I know, I know. New York. I'm getting to it. There's just so much to say and so little time to organize my thoughts. So until I have an opportunity to do that, I'm giving you another healthy helping of our post-vacation diet recipes.
Given the fact that they're high in protein, full of fiber, and loaded with folate and Vitamin B1, lentils are an obvious super food. And given that, they logically shouldn't taste good. But lentils defy all sense of logic when good-for-you collides with tastes-good-too. It's not very often that those two things come together in perfect harmony.
Bill and I first discovered our love of lentils with a super yummy soup from Carraba's. The rest of their menu is of the take-it-or-leave-it variety, but their lentil and sausage soup is to die for. It's a little bit sweet from the sausage and a little bit spicy from the ... well, spices. It's hearty and warm and satisfying and everything that a perfect soup should be. Unfortunately, Carraba's doesn't provide nutritional information on their website, so I haven't been able to confirm that their lentil soup is as healthy as it has the potential to be. But I knew I could create my own healthy version at home ... I just didn't know what a close match it would be in deliciousness! What I made tonight was almost exactly what I know and love from the restuarant ... but with the added bonus of likely being much lighter :)
Lentil and Sausage Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup lentils
1 cup celery, chopped (about 2 stalks)
1 cup carrots, chopped (about 2 large)
1/2 cup onion, chopped (about 1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 Italian sausages (I used chicken), casings removed
Combine chicken broth, water, lentils, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, and cayenne in a large pot. Add a hearty dash of both salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are mostly tender. Stir in tomato paste, cover pot, and allow to simmer another 10 to 15 minutes until lentils and vegetables are completely tender.
While soup is simmering, cook sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. When sausage is brown, stir into soup. Heat through. Serve.