling “delicious lentil soups”. My watering mouth and rumbly tumbly told me to give this recipe a go, and so I did. I had nearly everything the recipe called for minus the Italian sausage, so I made a quick lil trip–which lasted a total of three hours!! (This is what happens when the market is next to the mall!) Anyway, I got home and made this quick and easy lentil soup.

    I tend to modify or add a few things to dishes I cook to add my own touch. For this recipe, I added three ingredients for extra kick: cumin, paprika and cheese. This gave the stew more complexity and extra flavor with every spoonful. The third ingredient was a small slice of fresh goat cheese at the bottom of my bowl prior to spooning this yummy goodness. This added a creamy texture to the soup.

    Also, I forgot to buy the canned tomatoes, so I roughly processed four roma tomatoes, added a bit water and salt to taste, and brought them to a simmer to get that stewed texture. I later added them where the recipe called for them.

    I’ll definitely be making this batch again. I really enjoyed it. Especially since it had been a while since I last cooked. This was definitely special treat for me during this holiday break. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the rest of us :)

  234. C M

    Just made this for my father and it was great. I used the full four sausages and as stated it does kind of dominate the soup when you do that–but that’s just the way we like it. Healthy, hearty, and delicious and you’ve got plenty of leftovers! Definitely making this again.

  235. I’ve got to learn how to cook. I love soup, especially tomato soup but I’ve never made it myself. Now is the time to give it a go as just looking at the images is making my mouth water, and how hard can it be to make lentil soup when you’ve laid the process out so well. Time to do some shopping.

    1. Kateoz

      I know this comment is old, but in case people read this in future, I freeze it in individual portions and it works really well.
      I don’t do the garlic drizzle, but I do add some grated Parmesan before freezing.

  236. Ashley

    Wow, made this last night and loved it! I had a similar soup at a friend’s last week that used chicken broth, and I really think using the crushed tomatoes and water provided a much, much more flavorful “broth” for the soup. Loved this and can’t wait to make it again! We used our favorite chicken italian sausage, which I think I will add more of next time. Also, we didn’t have any parmesan, so I put some thin strips of provolone on top and it was delish!

  237. Tori

    Made this tonight and it was killer!! Perfect for a chilly night. I added a pinch of cinnamon with the lentils and it added really nice dimension. Thanks for another amazing dish Deb!!

  238. deb

    Yeah, I’m thinking it was a pound too and I’m really confused as to why I hadn’t weighed them and nobody had even asked yet. However, it really does sound from commenters that most of us preferred this with only two links (unless you’d like almost more of a sausage-lentil stew). I suspect that the recipe’s creator had smaller links; it makes more sense.

  239. Joe B

    Made this soup 2 nights ago and had the leftovers tonight. Partner and I agree that it’s one of the tastiest soups ever and even better the second time. I followed the recipe as written, including the Pecorino Romano and the fried garlic. After reading the 2 links vs 4 links discussion I opted to use 3. It seemed to be just the right quantity.

  240. jennifer

    I made this tonight,, it was very good…i did not use can tomatoes i used some paste . Very hearty!! I thought i could get seconds!!! Wrong i got full fast… Thanx

  241. Susan K

    Made this tonight – so good! Made pretty much as written except only had one link of sausage and used collards cut into ribbons instead of chard, added for about 5 minutes at the end – the collards keep their texture so well, it was almost like having fettuccine in the soup! Thanks for a great recipe !

  242. Jess

    Now that I’ve made this recipe, like, 18 million times, I figured I should comment. It is my favorite winter soup!! We do use the sausage (3 extra large links, roughly 1.3 lbs) and kale instead of chard. It is so incredibly delicious and easy. Thank you for this amazing concoction that has become a seasonal staple in our household. :)

  243. sccrash

    One of the best soup ever! I use beer instead of at least half of the water, and find it adds a nice depth to the already delicious flavor. Thanks for all your terrific recipes, and all the smiles you bring with your writing!

  244. Kate

    My dad recently introduced me to your blog and I’ve cooked almost exclusively from it since! It’s wonderful to know that I can pick at random from your recipe archive and find another favorite to add to my repertoire.Thanks for allowing me to be so lazy ;) This soup was incredible–I’ve been searching for years for a good lentil soup recipe, wish I had seen this post last January!

  245. KateH

    Yes-it’s that good. Quick, easy,healthy, yummy delicious. I did use 4 (1lb) Trader Joe sweet Italian sausage and red pepper flakes as husband likes his protein and heat. We both loved this soup. Garlic oil finish puts it over the top!

  246. Melanie

    This is amazing! I used French lentils and vegetarian “sausage” and it worked splendidly. So flavorful. And even my toddler liked it! I cooked it in a slow cooker which was perfect; added the chard during the last hour, and stirred in sauteed sausage at the very end. YUM. Thanks for a great recipe!

