Lentil Stew with Sausage

StewGluten-FreeItalian SausageLentil

Warm and hearty lentil stew with a bacon, onion, carrot, celery base, and Italian sausage and parsley.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I’m in serious weather denial. With what seems like the fourth storm this week to hit California (is Noah building his “arky arky” yet?) I’m still puttering around the house in shorts and flip flops, and dreaming of good times in warmer weather.

But there is only so much denying one can do, before the shivering reality sets in, and then it’s time for stew. Lentil stew in this case.

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My friend Clara and I were inspired to make this hearty lentil stew today, in the midst of yet another downpour, based on Clara’s family recipe. It’s made with bacon and sausage, a mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery, and topped with parsley.

Lentil Sausage Stew

The amounts are approximate (except for the liquid to lentil ratio, 6 cups liquid per pound lentils), feel free to experiment, more or less bacon, sausage. We made a double recipe, to make sure that Clara’s family had plenty for leftovers during the week.

Lentil Stew with Sausage Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-5

You can easily double or triple the recipe for a larger group or for make ahead leftovers.


  • 1/3 pound of bacon (about 5 thick slices), cut into 1-inch by 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium-large yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2-3 large carrots, diced (2/3 cup)
  • 2-3 large ribs celery, diced (2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound brown or green dry lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove anything that shouldn't be there (like a small rock for example)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups chicken stock (can sub water for a total of 6 cups of liquid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or spicy, your choice) or smoked sausage, in links (about 2-3 links)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (can sub cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, with a little extra for garnish


1 Cook bacon: Heat a large, thick-bottomed pot (6 to 8 quart) on medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until much of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is browned and cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from pan to a dish, set aside.

Remove (and reserve for another use) all but 2 Tbsp of bacon fat. (If you discard the excess fat, let cool to solidify first, then discard in the trash. Do not pour down the drain or you will clog the drain.)

2 Sauté carrots, onions, celery, cumin, garlic: Heat the remaining fat on medium high and add the carrots, onions, celery, and cumin. Stirring frequently, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan, cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.

3 Add lentils, cooked bacon, stock, water, thyme, bay leaf, simmer: Add back in the cooked bacon, the rinsed lentils, stock, water, thyme, bay leaf. At this point add a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. You will season more to taste later. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook partially covered until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

4 Brown sausage links, cut into pieces, add to stew: While the lentils are cooking, heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add the Italian sausage links. Gently cook, browning on all sides, until just cooked through. Remove from pan, let cool enough to handle. Cut into pieces of desired length (1 to 2 inches, or you can just keep whole) and add to stew for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

5 Add sherry vinegar, parsley, salt, pepper: Add sherry vinegar and parsley to stew. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You may need to add more salt than you expect, especially if you are making the stew with water only and not water and stock.

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Red Lentil Dal here on Simply Recipes

Mexican Red Lentil Stew from Kalyn's Kitchen

Liven Yourself Up Lentil Soup from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

Moroccan Lentil Stew from Budget Bytes


Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

65 Comments / Reviews

No ImageLentil Stew with Sausage

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Cheri

    I just made this today and used red lentils ( never cooked with lentils before) they went mushy, but it tasted amazing still. I will be keeping this recipe. Thanks for sharing


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  2. Eric

    Made this many times, sauté onions in kielbasa sausage (can use turkey version for calorie reduction) to bring the flavor truly out into the dish. I sauté sausage first, then transfer to another pan, throw veggies into sausage saute and brown. Looks brown but does not matter later. I add mix of italian spice mix (1 tablespoon) and one can tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. Then add balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon). You can also add potatoes for even a thicker version. Be ready to add liquid to make sure lentils do not burn. Only add hot liquid to mix. Add cayenne pepper if you want a kick.


  3. Kimberly

    It turned out well; I used beef sausage and beef broth instead, and had to add 2 more cups of water than the recipe suggested. I also used marjoram since I didn’t have thyme, and apple cider vinegar instead of sherry. I also didn’t have celery so just used extra carrots.

  4. Persiasblossom

    It came out DELICIOUS! I’m new to observing Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
    and I came across this recipe looking to use some up lentils I’ve had sitting in my pantry. I didn’t have the sherry and can’t use any vinegar in my food so I substituted it with lemon juice. I also subbed the meats for turkey bacon and turkey kielbasa, added two handfuls of a frozen spinach/ kale mix and some dashed of paprika. I enjoyed it with a side of some homemade Garlic and Rosemary unleavened bread using spell and amaranth flour. Thank you for helping me create an amazing dinner! Definitely will be freezing some in quart ziplocks as I think it comes out to more than 4-5 servings.


  5. Theresa

    Plan on making it this weekend but have a question about the Italian sausage, when you fry them do you take off the casing?

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