Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale is a tasty slow cooker stew that’s loaded with Italian flavors! Use less beans and more sausage to make a lower-carb version of this recipe.

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Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale finished soup in bowls

This Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with 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!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

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

How to Make Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale:

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. Brown the sausages well in a little olive oil  (Don’t skip this step!)
  2. While the sausage browns, dump the Cannellini beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse, and let them drain.
  3. When the sausage is well-browned slice it into pieces about an inch thick.
  4. Add the beans, sausage slices, tomatoes, spices, and canned chicken broth (affiliate link) to the slow cooker and let it cook for about 2 1/2 hours on high (or 5 hours on low.)
  5. Wash and chop the kale to make 4 cups of chopped kale.
  6. Add the kale to the slow cooker and let it cook 45 minutes longer on high (or twice as long on low.) 
  7. 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.
  8. 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 Sausage, Beans, and Greens from Kalyn’s Kitchenl

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 Sausage and Kale

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew has tomatoes, Italian sausage, and kale, and this is a tasty slow cooker stew, great for a weeknight meal!


  • one 19.5 oz. package hot turkey Italian sausage (see notes)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • two 14.5 oz. cans petite dice tomatoes, not drained
  • two 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained (see notes)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel (or more)
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth or stock (see notes)
  • 4 cups chopped kale leaves


  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 if desired.


To make a lower-carb version of this recipe use one can of beans and more sausage.

Use pork Italian sausage if you prefer. You can substitute one can chicken broth, which is going to be slightly more liquid; reduce the broth if you want to keep it a thicker stew.

I used my Crock-Pot 5-Quart Smart-Pot Slow Cooker (affiliate link) 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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 336Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 559mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

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 Sausage and Kale would be approved for all phases of the original 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 but you can make a tasty lower-carb version of this by using more sausage and less beans, and use pork sausage if you prefer!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Slow Cooker Recipes to 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!

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    51 Comments on “Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean Stew with Sausage and Kale”

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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!

  4. It looks delicious.

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

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

  11. 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.

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

  13. What could you use instead of kale?

  14. Thanks Carrian; this was definitely a keeper!

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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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