Ready for Spring and an Italian Soup Recipe

Our Little House covered in 12+ inches of snow

It’s been a long winter.

Not a long, cold winter, but just a long winter.

I’m not complaining about the lack of cold, snowy and icy
weather, but I think a warm gorgeous winter can seem like a long one.

Why, you ask?

While I don’t have cabin fever, I certainly have spring fever. I want to not just get outside and enjoy the weather as we have been so many days, I want to plant veggies and see leaves on the trees again!

All in good time, the official start of spring is only a month away.

We’ve had some days that make good soup days, so I will share with you my adapted recipe from Rachel Ray for her Italian style lentil soup.

She uses kale and few potatoes, while we use baby spinach and more potatoes.

It took me a few tries to perfect, but I finally got it yummy. Dale even says it’s better than the ones we’ve tried dining out:

Lentil Soup with
Spinach and Italian Sausage

2 tbsp. EVOO

½ – 1 # of ground Italian sausage

4 cloves of garlic (pressed or finely minced)

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp. McCormick Italian seasoning

1 large onion, finely chopped

5 medium potatoes, diced

2 tbsp. tomato paste

4 cups of baby spinach

½ cup red cooking wine

1 large box of chicken or beef stock

1 ¼ cup of lentils

Shredded Italian cheese

Heat the EVOO in soup or stock pot over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Stir in the onion, garlic and tomato paste, cooking for a couple of minutes. Stir in the wine to deglaze the pot. Add the stock, potatoes, lentils, baby spinach, seasoning and stir altogether. Place bay leaves at the top of the liquid. Cook at a simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves. Spoon into bowls, top with some grated cheese and serve with your choice of crusty or garlic bread.

Are you ready for spring? Do you think the unusually long winter has made you more ready?

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27 Responses

  1. sarah henry says:

    There’s nothing like a pot of lentil soup to get you through the winter blues. But spring is coming — with the promise of favas, asparagus, and peas.

  2. I could live on lentil soup, thanks for posting this. I’m looking forward to Spring but I must say it’s been such a mild winter here that it barely seems like we’ve had winter at all. There is snow on the ground today but I’m sure it’ll be gone tomorrow. And no complaints from me about that either

  3. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    Writing from our corner of Greece where it was a gorgeous sunny day today… AT LAST! To celebrate I offer you one of my favorite lentil recipes, also Italian. I make it all through winter, it’s very easy to throw together.

    Pasta con lentiche

    2 onions chopped
    2 carrots chopped
    2 ribs of celery chopped
    1 thick (0.5cm) slice of pancetta cut into 0.5 cm X 5cm pieces.
    1 can of peeled tomatoes
    Generous handful of chopped flat-leafed Parsley
    Sea salt to taste
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1.25 cups of lentils
    100 grams of small pasta (ditalini or similar, failing that, spaghetti broken into 5cm lengths

    Pour a splash of EVOO into the pan and cook the pancetta slowly under medium/low heat to render the fat. Add the onions and celery and cook till softened. Add the can of tomatoes with the juice and stir for a few minutes. Add the carrots, the lentils, salt and pepper and half the parsley. Add water, enough to cook the lentils, about 2 cups. Throw in some red wine if you have it. Simmer until lentils are cooked but not mushy (about 30-45 minutes). Check that there is water, add if dry.

    When the lentils are cooked, make sure there is sufficient liquid to cook the pasta and add the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, the dish is ready. It should be a thickish stew.

    Serve with the rest of the parsley, extra black pepper and a big swirl of EVOO on each plate.

    Note: If pancetta is not available, substitute with bacon. Boil in water first to remove smoky taste if desired.

    In the depths of winter I like to crack an egg per person into the pan just before the pasta is done and served with the whole, poached egg with runny yolk.

    Will try your recipe, sounds delish and I love lentils and pulses in general. Tonight my husband is making a fava bean stew with tomato sauce and scampi. YUM!

  4. I’m always ready for spring, although I sort of missed having those days where you could curl up with a blanket and hot chocolate and watch the snow fall. (But I don’t miss shoveling!) I’ll eat soup in any season, so this sounds perfect!

    • Kerri says:

      The problem with those days for us, Casey, is that it usually doesn’t happen on a day when my husband has to worry about getting through the mountains and into work or days I can afford to take off. But if they do, I love them too! 🙂

  5. Oh goody–I love good soup recipes, and I was wondering what to have for dinner. Now a quick trip to pick up some kale….

    • Kerri says:

      Hope you enjoy it. We don’t care for kale, it’s been a bit bitter when we’ve tried it. Baby spinach is nice and mild for my huband’s taste. 🙂

  6. I love lentils and I love this recipe. Thank you so much for posting it.

  7. Merr says:

    I like this recipe and bookmarked it. I will omit the sausage and substitute vegetable broth, but I think it will work. Thanks for much for this…I love making different soups!

    • Kerri says:

      I’m sure it will work, Merr. You might add a little spicy something such as red cayenne pepper to give it a little kick missing from the sausage.

  8. Heather says:

    I think the Kale would be great to use. I am always looking for ways to incorporate kale into my families diet since it has so many health benefits. I’ll look for the recipe my mom used to make using lentils and share it here. It was a mexican dish and so yummy. I haven’t made it in ages.

    • Kerri says:

      Would love to have that recipe, Heather. I’m just now discovering lentils as my husband said they were like black eyed peas, so I never tried them. He’s so wrong! 😉

  9. I know how you feel, Kerri! These warm, sunny days make me want to dig into my raised beds and get my garden growing. Unfortunately, not only is it too early, but I’m recovering from shoulder surgery and won’t be doing any digging for awhile! I love getting out and walking through the woods on these gorgeous spring-like days though.

    Thanks for the soup recipe! I’ve been trying more soup recipes and freezing leftovers, in an effort to avoid metal cans that store bought soups come in. This looks delicious!

    • Kerri says:

      I ove walking on these nice warm days too, I’m just ready for tomatoes and fresh cucumbers! 🙂 Hope you enjoy the soup. It’s a good one.

  10. NoPotCooking says:

    This sounds good. I’ve struggled with lentils – to find a way to make them that my family will eat. I’ll try this

  11. Olivia says:

    What is EVOO?

    Up here our winter has not seemed long at all. It has been milder than usual, for sure, although “milder” is a relative term. Up in “The Great White North” we have had a fair amount of snow and cold but nothing compared to last year. It has actually been a very pleasant winter and I am enjoying it – able to get out a lot to walk and snowshoe . . . and we have had lots of sunshine.

    Of course, I am always ready for spring – or “mud season” as it is more accurately termed around here. Our soil is red sandstone – very pretty but makes for very messy mud.

  12. Alisa Bowman says:

    What a great recipe!

  13. Sheryl says:

    I love soup but haven’t made it much this winter because it just hasn’t been soup weather. Thanks for the recipe. Now I’m craving some!