Olive oil, for the pot
3 cooked Italian sausages, your favorite kind, sliced (optional)
3 leeks (white and light-green parts), chopped and rinsed thoroughly*
2 small carrots, chopped (unpeeled if organic)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 big handfuls sturdy greens (kale, cabbage, or chard), chopped or torn
1½ cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
4 (or more) garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup green (French) or brown lentils, rinsed
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth (organic if you can)
Vinegar, any type (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional)
*Why? Leeks hide sand and dirt deep within their swoops and swirls. To wash it well, chop it first, then submerge in a big bowl of cold water. Let sit for a few minutes, then lift the leeks out with a slotted spoon, leaving the sand behind in the bottom of the bowl.
1. Get out your big Sunday soup pot and heat it over medium-high heat, then drizzle in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Throw in the sausage (if using) and cook until nice and browned. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
2. Add the leeks to the pot and cook, stirring, until they have softened a bit, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, greens, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir for a few minutes until all the vegetables have gotten acquainted and are starting to soften. Add the lentils, broth, and sausages (if using). Let your soup simmer for 30 minutes while you read the Sunday paper.
3. Taste and adjust the seasonings—does it need salt? A splash of vinegar? A few hot
Play With It!
• Add the rind of a Parmesan cheese as the soup simmers to add flavor.
• Add a splash of wine before adding the broth and let it bubble for a moment, to boost flavor and add a little acidity.
• Garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, or chopped dill.
pepper flakes? Make it taste perfect for you.
Kids in Charge!
• Go on a treasure hunt—in the fridge!—for forlorn vegetables.
• Tear the greens from their stems.
• Rinse the leeks.
• Measure the lentils.
• Convince the grown-ups that pasta is a good addition.
Inspired by, adapted from The Family Cooks