Go Back
+ servings
A white bowl of rustic lentil soup with slices of toasted bread stacked next to it.

Rustic Lentil Soup

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Lentil soup, Lentil, Lentil soup with Sausage
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 300kcal
Nothing will warm you up and make you smile much more than this bursting-with-flavor soup, Rustic Lentil Soup. Omit the pancetta and sausage and use veggie stock to make it 100% vegetarian.
Print Recipe


  • Large Dutch oven, or soup pot


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz pancetta cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup carrots peeled and sliced, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup celery chopped, about 2 stalks
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano chopped
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 6 cups chicken stock plus more, if needed
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • cups lentils rinsed and drained
  • 1 potato peeled and diced
  • 2 Italian sausage sweet or hot


  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for another minute.
  • Add in the tomato sauce and then the chicken stock. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and bring to a steady simmer. Stir in the lentils and bay leaves, partially cover the pot, and let simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom. Adjusting the heat, as necessary.
  • Stir the soup, and if too thick, add more stock. Add the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes, or until they are tender.
  • Meanwhile, remove the casings from the sausage links and form small meatballs. Cook them in a medium saucepan over medium heat with a splash of olive oil until cooked and nicely browned
  • Add the cooked sausage to the soup.
  • Taste the soup and add salt, if necessary. Remove the bay leaves.
  • Serve with toasted, crusty Italian bread.



Green lentils work well with this soup, but so do red or brown.  Whatever is available at your supermarket will work.  You will find dried lentils in the dried beans section of the grocery store.
If using dried herbs, use half the amount called for in the recipe.
Keep extra stock on hand, in case the soup gets thicker than desired.  Simply add the stock until you reach the desired consistency.
Omit the pancetta and sausage, and use vegetable stock/broth, in place of the chicken stock, to make this soup vegetarian.
The soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and freezes beautifully for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2316IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 4mg