Hot Italian sausage and fresh spinach give this soup its distinctive flavor and appeal. Add a tossed salad and Crusty French Bread to complete this hearty meal!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
5 cups fat-free chicken broth
2 cups stewed tomatoes, chopped with juices
1/3 pound hot Italian sausage, browned and well-drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon each: dried thyme, basil, fennel seeds (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fat-free half & half
1) In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
2) Add lentils, chicken broth, tomatoes, sausage, and all seasonings including salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
3) During last 5 minutes of cooking, add spinach and half & half, stir well, and continue to cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. (If soup is too thick, add additional chicken broth or half & half.) Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional Analysis per serving: 283 Calories; 29 percent fat (9 grams); 2.3 grams saturated fat; 27 percent protein; 44 percent carbohydrate; 6.4 grams fiber.