Soup

Your Cooking Rut Ends With This $9 Lentil-Sausage Stew

February 21, 2017

It’s a bleak time of the year for food inspiration. How can we endure? I humbly submit lentils as my answer. But stay with me! Let’s keep cooking out of the pantry and get cozy and bubbly and aromatic with a lentil and sausage stew that'll cost you between $9.50 and $14 to make.

We’ll need lentils, sausage, vegetables and sauciness to bring the stew together. Options galore, so don’t lose heart if you’re missing ingredients, you probably have something else that will work just as well. Let’s talk through it.

Lentils! Dried lentils keep for ages—here we’re using the most common green or brown but other varieties are fine. Lentils are just as cheap as dried beans, but where beans take two to three hours to cook, lentils take about twenty minutes. Bonus.

Sausage-wise, I used Spanish chorizo, but any kind of cured or fresh sausage is great. You can cook the sausages whole, then slice them and add them into the stew. Or, if using fresh sausage, crumble it up and cook it along with the vegetables and get a little ground meat in every bite. You could even go wild and use pepperoni for your sausage, melt mozzarella on the top, and call this pizza lentil stew.

Next we want vegetables. I had the cheap workhorse veggies—onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper—in my drawer, but if your crisper has other treasures, use ‘em. Any kind of onion or root vegetable will work so long as you chop them into small pieces and cook until soft.

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Top Comment:
“I use a smoked sausage and green puy lentils...but make sure you add the tomatoes after the lentils are mostly cooked. I find that tomatoes are acid enough to inhibit beans cooking thoroughly, and that includes lentils. Any kind of hard cheese grated on top is my go-to finish.”
— Cathie F.
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Lastly, what kind of saucy something is going to bring our stew together? I added a can of chopped tomatoes for sweetness and acidity and because I love them (plus that whole ahem pizza stew thing). But you can add wine or beef broth for a more French stew, or milk or cream for a more Eastern European stew. Just be sure to add the liquid after the flour is stirred in, and let the stew simmer so it has a chance to thicken.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Lastly, if you have cheese, you will never regret melting that on top.

My lentil stew ended up kinda like a lentil jambalaya, but please share your variations below! We love hearing about your pantry swaps.

Shop the non-stick stock pot featured in the images above, here—they're absurdly easy to clean.

How would you riff on this recipe? Tell us in the comments below.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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9 Comments

Cathie F. March 8, 2017
I use a smoked sausage and green puy lentils...but make sure you add the tomatoes after the lentils are mostly cooked. I find that tomatoes are acid enough to inhibit beans cooking thoroughly, and that includes lentils. Any kind of hard cheese grated on top is my go-to finish.
 
Maureen March 8, 2017
It shocked the hell out of me that my husband and two teenagers loved and devoured this. It so does not fit the family dinner profile. Now it's going to be in the regular rotation. Simple and healthy.
 
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Leanne B. March 8, 2017
I could not be happier with this comment! That is so wonderful to hear! Sausage and melted cheese go a long way :)
 
clayshapes March 8, 2017
Looks great. Will had diced sweet potatoes and spinach...and sprinkle some roasted sliced almonds on top!<br />
 
SLittlejohn March 8, 2017
I don't eat meat (allergies) but I have field roast sausages and I'm thinking those with the last of the greens, onions and carrots from the CSA will be an amazing dinner. Tonight sounds good!
 
Peggy G. February 26, 2017
would totally do this up with hot italian turkey sausage, chopped kale, and throw in a handful of crumbled feta, parsley and/or fresh basil - yum!
 
ariane B. February 21, 2017
yum. making this next week and adding some nduja (to use up the giant roll i bought) and some spinach. I'm excited
 
jasnyder February 21, 2017
would totally do this up with hot italian turkey sausage, chopped kale, and throw in a handful of crumbled feta, parsley and/or fresh basil - yum!<br />
 
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Leanne B. February 21, 2017
That sounds SO good. Let us know if you try it!