You can also make this vegetarian by adding a second (or maybe even a third?) can of beans instead of the sausage, and swapping the chicken base for a vegetable base. Also, you'll probably want to double up on the herbs and spices since the Italian sausage is well seasoned and added a LOT of flavor.
This soup comes together easily and is perfect for freezing. So, stock your freezer now for those chilly winter days ahead when you don't feel like going to the grocery!
Total Recipe cost: $8.45
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Cost per serving: $1.05
Prep time: 30 min. Cook time: 45 min (30 min overlap with prep) Total: 45 min.
|1 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.11|
|1.25 lbs.||sweet Italian Sausage||$4.18|
|1 medium||yellow onion||$0.72|
|1 tsp||minced garlic||$0.08|
|1 (15 oz.) can||white beans||$0.92|
|2 tsp||chicken or vegetable base||$0.14|
|pinch||crushed red pepper (optional)||$0.02|
|to taste||salt & pepper||$0.05|
STEP 1: Squeeze the sausage out of the casings and cook over medium heat, along with the olive oil, in a large pot. Break up the sausage into pieces and cook until no pink remains.
STEP 2: While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. When the sausage is fully cooked, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Stir and cook until the onions are soft.
STEP 3: While the vegetables are softening, take the opportunity to slice the rest of the carrots and celery and package them to freeze (they'll be ready for your next soup!). Pull the kale leaves from the stems and tear into small pieces. Place the torn kale leaves in a colander and rinse well. Once the onions in the pot have softened (the other veggies may not be soft, that's okay), add the kale. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted.
STEP 4: Drain the can of beans and add them to the pot. Also add the chicken base, water, oregano, cumin, red pepper, and black pepper. Stir to combine and heat through (about 10-15 minutes). Taste the soup and adjust the salt and other seasonings if necessary (I added about 1/2 tsp of salt). Serve hot with crusty bread!
Step By Step Photos
This is the Italian sausage that I used. I usually like to use the turkey Italian sausage but the grocery store was out of stock. Booo.
Brown the sausage along with 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
While the sausage is doing its thing, prepare the vegetables. I used one onion, half of the package of carrots, and half of the bunch of celery... the rest will not go to waste.
Once the sausage is fully cooked, add the sliced and chopped vegetables. I also added the garlic at this point (mine was pre-minced). Cook until the onions are softened (about 10 minutes).
While the vegetables are cooking with the sausage, go ahead and slice up the rest of the carrots and celery. Pop them into freezer bags, label, and toss them in the freezer. The next time you want to make soup, they'll be ready to go! ...and they won't end up wilted and moldy in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator.
Also use that time to prepare the kale. Kale is really easy to prep, you don't even need a knife. Just tear the curly leaves off of the tough stems and then tear them into bite sized pieces. Place the torn leaves in a colander and rinse really well.
So, by this point the vegetables in the pot have softened a bit. The carrots and celery won't be very soft but that's okay because you don't want them to be mush by the end. As long as the onions look a little transparent, you're good to go.
Add the cleaned kale leaves and stir and cook until they're wilted (about 5 minutes). If the pot is too full to stir it, place a lid on top and let the steam wilt them for a few minutes before you try to stir. They'll shrink down to a manageable size.
And this is what it will look like once the kale is wilted. It only takes a few minutes.
Drain the can of beans and add them to the pot...
Next, add 6 cups of water, 2 tsp chicken base, and the seasonings (oregano, cumin, red pepper, black pepper). Usually 6 cups of water would require about 2 *tablespoons* of base but the sausage and plethora of vegetables in this soup make their own flavorful stock and I found that I didn't need to add as much chicken base. You will probably need to add salt. Heat the soup all the way through (10-15 min) and *then* taste it and add salt as needed (probably about 1/2 tsp). Always add salt last.
Ahhh, so good, so filling, and SO packed with nutrients that it's not even funny.
This soup just begs for a good, crusty bread to soak up that delicious broth.
Have I mentioned how much I love kale? I do. A lot.