If you’re craving a hearty, flavorful, and nourishing soup, this Sausage Lentil Soup is for you. Packed with zucchini, carrots, celery, sweet Italian sausage, and lentils in a flavorful broth, this soup is easy to make and just perfect for cooler weather.
When the cooler weather arrives, soup is almost always on the menu!
And this hearty lentil and sausage soup is one of our favorites!
It’s brimming with flavor thanks to the sausage, veggies, and herbs, and since it’s pretty filling, it needs little else besides a simple green salad and a chunk of crusty bread.
Since this soup tastes even better the next day, it’s a great make-ahead meal for busy weeknights and the leftovers are fantastic for lunch!
Table of Contents
All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.
- Lentils. Green or brown lentils work well in this lentil and sausage soup. Be sure to sort and rinse the lentils before using as sometimes small rocks can accidentally be packaged along with lentils.
- Sausage. I used bulk Italian fennel sausage for this recipe. If you can’t find bulk sausage, simply purchase sausage links and remove the meat from their casing. If like prefer to use spicy sausage, you can use that as well!
- Zucchini. I love using zucchini in soup, like in my grandma’s Italian zucchini soup with broken spaghetti. I’ve also heard that the Italian-American restaurant chain, Carraba’s, uses zucchini in their lentil soup.
- Low-sodium chicken stock. As always, homemade chicken stock or chicken broth is preferable here, however, you can definitely use a stock made from chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon brand.
- White wine. I used a dry white wine as the flavor pairs well with the sausage and lentil soup. Any dry white like a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio will do. If you cannot have alcohol, simply omit the wine entirely.
- Parmigiano Reggiano rinds. I use rinds in almost all my soup recipes as they lend great depth of flavor! If you don’t have your own rind, you can also use grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Some grocery stores will sell Parm rinds, so if you don’t see them, ask the cheesemonger and they will likely have some for you.
See the recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Dice 1 large onion, 2 celery ribs, 1 medium zucchini, and 2 medium carrots. Chop 1/4 cup of packed basil leaves and mince 1/2 cup flat leaft parsley and 6 cloves of garlic and set aside. Heat a large heavy pot to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add 1 pound of mild Italian bulk sausage. Cook the sausage until browned while using a spoon or meat masher to break it up into small pieces. Once brown, remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, place on a plate, and set aside (Photo #1).
- Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the same pot along with the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally (Photo #2).
- Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, or until fragrant (Photo #3)
- Add 1 cup of dry white wine to the pot and turn the heat to high. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge the brown bits (Photo #4).
- Once the wine reduces by half (about 2-3 minutes), add the cooked sausage along with 6 cups of low-sodium chicken stock or broth, 2 cups of water, 14 ounces of canned hand-crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of brown or green lentils, and 1 Parmigiano Reggiano rind and bring the soup to a boil (Photo #5).
- Once boiling, lower the heat and cook over a simmer for about 45-50 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. If the soup is too thick, add a touch of water to loosen it up. Once the lentils are tender, remove from the heat and taste test. Adjust salt and pepper as needed, then add the parsley and basil and stir (Photo #6). Serve the sausage and lentil soup in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated cheese on the side. Enjoy!
- Serving. Similar to my Italian lentil soup, I like to serve this sausage and lentil soup with a few topping options. My family’s favorite toppings include red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and Greek yogurt. Calabrian chili oil would be great here as well.
- Add-ins and substitutions. Lentil and sausage soup has great versatility and you really can add whatever you’d like here. If you don’t like zucchini, you can omit; if you love spinach or kale, you can add it. It may be my recipe, but you’re the one eating it, so enhance it to suit your tastes!
- Make ahead. As with all soups, this one will taste even better the next day! Enjoy it as a leftover lunch or dinner, or simply make it the day before you plan to eat it.
- Check your lentils. I mention it above in the ingredient info, but I’ll say it again here. Inspect the lentils for any pebbles or debris and discard anything that’s not a lentil.
- Save your Parmigiano Reggiano rinds. Anytime you’re about to use the last bit of cheese, instead of throwing away the rind, wrap it in plastic and save in the fridge or freezer for a rainy day. These rinds can be added to dishes like minestrone or pasta e ceci for additional flavor.
More hearty soup recipes
If you’re a fan of soups that can double as a full meal, here are a few of our most popular.
If you’ve enjoyed this Sausage and Lentil Soup or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.
Sausage and Lentil Soup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 medium zucchini diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 14 ounces canned plum tomatoes hand crushed
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils see notes below
- 1 rind Parmigiano Reggiano optional, see notes below
- 1/2 cup flat leaf Italian parsley minced
- 1/4 packed cup basil leaves chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large heavy pot to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add the sausage. Cook the sausage until browned while breaking it up into small pieces. Once brown remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and add in the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook until soft while stirring every so often (about 7 minutes).
- Next, add in the diced zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
- Add the wine to the pot and turn the heat to high. With a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge the stuck browned bits. Once the wine reduces by half (about 2-3 minutes) add in the cook sausage, chicken stock, water, plum tomatoes, lentils, and the Parmigiano rind. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat and cook over a simmer until the lentils are soft (about 45-50 minutes). If the soup is too thick, add a bit of water to loosen it up.
- After the lentils are cooked through and tender, turn off the heat and taste test, adjusting salt and pepper as required. Add in the parsley and basil and stir.
- Serve in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and with grated cheese on the side. Also, serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!
- Makes 8 moderate or 6 large servings.
- Brown and green lentils can both be used. Brown cook a bit quicker and have a milder taste than green lentils which tend to be a bit peppery.
- We always recommend saving Parmigiano Rinds! They are excellent for soups like this, but if you don’t have one just serve with grated cheese.
- A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and/or a splash of red wine vinegar is an excellent addition to each bowl.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave. Lentil soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.