This post has been updated October 1, 2016 as part of the Whole Foods Market 5 Affordable Weeknight Dinners Campaign. My family was able to enjoy this recipe again in a whole new way with ingredients from my recent Whole Foods Market trip.
This Curried Lentil Sausage Soup has been a long standing family favorite, so it was a no-brainer to include it in my lineup of weekly meals for Whole Foods One Bag, Five Dinners challenge. Thanks to Whole Foods’ handy bulk bins, I was able to quickly buy several ingredients for this soup with less packaging, less waste – and a significant cost savings. Additionally, the prepackaged sausage (such a lifesaver in this recipe!) meets Whole Foods Market standards for no antibiotics and no added growth hormones, just like all the meat they offer at their store. Awesome!
The great debate in my soul the last few weeks is whether or not I would post this soup recipe.
On a scale of 1-10, it’s probably like a 13.8 in deliciousness. On that same scale, though, it doesn’t rank quite as high in beauty. I’m not shallow enough to believe that all great tasting food has to look amazing (just glance through some of the archives of pictures/recipes I posted 8 years ago to see proof of that)…but…green soup has it’s limitations.
I was finally swayed after hearing Brian ask me for the bazillionth time if I was going to post that “green lentil soup stuff” that has apparently become the only soup he wants to eat for the rest of forever. For a guy who will eat anything I make (unless it has cabbage, capers or horseradish), he has been unexpectedly poetic about this soup.
Several remakes later (and after my Aunt Marilyn also made it a few times and raved), I figured you and I are good enough friends, I can post green soup and not land our relationship on the rocks.
This soup really is wonderful. Really, really wonderful. The flavors speak to me. I love curry; combining its lovely characteristics into soup with lentils and beans and chicken sausage and a hint of vegetables should probably be categorized as its own love language.
Brian really isn’t being dramatic. This soup is as good as he says and couldn’t be easier. Sauté, simmer, stir. Loaded with healthful, hearty ingredients, there’s so very much to be happy about – and please, for all that is wonderful and good in the world, don’t skip the suggested garnish of almonds (assuming you aren’t allergic, of course). The crunchy texture and delightful roasty-toasty flavor takes this soup completely over the top. Trust me on this one. I’ll forgive you if you omit the cilantro (for all you cilantro haters) but not the almonds, please not the almonds. (If you are allergic, try subbing another crunch-factor like toasted sunflower seeds or toasted pumpkin seeds.)
I feel like I'm a bit redundant about curry powder but I'll just say it again: my favorite curry powder is the Sweet Curry Powder from Penzey's spices. You can use any type of curry powder here (yellow, red, hot) just make sure you like the flavor as it will come through in the soup.
Also, you can play around with the type of sausage used. If using an uncooked, crumbled variety, brown it first (before the vegetables) and remove to a plate before proceeding with the recipe (and then stir it in at the end with the beans).
The color of the finished soup will largely depend on what kind/color of curry powder and lentils you use. I used a blend I found with red, black, yellow and green lentils. Also, scale back on the broth if you want an ultra-thick soup; conversely, add a few more cups if you want it to go a bit further and don't mind a thinner consistency. Keep in mind it will thicken a bit off the heat (after 10 or so minutes).
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1-2 large carrots, peeled and small diced
- 1-2 stalks celery, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (see note above)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 can white beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 pound precooked chicken sausage, diced (see note above)
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- In a 4- or 5-quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, curry powder, salt and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften, stirring often.
- Add the broth and lentils. Bring to a low simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender (but not mushy).
- Stir in the sausage and beans and heat through. Stir in the heavy cream, if using. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. The soup will thicken slightly upon standing.
- Serve warm with slivered almonds and cilantro.
Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe sent to me by Tamara B. (thank you!)