Lentil White Bean Soup

LentilBeanSoup (4)

It might have warmed up outside (a bit) but my apartment is still cold as ever, a drastic change from our last place. We used to live across the hall in the same building in a one bedroom apartment. I mean, literally right across the hall. Open our door and our old apartment is right there. We’re now in a two bedroom because we decided we needed more space. Really I was tired of being forced to read in the bedroom, where I would usually fall asleep, or combat the sounds of Doctor Who in the living room.

The two places might have been right across from each other but they’re drastically different. Before we were in the back of the building, but now we’re on the main avenue so it’s a bit noisier. The radiators in our old place where loud (think bowling balls being thrown on the pipes) and way too warm. Our apartment would run a toasty 80°+, with windows open, and generally shorts and t shirts where the winter attire. I guess I should also clarify that our apartment, along with most NYC complexes have forced hot air systems. On the plus side we don’t have to pay for heat but on the negative, we can’t control it either. We moved into this apartment last November and the temperature seemed to be pretty comfortable. What we didn’t account for was living here after a full summer, with window air conditioners that stay in the windows year round. So now, it gets a bit drafty. We’re working on some sort of temporary insulation plan or those thermo curtains, but for now, the solution is lots and lots of soup.

Considering how much I love Smitten Kitchen‘s recipes, I’m obviously a follower on twitter and fan of her facebook page. When I saw her recipe for lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic, I was so excited! I generally prefer cream to broth soups, but with the intent of eating healthy, I’ve expanded my palate. For a blog that I admire so much, I didn’t really want to mess with the recipe, just make it as is and enjoy. I was even going to measure things properly! I usually get a bit lazy. I was so ready–chopping my carrots and celery–until I looked over at my mason jars and saw my lentil supply was a little low. Hmm, I needed one cup and I had about a half. I wasn’t about to go out and get some extra lentils, so I was stuck. I probably could have halved the recipe or made it with a little less lentil, but no, that’s not my style. Since I had to go off the recipe, I figured I might as well make a few additional edits as well…

I opened my refrigerator and pantry to see what I had. Turkey sausage instead of pork. Kale instead of chard. No broth for the recipe?! Sure with all the ingredients mixed together, water probably does make a pretty good base. But I bet broth would make it better. Finally a filler. Since I cut the lentils in half, I needed something else to give it some body. I wasn’t really feeling potatoes (more that I had no interest in peeling and chopping the potatoes) so I went with some beans. Normally I would have used white beans, but pinto was what I had so that went in the pot too.

I think the should embodied the spirit of Smitten Kitchen’s soup, just with some extras here and there. What I do really like about the recipe is it’s not one that takes all day. With canned beans and lentils that cook pretty fast, this is an easy after work soup. And it’s easy to turn it veggie friendly by omitting the sausage. Frankly, I would probably skip the sausage next time anyway. I didn’t feel it added a whole lot to the soup and an extra scoop of lentils or beans might make it even better.

Lentil White Bean Soup (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen) Serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 links of turkey sausage, casings removed (about 8oz)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 c brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can beans, drained (pinto or white)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, shredded or thinly ribboned

In 3 1/2 quart dutch oven, heat the olive oil over 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, garlic, 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.

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Add the lentils, beans, bay leaves, tomatoes, broth and more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

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When the lentils are cooked, add the kale and cook for a few minutes until leaves are tender and bright green. Discard the bay leaves and serve immediately.

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6 comments on “Lentil White Bean Soup

  1. This is pretty similar to the lentil soup I make. I wrote about it on my old blog: http://culinaryventures-mb.blogspot.com/2011/12/heres-to-winging-it.html
    I’m surprised you don’t like the sausage in the soup all that much. I think that’s one of our favorite parts. I usually use a whole package actually, of the hot italian style fresh turkey sausage. I feel that the additional spices the sausage contains really compliments the flavors.

    • I think it’s just the flavor of Italian turkey sausage I’m not a fan of. If I’m going to use sausage, I’d rather stick to the real stuff. But with the exception of black bean chorizo soup (oooh! gotta make that soon!) I tend to lean towards vegetarian soups, so that might be the reasoning too.

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  4. Kay says:

    Your post of this recipe is the reason why I LOVE the internet!! I have been intimidated to cook soup and have put it off until now. My fitness coach has made soup a part of my diet so I had no choice but to search for a recipe. This is a winner and warms the soul 🙂 I know I sound like a geek but I am not the best cook and this turned out far better than expected. THANK YOU 🙂

  5. Yolanda says:

    I have been making soups for a long time. I say this is one of the best recipes in a long time. I substituted with garbanzo beans , a can of spicy rotel tomatoes and spinach . Excellent!

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