  247. Mel

    How funny that the previous comment was a Mel too… more to the point: Deb this was absolutely amazing!!!! So easy to put together, healthy, and so, so delicious!! Love the combination of flavors. And so many vegetables…I feel virtuous ;) Exactly the hearty, healthy meal we were looking for on a cold winter’s night!!

  248. claire

    made the lentil soup absolutely LOVED it but mine needed more sausage! I also added a dollop of sour cream. Really nice soup! cant wait to eat it again :)

  249. KSK

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this recipe. Since last January when you first posted it, I have made this soup so many times. It’s now my favorite lentil soup; and tonight is a perfect snowy night to make it again.

  250. Renee

    I’ve made this fantastic soup over and over again. It’s one of my favorites. It’s easy and delicious but has such complex flavors. The garlic chips are an inspiration. I double them. We like it spicy so add the crushed red pepper. Last night I made it again and threw in some fennel seeds. Delicious! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You deserve a medal for this one.

  251. Emma

    I was not prepared for how delicious this soup turned out. I was planning to save it for my lunches this week, but I ended up accidentally eating nearly a full bowl’s worth of it out of the pot with my “tasting spoon” before it even left the stove. I kept sneaking spoonfuls every time I walked past the stove; eventually I had to throw my tasting spoon in the dishwasher and force myself out of the kitchen until the soup was cool enough to stash in the refrigerator. I will be making this soup again and again.

  252. Cecilia

    I made my own adaptation of this, but made it spicy hot and curried like I love my food, and topped it with a cooling cilantro mint and yogurt (with some dijon and garlic for a kick). Ended up tasting like something from the local Indian restaurant!

  253. Miranda

    Beautiful recipe! I tweaked it slightly and added chicken stock and half a can of tomato paste instead of the water and diced tomatoes. I previously made some chicken stock the day before so wanted to tested it out and with the tomato paste combination it gave it a beautiful body and mouth feel. Also, for the sausage I used our local butchers Lamb Merguez links… outstanding with your recipe! Thanks for sharing :)

  254. Hello Deb. I love this blog and your cookbook both – both have changed our kitchen for the better. I went back to this recipe tonight, a chilly rainy day here. I just wanted to share something my mum recently taught me that I tried tonight and think is worth passing on: You know when you buy fresh parmesan cheese and you grate all the grateable bits off the hunk and are left with a basically inedible hard crust (I don’t know if that’s wax?)? Anyway, I usually slice as much as I can off of it and throw it out but my Mum is so smart and dumps hers in the freezer, and then when making the right soup, she drops them in. I did that tonight here with this soup. Ohmygoodness. It was amazing. Flavoured the whole soup with a subtle creamy “parmesanyness” and then we pulled them out at the end and fought over who got to chew on the warm mushy flaking cheesy wax rods. :) Did this instead of the romano on top.

    Anyway, thought id pass along a good tip.

  255. Hi Deb. I love your cookbook and blog. Both have changed our kitchen for the better. I returned to this soup again today, a chilly rainy day here. My mum recently told me a secret of hers I thought was worth passing on: You know when you buy parmesan and grate all the grateable cheese off the hunk and are left with that hard ungrateable crust (I don’t know if this is wax?)? Anyway, I would always get as close as I could to this edge and then just throw it out. My smart mom throws hers in the freezer. Then, when she has a few she drops them into an appropriate soup. I did that tonight here with this soup and omigoodness! The whole soup developed a subtle creamy “parmesanyness”. And after pulling out the mushy waxy rods (before serving) we fought over who got to chew off the bits of melty flaking cheese. It was perfect. I didn’t use the romano on top, then.

    Anyway, thought this was a secret worth telling the world.

  256. Charlotte

    This soup looks so delicious! Can’t wait to make it! I plan on making it for a church dinner for a large group. I will need to have about 5 gallons of soup. I’m not sure if I should just multiply all the ingredients by 5 or make 5 individual batches. I know sometimes recipes do not turn out as good with they are doubled and tripled. What do you think would be the best way?

  257. Kari

    Hi Deb, this soup looks delicious! If I’m omitting the sausage, would you recommend using vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor?

  258. Christina

    Hi Deb,
    I make this soup at least once a month and freeze a few batches during the winter. I’ve converted several coworkers to this soup. I am so eternally grateful for this recipe! My kids will probably eat this so much in their life that they will remember it as a family staple. Thank you.

  259. hapacooking

    Hi Deb! Made this last night and it was delicious. I followed your directions and added the garlic at the end like your recommended, it was amazing! Thank you for your abundant delicious soul warming recipes. Happy New Year.

