What are lentils anyway? They sort of look like split peas, flat and about a quarter of an inch in size.
Lentils have been around for a very long time. Lentil artifacts have been found on archaeological digs dating back 8,000 years. The Bible also has various references to lentils. So they have quite a history.
Lentils belong to the legume family (peas, beans, soybeans and peanuts) and are a tasty and plentiful source of protein and have loads of fiber. They come in many varieties.
I used what was readily available in my local supermarket which are pictured above. You can find them with the dry beans. Since I really like this soup, I am inclined to branch out and try other varieties and other methods of preparation.
This hearty soup is an excellent way to try lentils for the first time!
1 pound green lentils
1 pound of ground Italian sausage (I removed some brats from their casings and used it instead)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups chicken broth
2 14.5 ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
grated Parmesan cheese
Place the lentils in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water and allow them to sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, add the olive oil and sausage and cook until the sausage is brown and crumbly.
Mince the garlic and add it along with the onions, celery, carrots, zucchini, herbs and spices and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Drain the lentils and rinse them. Add the lentils along with the chicken broth and tomatoes to the stock pot.
Stir to combine the ingredients. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours or until lentils are cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally. Add 2 cups of water as needed to adjust the consistency of the soup about half way through cooking.
Check the seasonings and adjust to your taste.
Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese and topped with fresh parsley.
and that's What's Cooking at Cathy's ~ Enjoy!
Recipe was adapted from My Baking Addiction blog.