This hearty Sausage Lentil Soup hits the spot on a chilly night! It’s packed full of flavor, filling, and healthy! Made with lentils du puy, or French green lentils, you’re in for a treat!

A bowl of this Lentil Vegetable Soup is high in protein and fiber, so besides being delicious, it’s good for you.

White bowl filled with lentil soup and a red handled spoon with oyster crackers

What Makes this the Best Lentil Soup?

  • There’s a delicious depth of flavor from the layering of ingredients.
  • First, there are the mild Italian sausages, then the aromatics (the onions, garlic and leeks), followed by seasonings, plus my secret ingredient: A Parmesan cheese rind!
  • And as a bonus, it’s both healthy and delicious!

I won no popularity contests with this Sausage, Lentil, and Vegetable Chowder. Nick was a good sport and had a bowl, along with the split pea and ham soup I made for his father. The latter won out, but he did inquire what alternatives there were when they both showed up on the menu the next night, too.

I, though, was in heaven. This hearty, veggie-packed soup was perfect for the record cold streak we had in early January, where the high was often -10º. I won’t even mention the wind chills. I ate this for lunch and dinner for numerous days in a row, and never tired of its deliciousness.

two bowls of lentil vegetable soup

How to Make Lentil Vegetable Soup

One year, I ate two tasty lentil soups at holiday gatherings. I took elements of both and came up with this stellar version. You can easily make this recipe vegetarian or vegan, just omit the sausage and use vegetable broth.

  1. Soak the lentils in boiling water to hasten the cooking process.
  2. While lentils are soaking, saute Italian sausage slices, remove them, and saute the aromatics, then the vegetables.
  3. Cook until tender, then add tomatoes and drained lentils.
  4. Add chicken broth, seasonings, Parmesan rind, and reserved sausage and simmer for about an hour or until lentils are cooked through.
  5. Serve hot!
Overhead view of sausage lentil soup in a white bowl garnished with fresh thyme

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Lentils?

Lentils are a dried seed that’s categorized as a pulse, along with beans and peas. Popular in Europe and the Middle East, they’re often used as a meat substitute.
There are a number of kinds of lentils including:
Lentils du Puy – French lentils are grown in a certain region of France. They hold up well when cooked.
Green or European Lentils – Mild flavor and also stay firm.
Red Lentils – Slightly sweeter and break down when cooked.
Brown Lentils – Most common lentils. They hold their shape well.
Beluga Lentils – Soft with a robust flavor, they keep their shape and look like caviar when cooked.

Do You Have to Soak Lentils?

Most lentils will cook in 20-30 minutes so it’s not necessary to soak them. But it will speed up cooking time, so go ahead if you want to hurry things along.

What Kind of Lentils is Best for Soups?

It depends on what kind of texture you’re looking for and how much time you have. Red lentils will get very soft and cook quickly. Green and brown lentils will take longer to cook and will give your soup more texture.

What Should You Serve with Lentil Soup?

A nice crusty bread or breadsticks are terrific to soak up any soup left in the bowl or to dip as you’re eating. Crackers are a must with soup at our house. A green salad is always a nice contrast to the hot, flavorful lentil soup.

How Should You Store Lentil Soup?

It should be good for 4-5 days if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It also can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Why Do You Add a Parmesan Rind to Soup?

This is a tip I picked up from Ina Garten. If you have the rind left after using up a chunk of Parmesan cheese, save it in a zip-top bag in your freezer. It can be added to soups, stews, and pasta sauces as they cook.

The rind contains salt, fat, acid, and even that elusive 5th sense of taste, umami. As the soup cooks, the rind softens and infuses the liquid with all those components. Primarily, it will add a salty flavor and thicken the soup.

More Tasty Soup Recipes:

White bowl filled with the best lentil soup, topped with fresh thyme and served with a red handled spoon

Sausage Lentil Soup

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield 8 servings

A hearty lentil soup that's both healthy and delicious

Ingredients

  • 1 pound French green lentils
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links, sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and white parts chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 14 1/2 ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt (may need to adjust depending on saltiness of chicken broth)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • Piece of Parmesan rind, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cover lentils with boiling water and let rest for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. While lentils are soaking, saute Italian sausage slices in 2 tablespoons olive oil till browned. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the olive oil and saute onions till translucent, then add leeks and garlic and saute a few minutes before adding carrots, celery and bell pepper.
  4. Cook about 10 minutes, then add tomatoes and drained lentils.
  5. Add chicken broth, seasonings, Parmesan rind (if using) and reserved sausage and simmer for about an hour or till lentils are cooked through.
  6. Serve with grated Parmesan if desired

Notes

Other lentils may be used, but I prefer lentils du puy.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 1885mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 20g

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Sausage, Lentil and Vegetable Chowder in a white soup bowl

Lentil Soup photo circa 2014.