There is a crispness in the air that makes me want to make soup again. It’s been a looong summer for a soup-lover like myself!
It should come as no surprise that lentils are a staple for the budget cook. One bag of dried lentils – good for many, many meals – costs less than $2. The trick is coming up with creative and healthy ways to prepare them. Besides soup – like this lentil-sausage soup I made the other day - there are lentil salads, lentil burgers, lentil fritters, lentils and rice, and other vegetarian recipes.
For this recipe, I used one Jalapeño Chicken Sausage link from a bag of four from Trader Joe’s. I use these pre-cooked sausage links for all sorts of things, from soups to hot dishes to pizza. One package costs about $4 – but since I only used one, the meat component in this recipe only cost $1.
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Lentil Sausage Soup Recipe
Yield: 4 cups or 2 bowls of soup
Use brown lentils or French lentils for this recipe. Red lentils tend to get really soft and fall apart in soups.
Don't season the soup until the end. Adding salt to the lentils while they are cooking can make them tough.
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups water
2/3 cup brown or French lentils
2 cups of water plus 1 chicken boullion cube, or 1 can of chicken broth plus 1 cup of water
Juice from one lemon
1 tomato, chopped
1 pre-cooked chicken sausage link, chopped into small pieces
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Salt, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and carrots in olive oil for about three minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so. Add two cups of water and lentils. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add a bit more water if the pan goes dry before lentils are fully cooked.
Add additional water and boullion cubes (or chicken broth). Add sausage, lemon juice, tomato, and spices. Simmer for five minutes or longer, until ready to serve. Top with chopped scallions and tomatoes, if desired.