When a friend shared this recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen on Facebook, I knew I had to try it out--and soon! And now I want to try it again. It was so very tasty and satisfying (and would be without the sausage, too).
Note: If you prefer stovetop over crockpot, those modifications can be found at the above link.
Crockpot Lentil Veggie Sausage Soup
Yield: about 6 servings (in a 3.5-Quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker)
1/2 onion, diced very small
1 carrot, diced very small
2 large stalks celery, diced very small
1 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. Spike seasoning (as this has a form of MSG in it, I used only half this amount and the soup still had plenty of flavor)
3 links pre-cooked sausage (I used Polish), diced in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
1 can petite dice tomatoes with juice
6 c. chicken stock (or 4 cans chicken broth)
1/4 c. brown lentils
1/4 c. red lentils
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. long-grain brown rice
4 c. chopped fresh spinach (or kale)
2 Tb. balsamic vinegar (if you're out of this, as I was, here is the substitution I used--with raw sugar instead of refined)
Dice onion, carrot and celery. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan, add veggies and saute until starting to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and Spike Seasoning and saute about 2 minutes more, then add veggies to crockpot.
Add diced chicken sausage, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, brown lentils, red lentils, and salt and pepper to crockpot and cook on high about 3 hours (or until brown lentils are soft and red lentils are starting to dissolve.)
Add brown rice and chopped spinach and cook about 1 hour more. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook 15 minutes. Serve hot, with Parmesan cheese if desired.