We are at that time of year when a much-appreciated cool-down is entering many of our lives. Coming down from the 90 and 100 degree highs and settling at brisk fall-like temps, the summer scurry starts to fade into the distance and we can sit back and reflect. Why not settle down with a delicious, warm bowl of soup? Here’s a great recipe for Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup to get your fall started out right.

Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (hot, sweet or mild), cut into slices
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 cup brown lentils
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or a mix of broth and water)
4 packed cups of finely chopped kale (about 4 to 5 ounces) (If you can find baby kale, get it. You don’t have to chop it, and it cooks more quickly.)
1 (15-ounce) can of Italian-style tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes, with juices
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, if you’re using sweet or mil
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated Parmigiano cheese, optional

In a large, deep pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned all over, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes. Push the sausage to the edges of the pot, and add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned and softened. Add broth and lentils. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and bring soup to a low rolling boil. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, kale, and crushed red pepper flakes and heat through, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, and stir in the parsley. Serve hot with grated Parmigiano cheese, if desired.

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