Tuscan White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup

This recipe is flexible in the amounts and this is roughly what I made the first time I made it.  Feel free to substitute with what you have available.  This recipe is for a crock pot.  You can also just simmer slowly on the stove.  

  • 2 pounds ground Italian sausage
  • cooking oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch rounds
  • 2 cups dried white beans (like Great Northerns, Cannelini, or Navy Beans), sorted, rinsed, and soaked for 12 hours (or 3-4 cans of white beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning or 1-2 TBSP pesto
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (24 oz) can tomatoes, diced, chopped, or pureed
  • 4 large kale leaves, chopped (tough mid-ribs removed) OR 1 bag baby kale, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese and/or sour cream, for topping

In large pot or skillet, cook Italian sausage in oil. Add in the onion. Stir every minute or so until sausage is browned. Add to the slow cooker or large cooking pot.  Add the broth, carrots, soaked beans, garlic, Italian seasoning/pesto, and bay leaf.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (for soaked beans) or 4 hours (for canned beans).  Remove the lid. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the tomatoes and kale.  Ladle into bowls and top each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of parmesan cheese or sour cream.