Italian Lentil Soup

by Suzanne on May 1, 2012

in Soup & Salad

I visited my parents and sisters’ family for a week in Southern Cal. without my kids (which is almost criminal) and when I come home I usually cook a few meals for the family. Mom has not been well for the last month and I came to give Dad a break and bring some cheer to mom. Mom is gluten free, like so many other people she is allergic to gluten and eating for her is not as joyous as it once used to be. She isn’t a cook, she would rather be shopping or anything but in the kitchen for hours on end. My Dad usually does the cooking and he doesn’t mind since he is a retired fireman, he had plenty of time to learn some great recipes, but he has run out of ideas of what to fix mom because she is also a bit finicky too. I set out to make something she would enjoy on one of the cooler days and this soup idea came to mind. I hoped she would like the lentils and other vegetables I put into the soup. I was surprised at how much she did like it, even Dad enjoyed the soup too, probably because he he didn’t have to cook :).

I choose lentils because they aren’t a usual food staple for my parents or my family. I was glad to introduce them to this wonderful little power pack source of protein, fiber and iron. Lentils are from the legume family and get their name from the flat shape of a lens. There are different colors of lentils red, brown and green. Lentils do not require soaking like beans do, just a good washing and pick through. Lentils have a mild flavor that resembles beans but stands on it’s own. In the soup I made, I used what my parents pantry had on hand but feel it could have used more herbs so feel free to add thyme or oregano and a bay leaf to your soup. The soup goes together quickly and from prep to eating is about 40 minutes. Make sure you garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese since it really adds to the over all flavor of the soup.

Italian Lentil Soup

1 cup dried lentils
6 cups water, broth or stock of any sort
1 6 inch uncooked Italian hot sausage link with skin removed and chopped
1/2 a large onion chopped fine
1/2 a red bell pepper chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 oz. tomato paste
1 14.5 oz. can of organic Italian stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt (if using stock or broth taste before adding salt)
1/2 tsp. garlic pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove pressed
1 medium zucchini sliced and quartered
Parmesan Cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Step 1: Rinse the lentils in cold water by putting them into a colander with small holes. Pick out any rocks or anything you find that doesn’t resemble a lentil. Get a large pot and pour the 6 cups of liquid that you plan to use in the soup and add the lentils and chopped sausage. Turn heat to medium high.
Step 2: In a saute pan saute onion, bell pepper and carrots with a tablespoon of olive oil together until crisp tender. Then add to the lentils.
Step 3: Add can of stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, garlic, garlic pepper, red pepper flakes let lentils come to a boil then simmer until lentils are tender.
Step 4: When lentils are tender add the chopped zucchini since this only takes a few minutes to soften. When the zucchini is softened to you liking serve in a shallow bowel with grated fresh Parmesan cheese on top and chopped fresh parsley.
Serves: 4-6

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1 Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) May 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

Suzanne, I hope your mom will be feeling better soon. I can see why your parents enjoyed this soup, though. It’s got everything that’s good and good for you. This is a keeper of a recipe. 🙂

2 Suzanne May 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Thanks so much Jean.

3 Nami | Just One Cookbook May 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I’m sorry to hear that your mom is not feeling well. I’m also living so far away from my parents and I’m already worrying about the future. Luckily they are okay now, but my kids will be in school and it’s going to be very hard to leave them to visit my parents oversea… It’s very nice of you to introduce new ingredients to your parents. Now your dad has one more great recipe to use for their meal. And this is flexible recipe too! Thanks for sharing it with us!

4 Suzanne May 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

I was thinking about you and your family living so far away in Japan. It does get harder the older we get, and it’s difficult not to be right there when something happens. I’m just glad I have the means to get out to see them when I want to. Thanks for the nice comment Nami.

5 Laura (Tutti Dolci) May 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I hope your Mom feels better soon, Suzanne! I love all the great veggies you incorporated in this colorful and healthy soup!

6 Suzanne May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

Thanks you Laura 🙂

7 Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers May 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Hi Suzanne. That’s so sweet of you to send your Dad on a break and take over things at their house. I hope your Mom feels better soon. She sounds so much like my Mom. She’d rather be shopping too than cook. 🙂 Lentil soups are big at home. I make them often with different versions, depending on what ingredients I have too. My kids love them and that makes me happy because lentils are full of protein. That’s one recipe your Dad can cook over and over again. It really looks delicious!

8 Suzanne May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am

Thanks Rowena for your kind words about my mom.

9 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts May 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

What a great recipe! So nice that you went to hole your parents, hope your mo is feeling better soon!

10 Suzanne May 2, 2012 at 10:07 am

thank you Erin 🙂

11 Lisa (AuthenticSuburbanGourmet) May 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Yummy – what a perfectly hearty soup and I bet is was super tasty. Hope that your Mom is feeling 100% really soon. Have a great week!

12 Suzanne May 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks Lisa, I appreciate your thoughts.

13 Choc Chip Uru May 2, 2012 at 3:13 am

There are so many yummy elements in this soup – I can imagine how delicious it would taste with a crusty roll on the side 😀

Choc Chip Uru

14 Suzanne May 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

I agree and was wishing I had some crusty Italian bread with it :).

15 Nancy/SpicieFoodie May 3, 2012 at 6:48 am

Hi Suzanne,

Sorry to hear your mom hasn’t been well. Your soup looks incredible. I’ve always loved lentils but never tried them like this. Can’t wait to try it.

16 Suzanne May 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Thank you Nancy, hope you enjoy this soup too.

17 Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything} May 3, 2012 at 10:52 am

So sorry to hear your Mom is not feeling well. I’m sure both your parents appreciated you visit and this warming soup. Lentils are so delicious and such a wonderful source of protein.

18 Suzanne May 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Thanks Roxanna hugs to you 🙂

19 Mike May 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

This is a great recipe. I don’t put meat in mine but do add some chi chi beans and some fine chopped kale or spinach. Really great!

20 Kay July 10, 2012 at 2:51 am

This looks so delicious. Soup is really popular in our family, it’s one of the only ways I can get the kids to eat a variety of veggies. With some lovley crusty bread I’m sure this would be really popular in our house. Thanks

21 Suzanne July 12, 2012 at 12:28 am

Thanks you Kay, it is a comforting soup so enjoy.

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