Smoked Sausage & Lentil Soup

Hi! This is one of those meals that I just love but never cook using a recipe. After a few Instagram friends asking about the recipe, I am placing it here on my blog for you to try. 

A few notes: It's a recipe that can either be called a soup or stew, depending on how much stock you choose to add. Please adjust seasonings as you see fit - I cook it intuitively so the measurements are always different. The one thing that ties it all together though, is beautifully fragrant Berbere Spice. 

What is Berbere? Berbere is a spice mixture whose constituent elements usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek. It is a key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Thanks Wikipedia. 

Here is a great recipe to make your own, but I also purchase mine online. As for the sausage portion, I use smoked beef sausage from a local butcher but feel free to use your favorite. The most important thing is that it has enough smoke to flavor this dish. Andouille is great, so is Chorizo or Keilbasa. Pick one and roll with it - It's all delicious.

Sausage Lentil Soup.JPG


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup fresh diced red pepper

1 lb (450grams) smoked sausage, sliced into 1" discs

1 1/2 tbsp Ethiopian Berbere spice 

1 tbsp Smoked Paprika (Highly recommend Penzey's)

1/2 tbsp ground cumin

2 cups dry lentils

2 quarts intense stock (I use beef. Substitute with 2 stock cubes and 2 quarts water combined)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp sugar

4 cups diced carrot

1 tbsp kosher salt 

1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbsp fresh parsley

Optional for serving: Plain yogurt, Zest & Juice of 1 lemon, fresh parsley

Not optional: Crusty bread with good butter! :)


Add olive oil, onions, garlic, ginger, celery and red pepper to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and stir until onions are translucent (3-5 minutes). Increase heat then add sausage, berbere, smoked paprika and cumin. Cook until the fat starts to render and everything is fragrant (5 minutes).

Add all remaining ingredients, stir to combine and lower heat to medium. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring now and then, until the lentils are cooked through and the soup has thickened. I like to leave it a little longer and break up some of the lentils with a potato masher for creaminess. Add the lemon juice, more fresh parsley, adjust the seasoning and add a dollop of plain yogurt right before serving. 

Serves 4 hungry people.