Monday, February 14, 2011

Italian Lentils with Sausage

Lentils are consistently rated one of the world's healthiest foods. Filled with B Vitamins, folate, calcium and phosphorus, they are also a great source of protein and iron, making them a staple of vegetarian diets all over the world. This is a traditional Italian dish usually served on New Year's Day. Because lentils resemble small coins, it is believed that eating them will bring you good luck and prosperity in the New Year. My grandmother always made this dish, so it's one of my favorites and it makes a filling and nutrient-dense dinner. One serving has 35 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. It's worth the extra time to make ahead. You can get multiple meals out of a big batch.

Instructions and photos after the jump.

Prep Time: 10-15 min
Cook Time: 50-60 min


1lb of italian chicken sausage, hot or mild, casings removed
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups low sodium veggie or chicken broth
2 cups of water
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Optional: 2 tbsp grated parmesan

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Sautee garlic, onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until soft, about 5 min

2. Add sausage with casings removed, and break up into 1-2" chunks

3. Brown sausages and veggies for about 5 minutes

4. Remove sausage chunks and set aside

5. Add tomato paste, thyme, rosemary and black pepper

6. Scrape the bottom of the pan and let the mixture caramelize for a minute

7. Add rinsed lentils and veggie broth

8. Cover and simmer on med-low for 20-25 minutes, until water is absorbed

9. Add 2 cups of water and sausage

10. Cover and continue to simmer on med-low for an additional 15 minutes

11. Serve with grated parmesan

Nutrition Info:
Makes 4 Servings
418 Calories
35g Protein
15g Fiber

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