This 5-Ingredient Italian Bean Stew is a holiday time saver. It is of dinner full of life-giving flavor and nourishment, and is super filling!
This post was originally published in 2014, and has been updated to make it better for YOU!
Do y'all feel like life's gotten a little busier lately? I always feel like the onset of fall comes with ample time to bake, enjoy football, and do fall-ish things like paint pumpkins and get crafty. But WHAM - after Halloween comes and goes, turbo mode commences. Work deadlines increase as the holidays close in on us. Final exams fill the calendars of weary college students. You start agonizing over your Thanksgiving menu. And ironing out plans for Christmas. My to-do list just got 10x longer. Yikes! Who has time to plan weekly menus? Grocery shop? Or even cook for that matter???
Enter this 5-ingredient Italian Bean Stew. It's smiling at you and saying "relax. Take a deep breath." Yes, friends. It's soup to the rescue. I'm talking about the kind that's cheap, easy, healthy, and takes minimal effort. This soup is going to nourish your body with the vitamins, minerals, lean protein, and healthy carbs that it needs to get you through the new year. And on top of all that, it's full of warm, savory flavors. I don't know about you, but every to-do list seems less daunting to me when I've had a good food experience. Something that satisfies my need to enjoy flavors, aromas, colors, and the company of people I care about and need to make time for no matter how hectic things get.
This stew also keeps on giving - we had it for dinner last night, I enjoyed a bowl for lunch today and plan on taking the rest for lunch tomorrow. Seriously, it will keep you going all week if you make enough. If you are feeding hearty appetites, consider throwing in a few cups of cooked pasta, quinoa, farro, or any cooked whole grain. If you drive by a good artisan bakery during your daily commute, pick up a loaf of crusty whole grain bread to dip in the broth.
Another yummy addition: I like to throw in the rind from a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese. Whenever I get to the bottom of a hunk of Parmesan, I wrap the rind in plastic wrap, place in an airtight container and freeze for later use in soups. It's a trick I learned from watching Everyday Italian with Giada on the Food Network, and it adds such a nutty depth of flavor to the soup broth. Do you have any go-to dinner staples that you can rely on in a pinch? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!
Products used to make this recipe:
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5-Ingredient Italian Bean Stew
- 16 ounces dried white beans, such as Great Northern, Cannellini, or Navy beans (See notes for substituting with canned beans)
- 8 ounces hot Italian chicken sausage, about 2 links, casings removed
- 1 (28 ounce) can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 6 cups chopped kale, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
- Optional: the rind from a Parmesan cheese wedge
- Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste
- Place the dried beans in a bowl. Cover with cold water to two inches above the beans. Let sit for 6-8 hours (I do this overnight or during the work day).
- Drain the beans through a strainer, and discard any broken beans.
- Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and the Italian sausage. Cook the sausage until browned, being sure to break up chunks with a wooden spoon.
- Add the tomatoes and break them apart into pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the soaked beans, 8 cups of chicken stock, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Increase heat to high to bring a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 1 hour with a lid on top and slightly ajar. Stir occasionally.
- After an hour of simmering, add the chopped kale and Parmesan rind, if using. Add water as needed to thin the soup. Continue simmering until the kale and beans reach desired level of tenderness, about an additional 30-45 minutes.
- Season the finished soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot and enjoy!
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