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Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale is a tasty slow cooker stew that’s low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use Stew Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN this Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew!

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale found on KalynsKitchen.com.

This Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale has some of my favorite flavors, and I love adding the kale near the end of the cooking time so it’s still a little chewy in the stew. I used my favorite Turkey Italian Sausage for this recipe, but use pork sausage if you prefer.

My friend Lydia and I have both become quite infatuated with experiments in our slow cookers, and the experimental part in this Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale was adding the kale to the slow cooker after the other ingredients had cooked for a few hours.  I was really thrilled with how the raw kale softened perfectly in the slow cooker with just a little more cooking time, and the slightly chewy kale was one of my favorite parts of this dish!

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale found on KalynsKitchen.com.

Brown the sausages well in a little olive oil  (Don’t skip this step!) While the sausage browns, dump the Cannellini beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse, and let them drain.

When the sausage is well-browned slice it into pieces about an inch thick. Add the beans, sausage slices, tomatoes, spices, and chicken stock to the slow cooker and let it cook for about 2 1/2 hours on high (or 5 hours on low.)

Wash and chop the kale to make 4 cups of chopped kale. Add the kale to the slow cooker and let it cook 45 minutes longer on high (or twice as long on low.)  Sorry I forgot to take another photo when the kale was done, but it was tender but still slightly chewy after 45 minutes.  If you’d like softer kale, let it go a bit longer.

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale found on KalynsKitchen.com.

Serve hot with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

More Slow Cooker Recipes with Dried Beans:

Beans and Legumes Index ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Black Beans with Sofrito from The Perfect Pantry
Slow Cooker Recipe for Louisiana-Style Red Beans and Rice from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Bean and Cheese Burrito Casserole from A Year of Slow Cooking
Slow Cooker Sausage, Beans, and Greens from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage from Taste and Tell

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale is a tasty slow cooker stew, great for a weeknight meal!

Ingredients:

  • 5 links (19.5 oz.) hot turkey or pork Italian sausage
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel (or more, I love fennel in recipes like this)
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 4 cups chopped kale leaves
  • freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan, add sausages, and cook turning often, for 10 minutes or until sausage is nicely browned on all sides.
  2. Remove sausage to a cutting board to let it cool.
  3. While sausage cooks, dump the two cans of cannellini beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water (until no more foam appears.)  Let beans drain well.
  4. As soon as the sausage is cool enough to handle, slice it into round pieces about 1 inch thick.
  5. Put sliced sausage, drained beans, tomatoes with juice, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, ground fennel, and chicken stock into the slow cooker and stir gently.
  6. Let cook for about 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 hours on low.
  7. While the stew is cooking, chop the kale, cutting away and discarding any thick inner ribs.  (Wash kale in a salad spinner if you’re using garden kale.)
  8. After 2 1/2 hours on high (or 5 hours on low), add the kale and stir gently into the stew.
  9. Continue cooking stew about 45 minutes more on high (or 1 1/2 hours on low).
  10. Serve hot, with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Notes:

Equipment: 
I used my Crock-Pot 5-Quart Smart-Pot Slow Cooker for this recipe, but a slightly smaller slow cooker will work.

This freezes well and can be reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.

Recipe created by Kalyn.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
With lower-fat turkey Italian sausage and a moderate amount of Parmesan cheese, this Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale would be approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet and other low-glycemic eating plans  Even though dried beans are a low-glycemic ingredient, remember they are limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup for phase one of South Beach, so adjust portion sizes accordingly. Beans would be too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb diet plan. Use pork sausage if you prefer!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Click here for more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale found on KalynsKitchen.com

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49 comments on “Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, and Kale”

  1. I've made this several times and love it! I was wondering if anyone knew how I could convert this to an instant pot recipe?

    • Glad you have enjoyed it. I'm afraid I'm not experienced enough with the Instant Pot yet to know how to do it that way without trying it, sorry!

    • I make this recipe as is, and a variation with smoked sausage and smoked paprika instead of the fennel, regularly and just tried it for the first time in my Instantpot. Since I used smoked sausage, I didn’t saute, and just put all the ingredients in the Instantpot on the “soup” setting (30 minutes). When it was done I did a manual release, added the kale, and put it back to pressure for 1 minute, followed by another manual release. It turned out great! If I hadn’t used smoked sausage I would have either sauteed the Italian sausage in the Instantpot before adding the other ingredients, or used the “meat/stew” setting (35 minutes).

  2. Sorry, I don't know anything else to substitute for it. You could leave it out but it does add a lot of flavor.

  3. I love this recipe so much! Unfortunately, I can't always find Italian sausage where I live, so I tried using smoked sausage (like kielbasa or rookworst) – since it's already cooked I didn't brown it, just sliced and tossed it into the crock pot, and add smoked paprika instead of the fennel. Different from your original, but still tasty. Thanks for putting such effort into this wonderful blog!

  4. I've been craving something like this all week. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I never considered putting greens in a slow cooker. Must try this.

    I think I've got most of the ingredients and once the roads improve my husband is going to the grocery store. This would be so perfect for our weather.

  6. You can try it, but I don't think the recipe will be nearly as flavorful without the sausage. Sausage has a lot of spices and seasonings that the chicken won't have. I've never made it with chicken though, so it might still be good. Let me know if you try it.

