Sausage-Lentil Soup Goes on Spring Break, Comes Back as Salad

April  6, 2018

Sausages and lentils love each other. Over the years, our site has adopted quite a few recipes featuring the duo. Most of them are soup—or a close cousin, like stew or gumbo. Think bowl, spoon, blanket, couch:

Come warmer weather, though, these ingredients part ways. Sausages head to lobster boils and potato buns. Lentils, to picnicky salads and mushroomy tacos. Which feels sort of unfair, right? Sausages can be springy and summery, and lentils can be springy and summery, but put the two together and it has to be wintry?

Let’s fix this. Reunite sausages and lentils—they hug, they cry!—send them on a free, all-expenses-paid, salads-gone-wild spring break, and see what happens...

That's the driest soup we've ever seen. Photo by Julia Gartland

This! A kale salad to kindly usher you into spring (I write, as it’s April, and snowing). I took all the classic, soupy ingredients and repurposed them:

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Sausage: To cut down on active cooking time, I like using a smoked—so, fully cooked—sausage here. Just slice into coins, then pan-fry until crispy. My personal pref is Spanish-style chorizo. But you could swap in any favorite variety, from chicken to beef to veggie.

Lentils: I really like French lentils here—or Puy lentils or lentilles du Puy. They stay strong during tough times (read: boiling water). With soup or dal, lentils breaking apart is okay, even ideal, contributing thickness and texture. But in a salad, we want them to be clear and distinct. Cook the lentils with a couple smashed garlic cloves for more flavor.

Carrots and celery: Finely diced onion, carrot, and celery make up a French mirepoix, which becomes the foundation for countless soups. Including many sausage-lentil ones. Here, I omitted the onion and shaved the carrots and celery on a mandoline.

Kale: If this were a soup, I’d be down with curly kale—it often costs less! In a salad, though, I really like Tuscan (or lacinato or dinosaur) kale’s shiny, sturdy, bumpiness. It’s more resistant to wilting, too, which makes this salad perfect picnic material. Make in the morning, eat later in the day, all good.

To bring this all together, a simple dressing: We’ve already got a lot of flavors going on. The dressing needs to hold its own but not draw attention. So I turned to my go-tos: olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard, plus salt and black pepper.

What are your favorite warm-weather recipes with sausages and/or lentils? Let us know in the comments!

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.