What is easy, hearty, delicious, healthy and perfect for a cold winter night? Crockpot Italian Sausage & Lentil Soup!
Fire up the crockpot, and make one batch on Sunday and have a wonderful lunch and dinner for days! This is a classic, simple version of an Italian comfort food. Nothing fancy. Add some shaved Parmesan cheese, a crusty baguette and a nice glass of Chianti. Include binge-watching episodes of Montalbano and this Sicilian girl is in heaven on a Winter’s night.
Making the Italian Sausage & Lentil soup is easy. Remove the casings from the Italian sausage, chop, and brown in a skillet on the stove along with onions and garlic. This extra step of caramelization gives an extra layer of flavor that is important.
Throw the sausage, aromatics, lentils, carrots, celery, fennel seeds, bay leaf and rosemary in the crockpot. Adjust the spiciness to your personal preference. I like the extra kick of red pepper flakes.
Add the liquids of chicken stock and canned diced tomatoes. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low 8-10 hours. Stir occasionally.
My tip for really enjoying this soup is to keep bake-at-home baguettes in the freezer. While the soup is heating, throw a frozen baguette in the oven for 8 minutes for an easy and warm crusty bread. Served with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and ENJOY! Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in portion size freezer bags. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock when reheating to thin out the soup.
- 1 pound (4-5 links) mild Italian sausage
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks with leaves, diced
- 16 ounces (2 cups) cups green lentils
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
Slice each sausage link lengthwise, remove the casing and cut into ½ inch, bite-size pieces.
Heat a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sear the outside until starting to brown and caramelize. The inside will still be pink but that is acceptable since the sausage will continue cooking in the crockpot. Transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside. If needed, chop any large pieces into smaller bite-size pieces.
Add the olive oil and onion to the hot skillet. Cook the onion over medium-high heat until turning transparent. Add the garlic, red and black pepper, and continue cooking for one more minute or until the garlic is fragrant.
Transfer the sausage and onion & garlic mixture to the crockpot. Add salt, lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, bay leaf, fennel seeds, and rosemary. Cover and turn crockpot to high for 4 to 6 hours, or 8-10 hours on low. Add more chicken stock if the soup gets too thick. Stir occasionally.
Serve soup with crusty bread and shaved parmesan cheese.