This recipe was first seen in my weekly food column in Alaska Dispatch News

Weather: 27 degrees, monochromatic and a little dreary. But still always beautiful.
What I’m listening to: Cripple Me, Elenowen

We’ve been having a string of grey days with intermittent snowfall and occasional slush. The waters of Cook Inlet turn deep and brooding, a charcoal shade of grey. The skies a paler shade, like the coat of a gray wolf. Then the snow appears, giant flakes of the purest white, falling silently as if in slow-motion against the backdrop of grey on grey.

lentil soup with sausage

When the weather is like this, I find myself craving a hearty, wholesome bowl of warmth and comfort. Something filling, something nutritious, something that sticks to your ribs and makes you feel safe and satisfied. Thankfully, I had bookmarked just such a soup recipe to use as inspiration in a cookbook I had picked up on a spontaneous trip to the library. This lentil-based, protein-rich soup takes a garlicky turn – which I love –  bolstered by Italian sausage, vibrant red Swiss chard, and tomatoes. I served it with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese and some of my Focaccia with Rosemary & Sea Salt on the side. It makes fantastic leftovers.

If you like this lentil soup recipe, you might also like:

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Spicy Chorizo Red Lentil Soup with Kale

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage & Chard

A hearty lentil soup with Italian sausage, Swiss chard, and garlic. Adapted from Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts.

Yields: Serves 6

  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 cup lentils (I used red lentils, but brown would also work)
  • 28 ounces of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups red Swiss chard, shredded
  • To finish the soup:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese

In a large pot, like a dutch oven, over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage in a swirl of extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes followed by the lentils. Pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, stirring often. When the lentils are tender, stir in the red Swiss chard and cook 3-4 minutes more until the chard is just tender.

While the chard is cooking, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is softened and the oil is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. You don't want the garlic to brown. Remove the soup from the heat, drizzle the olive oil and garlic over top of the soup, and stir it in to combine. Serve with freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese.

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