Dishing Up the Dirt

Lentil Soup with Fennel, Sausage & Bitter Greens

As the weather takes a turn from clear skies and sunshine to clouds and rain, I’m gearing up for a week’s worth of soup recipes! This lentil soup with fennel, sausage and bitter greens is the perfect weeknight cozy meal. It utilizes a lot of easy to find ingredients from the farmers market and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the changing of the season’s than a warm bowl of this soup.  And one of the best things about soups like this is that they’re really easy to whip up on a busy weeknight and you can improvise with whatever meat and veggies you have on hand. This soup also makes enough that you’ll most likely have leftovers (which taste even better in my opinion!) And I highly recommend serving this soup with some crusty sourdough bread or homemade flatbreads. We’ve been whipping up spelt flour and yogurt flatbreads recently and I’m going to post a recipe for them because they’re SO good and really easy to make. Anyhow, stay tuned for that!

Happy soup season everyone. I hope wherever you are that you feel a touch of fall in the air.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm.

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Fennel & Bitter Greens

Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including soaking)    Cook Time: 45 minutes    Serves: 6

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils, soaked for 8 hours in a pot of water with 2 Tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice (see note)
  • 1 pound Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • Oil or butter for the pan
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium sized carrots, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped (reserve a few fronds for garnish and the stalks for future veggie stock)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 7 cups chicken stock or veggie broth (homemade preferred for best results)
  • 1 head of curly endive or escarole, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • plain whole milk yogurt for serving


  1. Drain and thoroughly rinse the soaked lentils and set them aside.
  2. Heat a large cast iron soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the sausge, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat a bit. Remove from the heat and place on plate or bowl.
  3. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and add the onion, carrots, fennel and garlic. Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are beginning to brown. Add the bay leaves, pepper flakes and a fat pinch of salt and pepper. Add the wine, stock and lentils to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for about 35-40 minutes or until the soup has thickened and the lentils are tender. Add the sausage back to the pan along with the endive. Drizzle in the vinegar and give the pot a good stir. Once the greens have wilted divide the soup between bowls and dollop with yogurt, reserved fennel fronds and extra salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.


*This post was inspired by Bon Appétit *Use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary.

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