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Hearty Lentil Stew with Sausage and Broccoli

Lentils are one of the oldest components of the human diet, dating back over 12,000 years. One of the first domesticated crops, lentils have been an important part of the cuisines of the Near East and the Indian subcontinent. Lentils were even mentioned in the Bible: "Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left." (Genesis 25:34)

That historical stuff is all good to know, of course, but here at Stephencooks the first question is, does it taste good? And following that is, is it a healthy addition to my diet? The answer with this hearty stew, on both fronts, is YES! We love this dish, with its zesty Italian flavor, and we love how the nutrition numbers fit so well in our glucose- and weight-control plans! And did I mention that it's fairly quick and easy? This is real food that's really good for you.

Hearty Lentil Stew with Sausage and Broccoli

12 one-cup servings


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup red or yellow lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch broccoli (see note)
  • 1/2 tomato
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (4 quarts or larger capacity). On hight heat, brown the sausage on all sides. Remove and set aside. 

2. Add the diced carrots, celery and onion. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Do not allow the vegetables to brown. 

3. Add the lentils, stock, water, basil, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. Cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat to a high simmer. Cook covered until the lentils are tender (20 - 30 minutes for red lentils, 40 - 60 minutes for yellow). 

4. Meanwhile, trim a 1/4 slice from the broccoli stalk ends and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, pare the tough skin from the stalks. Cut the stalks from the florets and then cut stalks into half-inch dice. Separate the florets into similarly sized pieces. Cut the half tomato into half-inch dice. 

5. When the lentils are tender, add the broccoli and diced tomato to the pot, stir and continue to cook, covered, until the broccoli is just tender, about 5 minutes more. 

Note. Just about any green vegetable can be used in place of the broccol: kale, collard greens, beet or turnip greens, spinach, bok choi, green cabbage, napa cabbage, swiss chard, etc. For most of these the cooking time for the final step will be shorter than indicated for the broccoli but let "cook til tender" be your guide. Kale and collard greens, for example, may take longer.

Nutritional Estimate: 12 One-Cup Servings. Per serving: 76 Calories; 15 g Total Carbs; 6 g Dietary Fiber; 3 g Sugars; 1 g Fat; 4 mg Cholesterol; 113 mg Sodium; 6 g Protein. Weight Watchers: 1 point.

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Broccoli is my favorite. Wonderful addition!


This looks wonderful. I like it that you used the broccoli stalks as well.

This was quite good. I used red lentils and they pretty much disintegrated. Perhaps I cooked it for too long.

My red lentils lost their shape and thickened the stew. Does anyone know if this is typical? I have not cooked with them previously. Seems if in a soup, which will most likely be warmed again, the cooking time should not be an problem. Thanks for any help. It was delicious and comforting on a rainy winter day.

HI Pamela...

Theyre all slightly different so you have to keep an eye on them when you are cooking them -- its impossible to give the exact cooking time in a recipe. Also, if you make it ahead and then refrigerate it the lentils will continue to soften after cooking. This isnt a problem for me but some may not like it when the lentils start to break down. Im glad you enjoyed it!

best, Stephen

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