2 Tbsp olive oil
2-1/2 lbs ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
12 oz chicken sausage (I use sun-dried tomato and basil, or roasted garlic flavor), sliced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup canned chopped tomato
3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups spinach or chopped kale
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil, and over medium heat cook the turkey until it is no longer pink. Add the sausage, and sauté until the sausage begins to brown. Stir in the onion, and cook until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute more.
Slow cooker method: Add the turkey mixture to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, lentils, tomato, chicken broth and mustard. Set the cooker to LOW and cook for 6 hours.
Then, add the balsamic vinegar, spinach or kale, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Taste, and season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper, as needed.
Stove-top method: Transfer the turkey mixture to a heavy Dutch oven or stock pot. Stir in the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, lentils, tomato, chicken broth and mustard. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer; cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour, checking every now and then to make sure there is enough liquid to keep the lentils from sticking. If you need more liquid, add water, 1/2 cup at a time.
When the lentils are cooked, add the balsamic vinegar, spinach or kale, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
Serve hot, garnished with additional cheese. If you wish, you can serve this soup over brown rice or pasta.