There's a reason sausage, bean, and kale soup is such a classic recipe. It's both hearty and healthy, and it's a one-pot dinner that comes together in about 40 minutes. Pro tip: Make a double batch and freeze half for later!
Yes, there are fancier versions of this soup out there, but I adapted this one from Fine Cooking for those of us who need our meals to be as easy — and quick — as possible. To save an extra 10 minutes, use sliced fully cooked sausage and look for pre-diced mirepoix mix in the produce section of your grocery store.
Make the Recipe Your Own
Once you try the sausage and bean soup with kale as it is, feel free to swap in different ingredients and play with the flavorings. Here are some easy tweaks:
- Use hot Italian sausage or kielbasa instead of the sweet Italian sausage. Or, use chicken or turkey sausage instead of pork to cut down on fat.
- Toss in a Parmesan cheese rind when you add the broth. This will give the soup a deeper, slightly cheesy flavor.
- Swap in any other fall or winter veggies you like. For example, use diced pumpkin or winter squash or parsnips instead of the carrots, and try diced celery root (celeriac) instead of the celery.
- Substitute other greens. There's no denying kale's health benefits, but not everyone is a fan. If you've got some kale haters in the house, use baby spinach or chopped chard or collard green leaves instead.
Italian Sausage, Bean, and Kale Soup
- Large pot
- Cutting board and knife
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 celery rib, finely diced
- 1½ teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (a.k.a. Italian seasoning)
- Kosher salt
- 5 or 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ¼ teaspoon dried red chile or urfa pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (1-pound) bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn or chopped into bite-size pieces
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Pinch off bite-size pieces of the sausage and add them to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate.
- Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the pot, still over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrot, celery, dried herb blend, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes, then stir in the garlic, chile flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then pour in the broth.
- When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the sausage and any accumulated juices, and the beans. Stir well, then add the kale. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the lemon juice, and then simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve hot with crusty bread or buttered toast.