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Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto is delicious and easy to make! I recommend Cannellini beans if you’re not a chickpea fan for this tasty stew that’s South Beach Diet Phase One, low-glycemic, gluten-free, and easy-to-cook!

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Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

When I first started blogging I thought everyone loved Chickpeas (also called Garbanzo Beans) as much as I do, but now I realize some of you aren’t all that enthused about these ultra-nutritious beans.  If you’re one of those people who’s not especially a chickpea fan, I hope you’ll trust me when I  promise that this Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto is truly amazing.

Hanging out in the slow cooker with the spicy turkey Italian sausage and tomatoes makes the chickpeas creamy and full of flavor.  And the seasonings in this recipe are perfect, with the addition of a small amount of the pesto at the end as a flavor-boosting way to finish the dish.  If you try it I bet you will like it, but if I can’t convince you that this combination with chickpeas is really, really good, I hope you’ll try this recipe with Cannellini beans or any type of white bean. You’ll be glad you did, I promise!

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

For this recipe I’d use my favorite turkey Italian sausage comes raw in a casing. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing and brown it well in a small amount of olive oil.  (Yes, it is important to brown the sausage before you put it in the slow cooker.  Don’t rush this step.) Be sure to choose a gluten-free sausage if needed. Then push the sausage over and saute the onions a few minutes, adding the garlic and herbs for the last minute before you throw it all in the slow cooker. Drain the chickpeas in a colander placed in the sink, and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Put them in the slow cooker with the browned sausage, onions, and spices.

I added one can of diced tomatoes and one can of crushed tomatoes for this, but 2 cans of either one will work too. I cooked this in my Ninja Cooker, which is six quarts, but as you can see a smaller slow cooker will also work. I cooked this for about 3 1/2 on high in the Ninja, but it might take a little longer in a regular slow cooker.  (You could also cook it about 8-9 hours on low.) I used some of my frozen pesto, which I thawed just enough to chop it up.

Photography mystery, I have no idea why the pesto looks so much lighter green here than in the photo above.  Stir it in and cook about 20 minutes longer. And I was surprised that the green pesto didn’t show up at all in the finished dish, but it added amazing flavor.

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

Serve this hot, with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

More Tummy-Warming Soups and Stews:

Soup or Stew Index ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
CrockPot Red Lentil, Chickpea, and Tomato Soup with Smoked Paprika ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Lentil Soup with Chickpeas and Quinoa ~ Souvlaki for the Soul
Chickpea Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Basil ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vegan Coconut Curried Chickpea Soup ~ Cheeky Kitchen

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 Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto is delicious and easy to make!


  • 2 tsp. olive oil (or slightly more, depending on your pan)
  • 1 pkg. (19.5 oz.) raw turkey Italian Sausage (hot or mild, but I used hot)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel (probably optional, but this adds amazing flavor)
  • 2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
  • 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes (Or use all diced or all crushed tomatoes if that’s what you have on hand.)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto (homemade or purchased)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional, but good)


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, squeeze the sausage out of the casings (discard casings), and cook the sausage over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned, breaking it apart with a turner as it cooks.  Don’t rush this step; it will take about 10 minutes to get the sausage browned.
  2. When the sausage is nicely browned, push it to one side of the pan, add onions, and cook until they’re starting to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic, ground fennel, and Italian Herb Blend and cook 1 minute more.  (If you have a Ninja, you can cook the sausage and onions right in the slow cooker, but it’s faster on the stove.) Transfer sausage/onion mixture to the slow cooker.
  4. Drain garbanzo beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain and then add to slow cooker with the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and water.
  5. Cook for about 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.  (The Ninja cooks a little hot, so cooking times might be slightly less if you’re using that.)
  6. When the beans are quite soft and the flavors are well-combined, add the pesto and cook about 20 minutes more.
  7. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and serve hot, with Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.


