Tuscan Lentil Soup
Don’t be turned off by a seemingly long list of ingredients. Much of the prep can be done in advance—I often chop the veggies earlier in the day and store them in the fridge in leftover produce bags or airtight containers. The recipe also makes a big batch, so there’s plenty for another night or lunches throughout the week--or freeze a container if you prefer.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • Olive oil for pot
  • 1/2 pound Italian pork or turkey sausage (removed from casings)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (could use a mix of dried oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (could use Italian seasoned)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large potato (8-10 ounces), chopped (may substitute sweet potato or use a combination; no need to peel)
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped kale (tough ribs removed; may substitute greens of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few good turns of the pepper mill
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • For serving: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Add just enough oil to a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot to lightly coat (about 2-3 teaspoons), and place over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, crumbling as you go.
  2. Add the onion to the sausage and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to soften. Stir in the carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Sauté for a minute or until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add the tomatoes with their juices and cook for another minute or two. Then stir in the chicken broth, lentils, and potato.
  3. Increase the heat in order to bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for approximately 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Stir every 10-15 minutes or so.
  4. Stir in the chopped greens, salt and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 3-4 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking.
  5. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Notes
  • Nutritional information based on 8 servings: 14.9 grams protein, 9.4 grams fiber, 8.4 grams total fat, 240 calories, 681 mg potassium, 111% Vitamin A, 58% Vitamin C, 17% Iron, also high in thiamin
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