We had this soup at Carrabba’s one night and I went in search of a recipe. I did make some adaptations to the recipe I found, so I’m posting it how I made it. Carrabba’s uses fennel sausage that they make, and it’s yummy, but it’s good with regular sausage as well.

Ingredients:
1 pound hot Italian sausage (original recipe calls for 1/2 pound sweet)
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (I omitted celery because, blech)
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1 (16 ounce) package dry lentils, rinsed
1 cup shredded carrot
2 cups water (original recipe 6 cups)
8 cups chicken broth (original recipe 2 14 oz cans)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (original recipe diced tomatoes)
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon parsley
2 bay leaves (I omitted)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon basil
garlic salt to taste (I added about a teaspoon, original recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
1. Cook sausage over medium heat until evenly browned.
2. Add onion, celery and chopped garlic and saute until tender and translucent.
3. Stir in lentils, carrot, water, chicken broth and tomatoes.
4. Season with spices listed above.
5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
6. Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until lentils are tender.
7. Sprinkle with grated Romano cheese or Parmesan Cheese.

I actually made this in the crockpot. Put it in at 1pm, heated it until it boiled, then turned it to low and simmered for about 3 hours. Perfect!

To go with the Carrabba’s theme, I served it with French bread and the dipping spices/oil. I used the below recipe:

Herb Oil for Dipping Bread
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup EVOO (or as needed)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except oil, on a deep plate or bowl. Pour oil over spices. (I have little individual dipping bowls I use!)

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