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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.

sausage and lentil soup in two bowls with a spoon

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

A light but hearty soup for any time of year, this sausage and lentil soup is simple to prepare (just chop and drop!) and is ready in just over an hour. Freezes great too!
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 282kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 661mg | Potassium: 669mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1605IU | Vitamin C: 13.4mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 3.4mg

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