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Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup

This Spicy Sausage Lentil soup is loaded with hot Italian sausage, lentils, ham, veggies and is totally delicious! 

We love soup, especially if it involves lentil, like Tuscan lentil soup, Instant Pot smoked sausage and lentil soup or easy vegetable lentil soup! They’re so hearty and delicious, just like today’s recipe for sausage lentil soup.

Sausage Lentil Soup in bowl

Carrabba’s Sausage Lentil Soup

Today’s soup happens to be a family favorite. It’s a copycat version of the spicy sausage lentil soup that we get at Carrabba’s. It is loaded with flavor from the hot Italian sausage, lentils, ham, and veggies. And loaded with healthy benefits because lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein.

I’ll be honest with you, the first time I made this for our family I was pretty darn nervous. Since then, I’ve changed a few things here and there and this is the “husband approved” version of the copycat recipe. He loves it, I love it and our 2-year-old gobbles it up like there’s no tomorrow. It’s definitely a family favorite!

Plus – it’s easier than you think!

lentils in bag

How to Make Sausage Lentil Soup

The best thing about this soup is how easy it is to prep/make and how quickly it comes together. Sure you need a handful of ingredients, but they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

I like to pick up the lentils in the bulk section of our grocery store and I buy a thick slice of ham at the deli counter (that is if we don’t have leftover ham in the freezer from the holidays). The rest are items we have stocked in our pantry with the exception of the sausage.

Some recipe notes:

  • To make the soup you’ll need a large pot or Dutch oven.
  • When you’ve got your ingredients prepped, add the olive oil and get it nice and hot.
  • Sauté the veggies until tender and then brown the sausage.
  • Add the ham & tomato, then pour in the liquid ingredients. Bring to a boil, add the lentils & seasonings, simmer for 40-45 minutes.

That’s it!

And feel free to change the recipe up to your liking!  You can always use regular sausage and add a pinch of Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence to it. If you want to keep things extra lean add some turkey sausage instead of pork!

Sausage and lentil soup in ladle

Sausage Lentil Soup Storing Tips

When stored in a air-tight container in the refrigerator, this soup should be good for 3-4 days. If you want to save it longer then you will need to freeze it! Put it in a freezer-safe container. I prefer Ziploc bags that can lie flat because it saves space and defrosts easier. Keep in the freezer for up to 4-6 months.

To defrost your soup, just run the bottom of the freezer bag under hot water until it becomes loose. Then place the frozen chunks into a saucepan and continue to defrost over the lowest heat! 

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

I guarantee everyone will love this soup! Serve it up with some crusty Italian bread and a side salad and dinner is served!

Find perfect side dishes here: 

  • Best Ever Cheesy Garlic Bread
  • Easy Focaccia
  • Cucumber Dill Salad
  • Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
  • Almond Bacon Brussels Sprout Salad
    Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

    Carrabba's Sausage Lentil Soup Recipe

    This soup is a copycat version of Carrabba's Spicy Sausage Lentil soup!  It's loaded with hot Italian sausage, lentils, ham, veggies and is totally delicious!
    4.55 from 70 votes
    Pin Rate
    Course: Soup
    Cuisine: Italian
    Prep Time: 10 mins
    Cook Time: 50 mins
    Total Time: 1 hr
    Servings: 6 servings
    Calories: 334kcal
    Print Recipe


    • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 yellow onion - diced
    • 1 large carrot - finely grated
    • 1 stalk celery - minced
    • 3 cloves garlic - minced
    • 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage - uncooked
    • 1/3 cup ham - cubed
    • 1 small tomato - diced
    • 2 cup water
    • 4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 cup dry lentils
    • 1 tbsp fresh basil - minced
    • 1 tbsp fresh parsley - minced
    • 1 bay leaf


    • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium-low heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until tender. Add the carrot, celery and garlic, cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add the sausage and brown, braking it into bits as it cooks.
    • Add the chopped ham, tomatoes, water, chicken broth, vinegar and bring the soup to a boil.
    • Pour in the lentils along with the remaining seasonings/spices and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender and the liquid reduces, about 40-45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve immediately.


    -You can use thick cut slices of ham and cube them in about ¼" cubes, I prefer getting one thick slice from the deli counter or using up leftover ham from holidays.


