Creamy Sausage Lentil Veggie Soup


This comforting soup is filled with cozy fall herbs, lots of greens, and gets thickened up with a simple cashew cream for a hearty flavor-packed broth. A combination of sausage and lentils packs in both protein and fiber. This soup uses simple ingredients that you probably often have on hand, making it a great recipe to have in your back pocket. 

P.S. After testing it in the Instant Pot, I highly recommend this method!

Ingredient highlight

Lentils! My favorite small but mighty pulse! They are packed full of protein, fiber, folic acid, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. One half cup of uncooked lentils (or about 1 ¼ cup cooked) contains 24g of protein.

Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4-8 oz Italian sausage, sliced if cooked (can use raw or cooked)*
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight**
  • 4 cups chopped kale or other green
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Grated/crumbled cheese, for topping (optional)***
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)
  • *If raw, you need to cook the sausage first as the recipe states. If using cooked sausage, you can brown it in the pan as well or just stir it into the soup when you add the liquids. I’ve tested this recipe only using cooked sausage (and hot dogs)!
  • **To quickly soak/soften your cashews (this is what I always do!), simmer them in water for 10 minutes, then drain and use. I’ve also tried this without soaking and if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, it works just fine!
  • ***I realized when eating leftovers that cheese on top is delicious – mozzarella, cheddar, parm, or feta!


  • In a large pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. If your sausage is raw, add it to the skillet and let cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes or until browned, breaking it up into chunks. Give it a stir and let cook for another minute or so until cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pot along with the onion, carrot, celery, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in the water, lentils, soy sauce, sausage, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Cover and increase the heat to high to bring to a boil. Give it a stir, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a rapid simmer for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
  • In a high-speed blender, add the drained cashews and about 1 cup of the liquid from the soup (it’s okay if some lentils/veg get in there but leave the sausage out). Blend on high for about 1 minute until very smooth (make sure you vent the lid so steam can escape), then pour back into the pot. Stir in the kale and lemon.
  • Serve topped with cheese (if using), and black pepper. You could also top with some fresh herbs if you have any.

Instant pot instructions:

  • Follow the recipe as is in your Instant Pot using the “sautee” setting. Once you’ve cooked the garlic and spices, press “cancel” and add in the remaining ingredients, as the recipe states. Secure the lid on and set the vent to “sealing”. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let it naturally release for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure. Follow the recipe as is (stir in greens + lemon).

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Chop 4 cups kale
  • Chop 1 yellow onion
  • Chop 2 carrot
  • Chop 2 celery stalks
  • Chop 2 cloves garlic
  • Soak ½ cup raw cashews (overnight or quick soak)
  • Make the soup


  • Easily make vegetarian by skipping the sausage. Just add another clove of garlic, 1 tbsp thyme, and add mushrooms to the soup (add them with the spices) for a meaty texture.
  • To make nut-free, use sunflower seeds in place of cashews (I tested this and it works,  just make sure to soak the seeds like you would the cashews).
  • Replace the italian sausage with any sausage variety or even use ground or cubed  meat. 
  • Add in any veggies you have on hand, like sliced mushrooms or bell pepper.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freezer for up to 2 months.

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Warm up leftover soup in the microwave or on the stove until warmed through. Top with cheese and black pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up and chopped herbs if you have any.

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