Italian Sausage and White Beans with Sage (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
Italian Sausage and White Beans with Sage gets extra flavorful when the cooked beans, sausage, and sage are simmered in the Instant Pot or slow cooker with tomatoes and ground fennel. And this delicious recipe is low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. If you’re watching carbs, double the sausage and use less beans for a more carb-conscious dish.
I’ve been having fun discovering that so many of my favorite slow cooker recipes can be made more quickly in the Instant Pot, and it’s fun to have options for recipes for people who prefer different cooking options. This wonderful dish of Italian Sausage and White Beans with Sage was inspired by a lovely woman named Ilva, who lives in Tuscany. I met her online in the early days of blogging and we chatted frequently for a while. Then Ilva stopped focusing on recipes and started to focus on her beautiful food photography, and for the last few years I haven’t talked to her so much.
But I do appreciate Ilva introducing me to rustic Italian dishes like this one, where the emphasis is entirely on the flavors and not on the looks of the dish. And whether you use the Instant Pot or the slow cooker for this Italian Sausage and White Beans with Sage, you’ll definitely have best flavor if you start with dried beans and cook them yourself. But if that just isn’t happening at your house, I’ll also give tips for making this with canned beans. If you want a more carb-conscious dish, double the amount of sausage and cut the amount of beans down to one cup (or less). And no matter how you cook it or what kind of beans you use, please do not skip the dried fennel that makes this so good!
If you’re cooking your own beans, start with 2 cups of fresh dried white beans. If you want to cook the beans on the stovetop, I would soak them in cold water overnight; for cooking dried beans in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot, you can skip the soaking. Put dried beans, celery, garlic, sage, salt, Italian Seasoning, and a little olive oil in the slow cooker or Instant Pot with enough water to just cover the beans. Cook beans 5-6 hours in the slow cooker. (more here about How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker.) In the Instant Pot, lock the book and cook 30 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE; then let beans NATURAL RELEASE for 15 minutes followed by quick release as needed. For either method, drain the beans, saving the large cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
While beans cook (or when they’re nearly cooked for slow cooker method) heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the Italian Sausage, then slice into diagonal pieces and brown the sides of those pieces. (This adds flavor; please don’t skip the browning!) Put the drained beans, sausage pieces, garlic, sage leaves, canned tomatoes, and ground fennel into the slow cooker or Instant Pot with 1/2 cup reserved liquid. For Instant Pot cook 10 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE, then NATURAL RELEASE for five minutes, and then quick release. For slow cooker, put same ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours.
Serve Italian Sausage and White Bean with Sage hot, with a little freshly-grated Parmesan if desired, although the cheese is definitely optional.
More Tasty Ideas for Turkey or Pork Italian Sausage:
Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Italian White Bean, Sausage, and Cabbage Soup ~ Barefeet in the Kitchen
Low-Carb Italian Sausage and Sweet Mini-Peppers Breakfast Bake ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Sausage and Peppers Stuffed Spaghetti Squash ~ Nutmeg Nanny
Low-Carb Roasted Italian Sausage and Sweet Mini-Peppers Sheet Pan Meal ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Sausage Macaroni and Cheese ~ Crazy for Crust
Italian Sausage and White Beans with Sage (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
- 2 cups dried white beans, fresher beans will cook more quickly (Use 4 cans – 15 oz. can – if you don’t want to cook beans from scratch.)
- 2 stalks celery
- 3-4 large whole cloves garlic (or more)
- 3 + 10 fresh sage leaves (or you can use dried ground sage if needed, but use it sparingly)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp. + 1 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning (or use Italian Sausage Seasoning if you have that.)
- 1 T olive oil + 1 T olive oil
- 5 links (about 20 oz.) uncooked turkey or pork Italian sausage (I love Jenni-O Turkey Italian Sausage, which is what I used)
- 1 tsp ground fennel seed (highly recommended, please do not skip)
- 1 can (14.5 oz) petite dice tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 cup cooking water (saved from cooking beans)
- freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional but good)
- If you’re cooking your own beans, start with 2 cups of fresh dried white beans. If you want to cook the beans on the stovetop, I would soak them in cold water overnight; for cooking dried beans in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot, you can skip the soaking.
- Put dried beans, celery, garlic, 3 leaves sage or a pinch of dried sage, salt, 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, and 1 T olive oil in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or in a pan on the stove with enough water to just cover the beans.
- Cook beans 5-6 hours in the slow cooker. (more here about How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker.)
- For Instant Pot, lock the lid and cook 30 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE; then let beans NATURAL RELEASE for 15 minutes followed by quick release as needed.
- To cook beans on the stove, cook at a low simmer until beans are tender; cooking time will depend on how fresh the beans are.
- For either method, drain the beans, saving the large cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
- While beans cook or when slow cooker beans are almost done, heat another 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the outside of sausage well. Let sausage cool and then cut into diagonal pieces. Add another 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil and brown the cut sides of the sausage well. (Don’t skip browning the sausage; this builds flavor.)
- Chop garlic pieces and add the cooked beans, chopped garlic, browned sausage pieces, 10 sage leaves or a little dried sage, canned tomatoes with juice, ground fennel, and the 1/2 cup cooking water from the beans to slow cooker or Instant Pot.
- For slow cooker, cook 2-3 hours on high.
- For Instant Pot, lock lid and then cook at HIGH PRESSURE for 10 minutes; then let the dish NATURAL RELEASE for 5 minutes followed by quick release as needed.
- Serve hot, with some freshly-grated Parmesan to add at the table as desired.
This recipe adapted from an early blogging friend and The Silver Spoon.All images and text ©
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This is a good low-glycemic recipe that would be suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet. South Beach would recommend turkey Italian Sausage, and I’m a huge fan of Jenni-O Turkey Italian Sausage but pork sausage would also be delicious. Dried beans are too high in carbs if you’re following a strict low-carb eating plan, but if you want a more carb-conscious version of this recipe double the sausage and cut the amount of beans in half.
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