Sausage-Collards-Quinoa Soup

Yes, it is summer and yes this is a soup recipe. I know, not what you were expecting... However, I have been making this recipe for a few months and I absolutely love it! It is so, so, so good -- you can freeze it and reheat without any loss of flavor or texture. I love to bring this to work for lunch and seriously, my freezer has been stocked with it for months. The only reason I have not posted the recipe has been a lack of a quality photo. Although it is delicious, it is not the most photogenic soup. As my kids say "it looks gross, but tastes yummy"!

Over the winter, my friend Courtney sent me this recipe and suggested I give it a try --  her hair stylist had been raving over it and she had a feeling I might like it, too. I took a look, and because I have a disorder that basically prevents me from following any recipe to the letter, I knew I would give it the Fresh Mama touch with what I had on hand. So, thank you Courtney for sharing this because it is easy, healthy, and delicious. I am only sorry it has taken me this long to get it up on the blog!
Sausage-Collards-Quinoa Soup

1 pound chicken or turkey sausage (sweet or hot -- I prefer hot!)
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced (optional)
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
3/4 cup red lentils
1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes with liquids
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped collard greens or kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large dutch oven or stew pot.
2.  Remove sausage from casing (or use bulk sausage) and brown in the olive oil.
3. Add carrot, celery, and onion to cooked sausage and cook another 5 minutes.
4. Add chili powder, cumin, and thyme to mixture, stir well.
5. Pour quinoa, lentils, tomatoes with liquid and chicken stock to pot.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer cover and cook on low for 30-40 minutes until lentils are almost cooked through.
7. Add collards and continue to simmer an additional 15 minutes until collards are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
8. Serve immediately or store covered in fridge up to 5 days. I like to freeze half in mason jars and defrost in the fridge.
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