It’s still chilly here in the Italian mountains. The stone walls of the house cool right down overnight, which means the morning is spent stoking the fire to keep us warm. It’s the perfect opportunity for some classic Italian cooking, and what could be better than a big, heartwarming dish of Italian Sausages and Lentils?
What’s this dish all about?
This sausage and lentil recipe is classic country-style cooking. Coarse pork sausages are browned in olive oil and butter, then added to deliciously earthy lentils and herbs for a warming, comforting meal.
What’s so special about lentils and sausages?
It’s an Italian tradition that lentils or lenticche bring good fortune, so much so that variations on this dish are eaten all across the country on New Year’s Eve to bring luck for the new year. This tradition has been going on since Roman times, so it is very much a part of the Italian culture!
It’s important to use good sausages!
For a dish like this, it is important to use the thickest, coarsely ground sausages you can find. The flavour of the sausages is important to the whole dish, so bready breakfast sausages are a no-go.
Low and slow is the way to go.
I love dishes like this! Italian Sausages and Lentils can cheerfully putter away on the stove for an hour or more if you like, filling the house with a delicious aroma. As long as you keep an eye on the water level, it’ll be fine. If you’re in a hurry, you can cheat and use a tin of pre-cooked lentils, but it is better from scratch (and easier on the wallet too).
Make it in advance and batch-prep for the week.
Recipes like this were made for meal-prepping before meal-prepping was even a thing! Make up a big batch on the weekend and portion it up for meals during the week. Bonus: It freezes beautifully.
Looking for more heartwarming stews and casseroles?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What sort of lentils should I use to make this dish?
I use small green lentils as they retain a bit of a bite when they’ve been cooked. Put lentils are also delicious.
Can I double or triple the recipe to feed more people?
Sure! Just cook the sausages in batches and be prepared to use a big pot for all those lentils.
How do I know when the lentils are done?
Lentils vary depending on age and provenance. Small green lentils need around 30-40 minutes to soften, but it’s best to keep tasting as you go along for the best results.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil (e.g. sunflower)
- 6-8 coarsely ground pork sausages
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 stems celery, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 100g bacon, diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
- 1 stem fresh rosemary, leaves diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 200g green lentils
- 250ml white wine
- ½ chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- small bunch of parsley, chopped
- BROWN THE SAUSAGES: Melt the butter together with the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Cook the sausages gently for 5 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- SAUTÉ THE VEGETABLES: Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add the bacon, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, fennel seeds and lentils to the pan and stir to combine.
- ADD THE LIQUIDS: Pour the wine and 750ml water into the pan, crumble in the stock cube and stir well. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender.
- ADD THE SAUSAGES: When the lentils are tender, thickly slice the sausages and add to the pan. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir well to combine and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
- SERVE: Sprinkle over the parsley and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 446Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 928mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 23g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.