Lentil and Sausage Stew

 This time of year, decadence reigns. Buttery, cheesy, rich – these are flavors welcomed in December. Chocolate-dipped, whipped cream-topped, caramel-filled? It’s the holidays; why not? And of course, only the prettiest and most elegant will do – perfectly shaped cookies and pretty cakes adorn most food blogs right now. Not that I’m pointing fingers; after all, I posted the most decadent hot chocolate ever just a few days ago, and I have plans to start baking cookies very soon – after I can stop drooling over others’ holiday recipes and narrow down my own “to do” baking list!

But there are many days in December that aren’t holidays. Many of the days in December we are rushing about and stressed, struggling to balance the preparation for celebrations in addition to our daily duties. Those days call for easy meals that still warm the soul and nourish our bodies. Those meals don’t have to be decadent (in fact, it’s best for our health if they aren’t!), and they don’t have to be fancy. Sometimes, simple and rustic is best. A lentil and sausage stew can be perfect for such a day.

I haven’t found many lentil recipes that I’ve truly been in love with. Yes, they’re healthy, full of fiber, a good source of protein; but most of the times, I’ve been on the fence about lentils. Apparently, I just haven’t looked hard enough. This stew changed my mind about lentils – the flavor is so big and bold in this stew that I couldn’t help but enjoy a rather large bowl. The jalapeno sausage brought just a hint of heat to the broth, but the vegetables and parsley truly brightened the flavors, and the smoked paprika added an additional depth. This was a stew I could make again and again. Which reminds me, I still have some left over. Lunch tomorrow? I think so!

Lentil and Sausage Stew, adapted from Good Life Eats

1 T vegetable oil

12 oz jalapeno smoked sausage, diced

½ large yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ t fresh thyme, chopped

2 T sherry

3 c chicken or vegetable broth

2 c water

2 c dried lentils

1 t salt

½ t black pepper

1 t cumin

½ t smoked paprika

1 bay leaf

2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice

1 c spinach leaves, packed

¼ c fresh parsley, chopped

In a large pot, add oil and bring to medium heat. Add smoked sausage and brown, 4-5 minutes. Remove, leaving as much of the oil in the pot as possible. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until tender, 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté another minute. Add sherry and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Then add broth, water, lentils, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Add sausage and carrots and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer partially covered for 30-45 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are tender. Stir in spinach and parsley and serve.


  1. says

    wow this is gorgeous! you really got a great picture of this and its mouth watering! I have made this before but it doesnt look this good this looks fabulous! I love lentils…my fav is lentils and rice…just love it as a side dish.

  2. lvegas says

    Love this! Your using my current favorite ingredient-sherry. I find myself adding to many of my recipes these days. It’s surprising how just a small amount really lends a subtle sophistication to simple ingredients like lentils.

  3. says

    Lentil, jalapeno sausage, and smoked paprika – you’re talking my language. You’re absolutely right that we need to have some healthy, hearty options for those times we’re not indulging in holiday treats.

  4. says

    That looks delicious. You post such healthy recipes and make them look so good. My family does not like lentils, but I server them in stews once in a while anyway. This will be a good one to try.

  5. Shirley@gfe says

    Wow, that photo is spectacular! I could reach through the screen and take a spoonful. Great post, Alta. I haven’t ever made lentil soup although I’ve enjoyed some that others have made. I made soup today, too … a chicken vegetable with a creamy tomato base. But, I got in some of the buttery, cheesy factor as well with some garlic cheese biscuits. ;-)


  6. says

    What a delicious and hearty stew! All of the dishes I’ve eaten with lentils have been so bland. But this is definitely not! Spicy and loaded with flavor. So warming and comforting.

  7. says

    I agree! So much to get done in December that sometimes all I want is a quick hearty bowl of soup to warm up my body and mind! I have been in love with lentils, and love your ideas for seasoning it well (for example – never tried Sherry before – must try that next time)!

  8. dave fleming says

    The recipe came out perfect for me with these instructions! Great Job, Thanks! It’s just as good with sweet Italian pork sausage. Yum.

  9. Rebecca says

    Absolutely LOVED this! Already a big fan of lentils but have been looking for something more than a lentils-water-onion recipe. The only sub I made was at the request of my daughter, I subbed out the sausage ): and used coin slices of smoked sausage. I also used my handy-dandy immersion blender to thicken it a bit. Great recipe! Thank you!

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