Making a variety of soups during the winter is a given for me. It’s my favorite season to dig into fresh produce and have fun with various combinations of veggies, meats, spices, legumes/pulses and grains. With a busy work schedule, cold weather, and (constantly) sick kiddos, having some type of soup, stew or chili ready to toss into the slow cooker and forget about for a few hours takes the stress out of meal prep.
And whether you’re a working mom like me or you have a crazy chaotic schedule right now and want something easy to make, this Slow Cooker Kale, Lentil and Sausage Soup is for you.
Keep Your Resolutions
Did you set a New Year’s Resolution? Mine is to meal-plan. Thankfully, my slow cooker helps me get dinner on the table with minimal preparation.
I’m not sure if making this soup could be any easier. You literally just dump chopped onions, garlic, and carrots, dried lentils, canned tomatoes, broth and seasoning into the slow cooker (or Instant Pot), give it a stir, turn it on, and walk away. Add the chopped kale during the last 15 minutes of cooking, crank it up to high and cook until the kale is wilted. You can use those 15 minutes of cook time to set the table, gather the family, pour a glass of red wine, etc. And for a yummy topping, I like to grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the soup and serve it with a hearty slice of rustic bread.
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What’s Hot Now? Lentils!
Before we dig into just how easy it is to make this soup (and really, do we even need a recipe — just throw it all in and let ‘er rip!), let’s talk about one of the hottest ingredients making a resurgence in dishes across cuisines — lentils! Lentils are easy to cook, affordable, work in just about any dish, and are high in fiber and plant protein. If you don’t have any on hand, swap them out with chickpeas or white beans.
And one more nutrition note while I’m still wearing my dietitian hat, which is that one ½-cup serving of cooked lentils provides 9 grams of plant protein and 8 grams of fiber. Not only will this soup keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours. Plus, lentils are an excellent source of potassium, folate and iron—many nutrients that we are lacking. So in the words of Frozen’s Olaf, “All good thing, all good things.”
Slow Cooker Kale, Lentil and Sausage Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours (high) or 7-8 hours (low)
- 4 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz mild turkey sausage (use hot if desired)
10-oz package dried green lentils (about 1 cup dried)
32 oz container vegetable broth
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup chopped kale, stems removed
Place all ingredients except kale in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir and cover. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
When vegetables and lentils are tender, add kale and cook on HIGH for 15 more minutes or until kale is wilted. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate or freeze in an air tight container.
What’s in Your Slow Cooker?
Do you have a slow cooker recipe that you love? Right now we’re obsessed with this Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna recipe! Leave your favorite recipes in the comments below or pop over to my Facebook page to share what you’re cooking! Add all of these ingredients to your cart by shopping the new Slow Cooker Category and get all of these products delivered straight to your door with Shipt!
Holley Grainger, MS, RD is a nationally recognized culinary nutrition expert and “Mommy Dietitian in the Kitchen” who instructs families on how to make doable and delicious meals. She’s been featured in hundreds of televisions, print, and radio segments nationwide including The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctor’s, NBC’s Today Show and Weekend Today, CBS’s The Early Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, The New York Times, Travel Channel, Cosmopolitan, MyFitnessPal.com, HGTV.com, and MSN.com among others and is a regular contributor to the Birmingham, Alabama, news outlets.
Holley lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Frances, and blogs at Holley Grainger Nutrition. Connect with Holley on social media: Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.