Slow Cooker White Beans and Sausages

 

When you return home after a long afternoon of activities to this fresh and flavorful dinner, your family will be ecstatic.

This easy and hearty variation of a Slow Cooker White Bean Soup is quick to put together and holds up very well to longer cooking times. And you can simply adjust the herbs to what you have on hand.

If you use Cannellini beans (aka Italian white kidney beans) in place of the Great Northerns, you’ll want to read up on how to cook beans in a slow cooker to learn about about kidney beans and toxicity.

The instructions below assume your slow cooker has a brown/sauté feature, if not, just use your stove to brown the sausages and sauté the veggies. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker White Beans and Sausage
image credit: Williams Sonoma
 
 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried Great Northern beans, sorted, rinsed, soaked (overnight or quick)

  • 2 lb. of your favorite fresh sausage links

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 4 celery ribs, diced

  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced

  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 box (32 oz.) chicken broth

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1 fresh sage sprig

  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained

  • 1 bag (5 oz.) fresh baby spinach

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Buttered and toasted ciabatta for serving (opt)

  • Freshly grated parmesan for serving (opt)

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans.

  2. Heat 1 Tb. olive oil in the slow cooker. Add the sausages and cook until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  3. If needed, add another 1 Tb. olive oil. Add the onion, celery and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, herbs, soaked beans, and 1 tsp. salt, place sausages on top.

  4. Set the slow cooker to LOW. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 6-8 hours.

  5. When ready to serve, remove sausages, discard the bay leaf and stems from the other herbs. Season beans with salt & pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and parsley. Gently fold in spinach until it is just wilted. Slice sausages and add back to beans.

  6. Serve immediately with crusty toasted bread. Top with parmesan if desired.

 
 

Cooking Tips

  • If serving bread, after getting the slow cooker started, go ahead and slice and butter the bread, then place it in a toaster oven (you aren’t toasting it yet). Later as you add the last few ingredients to the slow cooker, the bread is already in the toaster ready to go.

  • Want to occupy your kids with a short cooking task when you get home? Substitute 2 large Roma tomatoes and let them chop away.

  • Have a small piece of parmesan rind? Throw it in the cooking pot to infuse the soup with more flavor. Discard before serving.

  • Do you like a creamier soup? Before adding extra veggies, puree some of the beans using an immersion blender or regular blender and mix in with the rest of the soup. Or simply mash some beans against the side of the pot and stir in.

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup Variations

  • Is your garden overflowing with greens? Swap other leafy greens for the spinach: escarole, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, etc. Adjust the final cooking time depending on your green of choice.

  • Want to make a vegetarian crockpot soup instead? Skip the sausage and use vegetable broth.

  • Use any combination of fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, etc.

  • Looking for a way to use up leftover ham? Use ham in place of the sausage.

  • For even more nutrition, add other chopped, quick-cooking vegetables when you add the greens: zucchini, yellow squash, etc. You may need to add a bit more broth depending on how many veggies you add and how soupy you prefer the dish.

Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

 
 

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