I used my six-quart Ninja Cooker for this recipe, but any 4-5 quart slow cooker will also work.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Chickpeas, turkey Italian Sausage, and tomatoes are all great low-glycemic foods for the South Beach Diet, but dried beans are a limited food for phase one. In a dish like this Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto where there are other foods besides beans serving sizes can be a little bigger, but for Phase One I’d have a small serving of this with a big green salad on the side. This is too high in carbs for a low-carb diet plan.

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 might also like to 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 Calorie Count, 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 Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

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24 comments on “Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto”

  1. My family LOVES this meal! It’s a monthly hit in our family, if not more. Question – is there a way to do this recipe in the Instant Pot? I got rid of my slow cooker when I got my Instant Pot. I still make it using the Slow Cook function, but I’m wondering if there is a quicker way? 

    • So glad you have enjoyed it. I’m guessing you can make it in the Instant Pot. But without trying it I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly how to do it; I don’t think I’m experienced enough with the Instant Pot to do that. Seems like the tricky part is how long you can pressure cooker canned beans without turning them to mush. Maybe try googling that and see if you find any recipes that are similar? And if you do try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. OMG this is SOOOO GOOD! I made it overnight last night to take for lunch today and I've already shared the recipe with my coworker. I used fire-roasted diced tomatoes because that's what I had, and just a little splash of red wine, maybe 1/4 cup (I am bad about measuring and cook by "feel") just for some added depth of flavor. I totally forgot to bring the pesto with me (sad face) but it is really good without so I bet it's even better with! This is definitely going into the rotation.

  3. This recipe sounds amazing! I don't have a slow-cooker, but I do have a Le Creuset dutch oven. Can I make this recipe in the oven? If so, what temperature and for how long?

    • I'm sure you can make this in the oven, but since I haven't done it that way I wouldn't be able to guess how long and what temperature would be best. I bet you could find something similar enough by googling to give you an idea though. Good luck, let me know how it works.

  4. Selena, that sounds good!

  5. Made this recipe without the pesto and added spinach instead. Simple,flavorful and delish!!

  6. Hi Julia, so glad you enjoyed it. And I love that I have started you on the path of using the slow cooker!

  7. Hi … this was my first slow cooker recipe ever and I have to say it was pretty amazing. I didnt have chickpeas so I used lentils and I added small red potatoes cut up in small pcs. My husband absolutely loved it and so did I. It was so flavourful and full of body.
    Thank you so much

  8. Jenny, so glad you guys enjoyed it!

  9. Oh my goodness, this was so delicious. I was unsure at what the final result would taste like, but my husband and i were totally blown away by how totally tasty this was!
    Mine was a bit "soupier" than the picture portrayed, but it was so yummy and we're putting it in our "save" pile of recipes.


  10. Amy, you are too kind! So glad you enjoyed it.

  11. Sometimes I wonder why I even look at other recipe websites because your recipes are so great! Just finished a bowl of this with a slice of whole wheat bread. I love garbanzos so I knew this would be good and I was right! This is going to become a family favorite!

  12. Thanks GiGi, so glad you liked it!

  13. Made this over the weekend…very good!

  14. CJ, so glad you like it, this definitely sings to me too!

  15. This recipe sings to me. ❤ So many favorite flavors and textures in one dish. Yum. Definitely going to make it this week.

    Lydia- If you hate chickpeas, try cannelini beans instead.

  16. Katie me too. And I think cooked-from-scratch chickpeas would only improve this.

  17. I love chickpeas – and usually use them from dried. Any stew with sausage is going to be a hit with us.

  18. Lydia, I did think of you when I wrote that. And I promise you, this is crazy good!

  19. I'm definitely one of those people. I don't love chickpeas (though I do love hummus), but I love everything else in this stew, so I might have to give chickpeas another try.

  20. Becky, they were so, so good in this!

  21. I need to throw chickpeas in soups and stews more often. I forget them somehow and use black beans more often. Thanks for the reminder.

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