    Nutrition Facts
    Carrabba's Sausage Lentil Soup Recipe
    Serving Size
    1 serving
    Amount per Serving
    % Daily Value*
    Saturated Fat
    Polyunsaturated Fat
    Monounsaturated Fat
    Vitamin A
    Vitamin C
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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  1. Here is the original recipe (from Rachael Ray) you’ve been meaning to share. Careful? http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe/hungarian-hot-sausage-and-lentil-stoup/

    1. That is an entirely different recipe. This is a recipe I developed years ago as a copycat to an Italian sausage and lentil soup.

    2. I just looked at those two recipes side by side… They are completely different flavor profiles.  Why would you attempt to call her out on something without checking it out first? Geez. 

  2. Just made this and it is excellent. So much flavor! I used Trader Joe’s Chicken Apple Sausage instead of the hot Italian sausage and used the Trader Joe ready to use french lentils. Cut the simmering time down to 20 minutes doing it this way. I also added 4 ounces of spaghetti broken up into little pieces. Made it even heartier.

  3. Thank you so much for this recipe. It was so good and so easy to make! Will definitely be making again and again!

  4. Fantastic and simple! I used pancetta instead of ham and homemade chicken stock. Added extra red pepper for some extra heat. I Used my Instant Pot and cooked sausage. Sautéed the onions/carrots etc in the rendered fat. Dumped everything else in and set at 25 min. Topped with some Parmesan. Tastes just like Carrabba’s. 

  5. SO good!! I left out the ham because I dont remember Carrabba’s having that? Maybe I’ll try it next time I make it.

    The flavor is really spot on when comparing it to Carrabbas. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks KC. I believe the ham is pretty small, but it’s definitely there. It’s probably been a good 5 years since I’ve had the real thing though, so maybe it changed?

  6. Made this for a Soup Night last night, and at over 100 different soups we have made, this one stands out as a real winner. Did 5X the recipe, and did 2/3 hot sausage and 1/3 sweet to tone down the hots. Managed to save a small container for leftovers.

  7. Very delicious soup Natalie!! Only problem I had was that the lentils cooked much, much more quickly than anticipated. So they ended up a bit mushy.
    The soup has great flavor and really packs a spicey punch.

  8. Hi Natalie: your recipe calls for only once cup of lentils. Is that correct or did you intend on it being 1 lb. dry lentils? 

  9. Made this tonight for dinner.  Left out the ham because I’m trying to eat less meat but followed the rest of the receipe.  It was excellent!  Definately keeping this receipe.

  10. I LOVE this soup! I think i’ve made it 3-4 times already. As tomatoes out out of season i’ve used 1/2c of diced tomatoes (canned) which has worked lovely. Thank you so much!!

  11. 5 stars
    I made a vegetarian version which came out amazing!

    I left out the ham, used Field Roast Italian Sausages (a 4-pack – 12oz), and replaced the Chicken broth & water with 6 Cups of Vegetable broth (I used homemade). Sinse the Field Roast sausage isn’t spicy, I added some Cayenne pepper and upped the red pepper flakes to 1/2 tsp.

    As a carnivore who LOVES this soup at Carrabba’s, I was very surpised when it had the same look and taste of the real thing!

  12. 5 stars
    This is truly, without a doubt, the best lentil soup I have ever had. I cannot say enough about it. The left-overs were even better … if that’s possible. Make it! Thank you Natalie. 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    Have made this soup several timeS for the family and parties. Everyone loves It. Sometimes I sub kielbasa for the sausage. Also add 2 to 4. Cups  chopped Swiss chard including the stems to add more veggies. Add more water accordingly last 20 min. Doesn’t change the flavor of the soup.

    1. I haven’t made it in the crock pot, but I am thinking, just like any other I would do, high 3-4 hours.

  14. 5 stars
    I added water, no chicken stock and n hand, simmered all afternoon. Simply delicious ~ definitely will make again. Thx.

    1. Hi Sandra, there is enough salt in the chicken broth and heat in the hot Italian sausage, that you don’t need to add salt or pepper, but you can season your own serving with salt and pepper as you like. The fresh herbs go in with the lentils.

  15. 5 stars
    Loved this soup, used minced turkey to save on calories. Would like to know what a serving size is please 🙂

    1. Hi Christine, thanks for sharing your changes. This recipe makes 6 servings, but we don’t have the serving size amount.