Sausage and lentil soup (Carrabba’s Copycat)
Sausage and lentil soup is a the perfect blend of vegetables, Italian sausage and tender lentils that will leave you with a smile when you take a taste. Coming in at a close second to the Carrabba’s original (or it may even be better!), this version can be on your table in around an hour and makes enough to feed your family for a whole week.
Living on a diet is reality for a lot of us. I know my food looks like I roll in a tub of butter every day but in this house, moderation is very, very key. We work hard and we love good food but we can’t eat Italian cream cakes and baked macaroni and cheese every day even though we’d love to.
That’s why most of the time we’re doing what you’re doing–just trying to make it all work and not feel too deprived about eating on the lighter side.
And this sausage and lentil soup is one way we do that. I’m using regular full fat Italian sausage in this recipe (and a lot of it) but you can certainly use a turkey Italian sausage here if you’d like.
But since the bulk of the recipe is vegetables and lower fat ingredients, I think the regular is fine. A little fat makes for more flavor and this recipe feeds about 12 people so unless you plan on eating this every day for two weeks you won’t take in all the fat anyway.
My husband discovered this sausage and lentil soup a long time ago on a trip to Carrabba’s for dinner. A nice alternative to what might be the richest pasta I’ve ever eaten (theirs must have about 2,000 egg yolks in it), you can have a bowl of this soup at the restaurant and still be able to walk away from the table with your pants fully buttoned.
It’s always nice to get out without trying to hide your drawers ’cause you ate too much.
Tips for the best sausage and lentil soup
- Find lentils in the dried bean area of your grocery store. They’re a member of the bean family and cook really quickly and easily. They come in different colors, but in this case I just used what I’d call the “regular” brown ones. Not the orange or green ones.
- Use a good chicken stock in this dish. I LOVE Better than Bouillon chicken base for all of my soup making. No boxed stuff–it’s just too doggone wimpy in my opinion. And yes of course you can use your homemade.
- Chop your vegetables all about the same size so they cook evenly and don’t be afraid to salt the soup! I’m convinced that salt was what brought this one to life.
- There’s no need to drain your sausage before adding the rest of the ingredients unless it’s totally swimming in fat. You need some fat to add richness to the soup.
- Feel free to freeze any leftovers by cooling the soup to room temp, then bagging it up in an air tight container of your choice. You can thaw it in the fridge before use or just drop it frozen in a pot, add a little water and bring it back to temperature that way.
- I bought my Italian sausage in links. You’ll want to take it out of the casings if yours is in links too. Just slice it down the middle and peel off the outside.
Sausage and lentil soup
- 1 pound Italian sausage turkey sausage also works
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2/3 cup chopped celery
- 3/4 cup sliced carrots about the same size as the celery
- 1 small chopped zucchini
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes with the juice
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- parmesan cheese optional
- Heat a 5 quart or larger stock pot or cast iron dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Remove any casings from your sausage if they are in links and add to the pan. Cook, breaking up the meat until no pink remains. About 7 minutes. Do not drain the fat.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour or until the lentils soften. Serve warm with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Do I need to soak the lentils overnight before adding them to the recipe?
No Timothy you don’t. –Rachel
So after having a bowl of the Carrabba’s Sausage Lentil Soup for the first time last night at Carrabba’s i had to have the recipe, it was SOOOOOO delicious! But now that I have found it here I’m hesitant to try to make it myself because it doesn’t even look like the same soup. Mine was missing All of the vegetables! I only had Lentils and the broth and the delicious flavor(spicy)of sausage! I took a picture! It really was delicious tho!
Yeah I don’t know why the soup at the restaurant sometimes looks vegetable-less. I suspicion they have cooked down a lot and blended in with the soup. –Rachel
I think the restaurant may put it in the food processor to blend it. I use spicy chicken sausage. So delicious! I use fresh basil thyme red pepper flakes parsley and oregano.
I love to cook healthy food which is necessary for a rare genetic liver disease I battle. It’s important I maintain a low simple carbohydrate, low fat, low sodium, and zero sugar. There for I have to be extremely careful about everything I eat. I’ve said goodbye to all white flour, bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, white rice, even white potatoes. Likewise red or fatty meats, butter and other dairy fats, sodium, process foods, juices, and sugars. But yes to all grains, beans, low fat meats, chicken, fish, especially fatty fish high in omega oils, fresh fruits and veggies, and again some of these are better than others. And FRESH is always better.
Lentils are a wonderful legume high in protein and and potassium. This soup is full of carbs from the lentil and a mountain of fresh veggies. I used my own homemade Italian sausage (another easy to make item that doesn’t require a ton of fat or salt.) I added some necessary fat since my sausage is so low in it, I added 2 Tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Then, instead of adding too much salt, I enticed the flavor with about 2 Tbsp of a good Dry Red Wine. What a wonderful balance. The recipe she gives you is a perfect one for nutrition, flavor, and keeping those taste buds happy and your tummy full with out a lot of bad additives. And if you are looking for a little extra help, less stress on your liver, and just better all around, check into ways to eat a healthy liver diet Non-Alcoholic Fattly Liver Disease has become an epidemic not just for adults but in children too. We aren’t always steered to look at the truth by our medical doctors when it comes to our livers, having elevated liver enzymes, or a little fatty liver and just what that means. And while I have used pork, it can be from chicken just as easily. This is a wonderful recipe for healthy living.
Thank you for your thorough response Jerri!
I just made your soup. Super yummy. I am going to serve it with Romano cheese. I used chicken Italian sausage. Great Mediterranean flavor. Thank you for this recipe. Can’t wait to eat it tonight.
Wonderful Natalia! We love it too. –Rachel
I just got the recipe I can’t wait to make it my son and I love it at the Restaurant!!!
Thank you for this recipe, i was scratching my head after lopking at a bunch of them. Followed the recipe exactly the way it is and only added 2 bay leafs. I read somewhere from a carrabbas employee that it has bayleaf in it. Also I took 6 laddle full of the soup and used my immersion mixer in a separate bowl and after put it back in the main pot to give it a little thicker consistency.
We made this copycat soup and were liberal with the veggies and sausage. OMG…so good. This soup eats like a meal…spice it up with some crushed red peppers! Yum!!
It does eat like a meal doesn’t it Gail? We LOVE heat in ours so I always use hot Italian sausage but a little extra kick would be very welcome for us as well. I’m so glad you liked it. It freezes great too so feel free to make a big batch. –Rachel
I would like to try this but a bit confused on your instructions . I’m assuming that I’m supposed to brown the sausage in a separate pan and add that to the boiling broth along with the vegetables. Right ?
No ma’am. The instructions say to brown the sausage and add the vegetables and remaining ingredients to the pot. Easy! If I ever need you to use a separate skillet I’ll let ya know. Just toss it all in one pot. –Rachel
My husband, who hardly EVER eats soup, loves this soup at Carrabbas. So I made this and he declared it DELICIOUS and pretty much exactly as he remembers it from the restaurant. I added a couple dashes of cayenne, and a few red pepper flakes to the meat as I browned it to add some more heat – my husband likes his food spicy! Thanks for this awesome recipe – it’s very warming during this polar vortex!
My husband is a hound for the restaurant version of this too–and I agree–this version is just as good! Try hot Italian sausage as well. We really enjoy that in ours and often add red pepper flakes too. 🙂 So glad you enjoy it! –Rachel
I can’t find if your serving size is 8 oz or 12?
Being diabetic I am allowed 45 carbs a meal!
I understand totally Anita. I’ll try to do a better job of giving a serving size moving forward. I’d say closer to 8 ounces–this recipe makes a LOT of soup! –Rachel