  260. Helen

    OMG! I forgot I had saved a full bowls of this soup for my freezer. Just came home from water aerobics class, it’s only 18 degrees out & I pulled this from my collection for lunch. I could not have been more pleased with how wonderful it tasted. It was perfect for today. I’m so glad I had this surprise waiting for me in the freezer. It reminds me to make more & have friends over during this frigid Ohio winter.

  261. I just made this over the weekend and wanted to say how much we enjoyed it. It’s so flavorful and really simple. I used baby kale since I had some laying around in the refrigerator. My husband is always a soup skeptic (as in, soup can’t possibly be a meal), but I changed his tune with this.

    It’s been smitten kitchen week at my house. I think I’ve made 3 or 4 things this week alone.


  262. Liz

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I’m snowed in at my apartment in DC, and this fit the bill. I used the extra garlic oil to anoint thick cut toasts that I ran under the broiler mounded with cheese until I got garlicky frico to dip into the soup.

  263. CMS

    This is absolutely the best lentil soup ever? My husband was blown away by it. Perfect for any day really- a pleasant surprise for soup night!

  264. CMS

    This is a terrific recipe- delicious any time of year really.
    In SC, swiss chard is a winter garden crop – I love cutting some fresh for this soup.
    My husband loves this soup!

  265. Mavis

    I added too much water and it became very bland and flavorless but I saved it by adding salt and lemon and potatoes and boiling it down to a stew! Turned out great! Although I didn’t wash the chard I picked from my garden and ended up accidentally cooking a caterpillar in the soup :/ Still tasted wonderful.

  266. Carl Maury

    I thought this recipe came from Gina DePalma, former Chef at Babbo….or did she crib it from you……neither of you credits the other….intersting!

  267. deb

    Carl — The first line under the recipe title says “Adapted from Secrets of the Best Chefs, where it was provided by Gina DePalma.”

  268. Heather

    Made this on the weekend (even though it’s crazy hot and humid here!). Was very tasty. Great way to use my garden chard. I used vegetable stock instead of water.

  269. Nell

    Congratulations on the birth of baby Anna! I read Smitten Kitchen obsessively; it’s the first thing I check when I get home from school (I’m 14.) Despite my ferocious addiction to reading and cooking from your blog this is my first time commenting. And it’s because I found a menial typo in the second sentence of the first paragraph of the instruction. You wrote “pinch fo salt” instead of “pinch of salt.”

  270. Wendy

    It rained in Los Angeles today! It rained in Los Angeles today! This was perfect (modified for Weight Watchers and using veggie Italian sausage) for dinner. I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow!

  271. Deb

    Sounds amazing! But since I live in California, I’ll just pretend we have a brittle/bitter cold winter day. But like Wendy said above, it did rain in LA today. Sort of. For a little bit.

    1. deb

      Rachael — I’d expect it to freeze well. How long things last in the freezer, I find has more to do with your freezer itself and if it imparts a freezer taste/smell. I find this usually happens long before frozen stuff goes bad.

  272. Laura

    Just joining the chorus to say that this was an exceptionally delicious soup! We served with twice baked potatoes and it was steamy, spicy, flavorful – perfect, nourishing comfort food. Leftovers were fabulous tonight, as well. Thanks, Deb, for the treasure trove of wonderful recipes here. Your recipes have come to define many a milestone and every day memory here at our home.

  273. Cate

    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! I used 4 links of sausage and thought it was perfect that way – not too much at all. Thanks for the great recipe!

  274. Erin

    This has been one of my favorite recipes of yours (I’ve tried so many). I have a fairly young baby (about the same age as your little girl:))and three other small kids. I was wondering how to adapt this for the crockpot. I was thinking about just cooking the sausage ahead of time and putting everything else in the crockpot for 6ish hours. Any reccomendations?

  275. deb

    Hi Erin — Congrats! See Comment #290, she said 8 hours in the crockpot did the trick. I haven’t tried it, but if you’re home, can’t hurt to check sooner.

  276. Bess

    Like many others I subbed the pork sausage for chicken (Applegate farms chicken-turkey Sweet Italian brand). I diced it fairly small. Used all 4. Tastes fabulous to me.

  277. AB

    I’m a long-time follower, but first time commenter (though I often find reading the comments/responses a super helpful part in taking on new recipes!). I felt it was finally warranted to comment as I made this soup last night (with minor modifications below) and it was declared “the best veggie soup ever” by my significant other. See below for the (slight) modifications, in case they might be helpful for others:

    – I left out the sausage all together. We didn’t have any meat or non-meat varieties at home and still really wanted to try this– and it was still super flavorful
    – Rather than 6 cups of water, I used 4 cups homemade veggie broth and 2 cups water (I was worried it would lack flavor without the sausage. It didn’t!)
    – I used collard greens rather than chard, as that’s what we had on hand.
    – I used half leeks, half onion, again, because we had some on hand that we wanted to use up before they went bad.