  7. I was just wondering if I could use Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts in place of the sausage??

    I don't have any sausage.
    Thanks
    Cindy

  8. Karen, so glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Really good recipe! My whole family liked it. I used regular Italian sausage to make it more healthy. Ha! I also made it on the stove instead since I did not remember it was a crock pot recipe until I saw the recipe at dinner time. Thanks for the tip on adding more liquid for stove top cooking.

  10. EmmyJane, that is a good tip!

  11. Hey Kayln!
    I love your recipes and I make them all the time. I just wanted to tell you about a little trick that I did to this recipe that I think adds a lot of flavor. I used the last 1/4 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan that I browned the turkey sausage in, then scraped up all the good "bits" before adding that liquid mixture to the crock pot.
    Emily

  12. I think any sausage with good flavor will be fine. If you want it spicier, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

  13. I am making this today with some chicken sausage. It's not spicy, but it does have roasted red pepper in it. Do you think it will come out ok using this?

  14. I found this on Pinterest a while back, and decided to make it today. I absolutely love it! I didn't have the basil or fennel, so I just used Italian seasoning. It didn't need a touch of salt, it's perfect! Thank you!

  15. THIS was so SUPER DELICIOUS!! i never imagined id love it as much as i do, but i would up eating this every night from sunday to friday!! You just gave me a new staple in my diet thank you so much!!

  16. Glad to hear you've been enjoying it so much!

  17. This is rapidly becoming one of my all-time favorite stew recipes! I've had a hard time getting my hands on fresh kale, and I wanted something with a little "chew" to it, so I've been using the darkest, greenest fresh savoy cabbage I can find. It's so good that I'm having a hard time imagining how kale could be better! We don't have Italian turkey sausage here either, so I've been using regular hot Italian pork sausage, but I omit the olive oil and cut it into "coins" before browning it, then pat it down well with paper towels to get all the fat I can out of it. Thanks for this recipe–from my whole family!

  18. psteve, so glad it turned out for you.

    Amber, so glad you like the recipe. And no worries about posting twice. I know it seems screwy sometimes.

  19. OMG, I came here to dig up some old favorite recipes (maybe southwest pot roast), and decided to try this one instead. It's the best thing I've made and eaten in a long time! I've had a few taste tests, and it's all I can do to wait for my boyfriend to get here. Amazing. 🙂

  20. Turned out really well. The beans I had were really good quality, and are so plump and creamy. I had some bacon grease from breakfast, so I browned the sausages in that. Also had some fresh basil, so I used that too. My crockpot wasn't big enough to hold it all, so when it came time to cook the kale (I had a package of chopped kale from Trader Joe's), I moved everything to the dutch oven and cooked it slowly there.

  21. Kelly, you MUST get a small slow cooker. It's so much fun.

  22. Classic, favorite flavors in this, Kalyn! We love cannellini beans to begin with — they make a bowl of food extra comforting. I'll have to try the slow cooker method when I remember to get a small cooker.

  23. Doren, I think the chicken sausage will be excellent in this!

  24. Sounds fantastic. I can't wait to make this. Just bought some interesting chicken sausages with spinach and feta. I think they'd be fine… I do have all the other ingredients, just made a batch of vegetable broth, and it is a rainy Sunday. perfect.

  25. So glad people are liking this. These are some of my favorite colder-weather tastes too!

  26. This has all the flavors of cooler weather that I'm starting to crave! With a good hunk of crusty bread, I'd happily gobble this up for supper all winter long!

  27. It looks delicious.

  28. I really like this flavor combo – so comforting!

  29. LunaTechChick, chicken broth will definitely work. If the broth you have tastes kind of watery, I would simmer it for a while to reduce it and concentrate the flavor a little more. Maybe reduce by about 1/3 if you have enough broth to do that.

  30. Thanks Lydia. I do think you're ahead of me in the experimenting!

  31. I totally wanna make this tomorrow! But I don't have stock. I wonder if using chicken broth instead would make it not as yum…do you think you can substitute broth for the stock?

  32. Oh, this is completely my kind of dish! I *am* having fun experimenting with my slow cooker, and adding greens toward the end of the cooking is one of my favorite techniques. It's a great way to keep the greens from disintegrating!

  33. psteve, that would probably be even better. My only caution is to be sure the beans are soft before you add the tomatoes.

  34. I have some good dried cannellinis here, and I think I'll cook them in the crockpot for a couple hours alone before I add everything else.

  35. I think other types of greens like swiss chard or spinach would be good in this, but the cooking time will be shorter.

  36. What could you use instead of kale?

  37. Thanks Carrian; this was definitely a keeper!

  38. This looks so filling, and apparently I'm craving salty foods because I want to eat all of that cheese!

  39. RP You could make this simmered in a pot on the stove, but I would use at least double the amount of stock. The cooking time would also be much shorter, and I'd check occasionally to see if you need more liquid.

  40. It sound gorgeous! Do you think it would also work if a normal pot was used? I really enjoy reading your blog! Thanks, Róisín

  41. Thanks Maura, and I do think you could make a good vegetarian version of this.

    Hi Karen! I think browning the sausage makes a big difference. Really liked this.

  42. yum! I'll have to try this one. I like how you browned the sausage…probably made it taste and look better.

  43. I just shared this on my FB wall. It wouldn't be *quite* as good but it could easily be made vegetarian using veggie sausages and veg stock. Drooling in Charlotte, NC, Trained Chef Miss Maura

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