Lentil stew (or soup) was not something I ever ate as a kid or thought about as a young adult. I don’t even know if I knew what lentils were. I grew up eating basic meat-and-potatoes dinners with an occasional taco night thrown in as our only “international” food.
But my tastes expanded in college and as a young mom I wanted to make new dishes for my family that were easy and healthy – and of course tasted good. My first experience with lentils was both Dal and an amazing lentil soup I had at an Indian restaurant – I swear I would dream about that soup! So one day when I was watching a morning show, and saw a recipe for lentil stew with sausage—that they all raved about. I wrote it down and actually made it myself.
It was SO good – nothing like the few watery lentil soups I’d tried. This was more like that amazing Indian restaurant soup: thick and lick-the-bowl flavorful. And the leftovers were even better, believe it or not.
This is hands-down our favorite and the only lentil stew recipe I bother making. So if you’ve been looking for an amazing warming bowl of lentil stew, this is for you. It’s been a big hit with everyone I’ve shared it with, so I know it will be for you, too.
Sausage and Lentil Stew Recipe
There are a couple of ingredients that make this lentil stew special, one of which is tarragon – an unusual spice for a stew, but oh so good here. You must use this herb, so if you don’t have it add it to your list – even if you only use tarragon for this recipe, it will be worth it, I promise.
The other special ingredient is stewed tomatoes – yes stewed, not regular canned diced or whole tomatoes. This is the only time I use them, actually, and they really do enhance the flavor of this stew. This isn’t a deal-breaker like the tarragon – you can use regular tomatoes and see which you like better, but we’ve always preferred it with stewed.
Tip for adding sliced or whole tomatoes to soups and stews: before adding the tomatoes, put them in another container to cut them into smaller pieces before adding to the cooking pot.
Besides the incredible flavor, I also love that this recipe only costs around $4.00 for eight hearty servings! Using sausage purchased on sale, frozen chicken broth, and tomatoes from the pantry either home-canned or bought at best prices, and inexpensive lentils, this makes a healthy, economical family meal.
It makes enough for a couple days of leftover lunches (for most families) and I seriously make it so I can have it for lunches – it gets better as the flavors mingle. It also freezes beautifully. Hmmm – you probably get the idea that I like this stew!