    Thank you for another wonderful recipe! I’m also loving the weekly e-newsletters– so many exciting things to try!

  278. Carmen

    Made this last night with venison sausage, extra garlic, and grated Romano because it was all I had, and it was amazing! The garlic and olive oil puts this over the top and worked well to balance the strong flavor of the venison.

  279. Debbie Bensadon

    Hi Deb, LOVE YOUR BLOG AND BOOK! I especially love the “Surprise Me” feature on the blog. I came across this soup (I know the entry is from 3 years ago) and I am wondering if you can swap out the lentils for quinoa? My husband is not a big fan of lentils, but he can do quinoa. Do you think this would compromise the texture?

  280. Eleanor

    Hi there!
    I made this tonight and it was delicious- perfect winter warmer. I’m wondering if you have any tips for getting rid of the metal-y taste from canned tomatoes? I can’t afford premium tomatoes, but I find the tin flavour is hard to do away with. Any tips would be fab! Thanks!

  281. Sarah Richardson

    This is a favorite recipe of mine but I have come into a problem sourcing brown lentils. My Whole Foods used to carry them but now offer only green, red and black. Any suggestions as to the best substitute? It’s funny that the browns “are the most common” according to many websites but completely unavailable in North Carolina.

    1. deb

      Sarah — I am sure Amazon or other online grocery stores carry them, but I also think green would be fine here. They just stay more intact, which some people prefer. The small brown ones (Italian imported, not standard brown lentils) I used are very close to green ones in texture.

  282. Bonnie

    This recipe is fantastic. Quick and easy, but the depth of flavor is phenomenal. I have made it multiple times and keep coming back for more. Thanks, Deb.

    Sarah, I have used green lentils every time… it is still perfect. Brown lentils mysteriously disappeared from all of my grocery stores, as well.

  283. I love, love, love this recipe. I have made it numerous times and it is now my favorite to bring to a new mother. Lots of protein, fiber and good flavor to fill you up.

    I recently adapted the recipe to cook in the Instant Pot. I was wondering if I could share this on my blog, giving complete credit and link back to your original post for the original recipe?

    Thanks for considering!

  284. @deb @sue @seannalea

    Pressure cooker tip:

    Cook everything the same as you would right up to the simmer step, but make this change to the ingredients: add 2 of the 6 cups of water where indicated, then seal the pressure cooker & bring up to high pressure, cook for 8-10 minutes (a generic time that you would use to cook the lentils that you just added), and then use the natural pressure release method. As soon as you open the pot, quickly stir in the greens, and when they are cooked to your liking, add the remaining 4 cups of water, stir to integrate. (Or add the greens after adding a little water so that they “cook” more slowly. Or, as Deb suggested, don’t add the greens until you’re ready to serve hot soup!)

    I have done this with the full six cups of water for the pressure phase, and though it doesn’t ruin the meal, it adds significantly to the time needed for both pressurization and depressurization. So, why do that to yourself when you could keep the pressure phase short & serve your meal in 30-40 minutes total?

    Note: adding 4 cups of cold water to a hot pot will have a bit of a cooling effect, obviously, and if you intend to serve the soup immediately you may want to make sure that the water you add is also at soup-serving temperature. On the other hand, adding cold water at the end may be extremely convenient if you intend to cool & freeze the results for later serving. (keep the chard/kale out of the soup until post-thawing if you do this)


    One last generic tip: you can easily bulk up this soup with cooked cauliflower or broccoli… particularly if it is steamed to perfect doneness before adding.

  285. Drisdy

    I love this recipe, and have made it many times. Sorry if someone else may have asked this question before, but how might you adjust this recipe if one is using a pressure cooker?

  286. Sue H.

    I’m also looking for a substitute for lentils. I’ve made this soup a few times, and everyone loves it, but from feeding it to my kid, I’ve discovered he’s allergic to lentils!

  287. Jillian

    I make this soup multiple times every year- it’s delicious and easy! I always use spicy italian sausage- it gives it a good kick, but it’s not overpowering. I once used chorizo and it was absolutely divine. Thanks for a great recipe!

  288. Brittney McClannahan

    Delicious. Perfect for fall or wintery evenings. I added a few cups of organic chicken broth and macaroni noodles for added texture.

  289. Kat

    My dude is a vegetarian but I make this a few times a year, just for me! This is one of very, very few recipes I don’t significantly mess with. A little less oil, two hot sausages and a few extra greens is how it usually shakes out in my kitchen, but even as written it’s foolproof.

  290. Eliza

    This is so delicious! I’ve also adapted this recipe to be vegetarian so it’s now a (super healthy!) weekly staple on our house. I swapped out the Italian sausage with thyme, basil, oregano, paprika, fennel seeds, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a little glug of red wine. I don’t miss the sausage and it’s gloriously rich.