Here's a soup I've returned to time and again each winter. It's simple, hearty, full of greens and vegetables, and takes minimal effort to throw together. Yet another hit from Smitten Kitchen, but Deb Perlman knows how to do cozy, simple, and satisfying like no other. This soup cooks quick, reheats beautifully, and even freezes well. If you go over to her recipe, you'll see she's even updated for those of you out there with an instapot. Here I swap swiss chard for kale, but it's because that's my green of choice and it's almost always on hand in my house.
It all begins with a simple sautee of carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
Then you add a can of tomatoes, which conveniently doubles as a measuring cup for the water required. Don't forget to season at every stage of cooking, from frying the garlic to removing the bay leaf.
I like to cook my sausage seperately and add it in at the end. This could be a good hack if you're not a meat eater or have someone in your life who's not into that addition to the soup.
And just like that! Minimal fussing, hearty, warming, and good for you! Nothing not to love here.
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 large links (about 8 ounces) of sweet Italian sausage [see Note]
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
- Kosher salt
- A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups water
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish
- Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to generously coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes.
- Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is, conveniently, a little less than 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)
- When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.