Dried beans are a popular choice for soups. They come in many varieties and are inexpensive. However, most dried beans require soaking overnight and take forever to cook. Lentils require no soaking and cook in about 30 minutes. They are extremely high in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber. They also contain iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1 and potassium. Oh, and unlike most other beans, lentils do not contain sulfur, meaning that they do not produce the embarrassing and smelly side effect often associated with ‘beans, beans the musical fruit.’
Servings: 8-10Time: Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 50-60 minutes
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a can opener, a soup pot with a tight fitting lid, a slotted spoon, a bowl, a wooden spoon, a ladle, serving bowls
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ pound of Italian sausage
- 1 small onion (⅓ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1-14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (Do not drain)
- ½ tablespoon Italian seasonings
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 quarts of low-sodium chicken stock
- 7 ounces of dried, brown lentils
- Grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread
- Chop the onion and garlic, the smaller the better. Set aside.
- Heat the oil on medium high. Remove the sausage from the casings and cook and crumble until it is no longer pink. This should take about 7 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot with the slotted spoon. Set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and garlic to the fat in the pot. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the sausage. Allow the soup to come to a boil. Cover in a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 35 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir occasionally. Add the sausage for the last five minutes of cooking.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Give each guest a hunk of crusty bread for dipping and sopping up the last drop of soup.