One of my resolutions this year is to include more vegetables in my recipes, but always with the criteria that they must be full of flavor and simple to cook. No bland vegetables allowed! This Tuscan dish is a sausage been stew with Winter cabbage as the vegetable. It is a full-flavored, slow carb comfort food and comes together in 30 minutes.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Substitutes for Italian sausage
I used mild Italian sausage (uncooked) and removed the casings before cooking in the skillet. Hot Italian sausage is another good alternative if you like a little more spice. Turkey sausage and breakfast sausage all work
Chorizo (not the cured kind) would be great and add even more spice to the stew. Some people use pancetta or cured meats, which are great but just know that they do not render the fat that is used to braise the cabbage in. You could add oil instead of the sausage fat, but the taste would be less robust.
Using dried beans instead of canned
Dried beans cooked in an instant pot or on the stove ahead of time are preferred for many dishes that highlight the beans, as they can offer more flavor and texture. In hearty stews however, I find it easier and just as tasty to use canned beans. In this stew/casserole, the beans are combined with strong ingredients (sausage and cabbage) and their role is more along the lines of adding texture and protein.
Spices and Herbs
Tuscan dishes favor many of the Mediterranean herbs, and can be used interchangeably. I used thyme in this dish, but oregano and rosemary are excellent substitutes.
Choice of liquid determines if it is a stew, soup or casserole
I made this recipe to be more of a casserole than a soup. Stew is the in-between title. The first time I made it, I used 1/2 cup of heavy cream and no other liquid, which I found to be too dry.I didn’t really want a soup however, so I compromised with 1/2 cup of cream and 1 cup of water.
You could easily substitute chicken broth for the liquid or vegetable broth if you are vegetarian. If you want to turn this dish into a soup, use 4 cups of broth. Soup, stew, casserole……they’re all absolutely wonderful!
Is Sausage Bean Stew Slow carb, Low carb or Keto?
Everything in this dish works on a slow carb diet except for the panko breading, and the panko is truly optional. It adds the crispy crunch of a crust which is nice, but not necessary.
The beans are not considered low carb or keto, but they are compliant with slow carb diets. They do have a lot of carbs, but the high level of fiber makes it a complex carb and offsets the glycemic response.
The one dietary ingredient that the 5 Blue Zones (areas of the world with the highest number of healthy people over 100) have in common is beans.
Beans are an excellent protein source which vegetarians have known about for ages. I find them extremely helpful when trying to cut meat consumption and still maintain a healthy amount of protein in your diet. Another similar great “stew” is this Italian white bean, kale and sausage stew.
Inexpensive way to batch cook and enjoy later
The ingredients in this stew are inexpensive and keep well in the refrigerator or pantry. Since you only use 1/2 of a cabbage and 8 ounces of sausage, make 2 pots and freeze the second batch in small, portable containers. It works great as a lunch that can be reheated at home or at the office.
Other Comforting Hearty Soups & Stews
In the heart of Winter there is nothing more comforting than a hearty warm stew, a glass of wine and a good read. Here are a few of my favorite Winter stews/soups:
- Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew
- Low Carb Oyster Stew
- Osso Buco with (or without) Lamb Shanks
- Cioppino (and Bouillabaisse)
- Slow Cooked Pork Chile Verde
- Keto Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth
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Recipe for Sausage Bean Stew with Cabbage
Tuscan White Bean, Sausage and Cabbage Stew
- 8 Ounces Italian sausage casings removed; use hot or sweet
- 1-2 Tablespoon olive oil can use more if sausage doesn’t have much fat
- ½ medium cabbage Quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 large onion Halved and thinly sliced
- 2 Cups canned cannellini beans 2 cups rinsed and drained (can be made ahead with dried beans)
- 1 Teaspoon Thyme or oregano could also use rosemary
- ½ Cup Heavy cream
- 1 cup water use more if you want more of a stew rather than a casserole
- ½ Cup grated parmesan
- ½ Cup panko optional; leave out if slow carb
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Add a bit of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Remove casing from sausages and sauté sausage for about 5 minutes in the skillet, breaking it apart with a spatula or wooden spoon. When sausage is no longer pink, remove it to a plate and set aside.8 Ounces Italian sausage
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat up. Then add the sliced cabbage the sliced onion and a little salt and cook over medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned and somewhat caramelized. This will take about 10 minutes.1-2 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 medium cabbage, 1 large onion
- When cabbage-onion mixture is browned and caramelized, add sausage back to the skillet. Then add the crushed thyme, the beans, the cream and the water. Stir everything together thoroughly.2 Cups canned cannellini beans, 1 Teaspoon Thyme or oregano, 1/2 Cup Heavy cream, 1 cup water
- In a small bowl stir together parmesan and panko (if using). This will be the topping of the casserole. If your skillet is ovenproof, just sprinkle the topping over the skillet ingredients and place in the oven for 15 minutes. If your stew/casserole was made in a skillet that is not ovenproof, transfer the ingredients to an ovenproof dish first, then sprinkle on the topping and place in oven.To brown up the topping even more you can set the oven to broil for the last 2 minutes.1/2 Cup grated parmesan, 1/2 Cup panko
- Serve with a glass of pinot grigio! This is very filling and doesn’t really need bread to go with it.
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