This creamy rustic soup or stew is perfect for slow carb diets or for cold-weather cooking. Cannellini beans and sausage make it high protein, the kale adds tons of nutrients and flavor and the creamy broth give it a velvety texture. Serve it with or without rustic bread.
This post may contain affiliate links, and you can read our disclosure information here–
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
The key ingredients to this dish are really the white beans an the kale, and the Sofritto (sautéed onion-carrot-celery mixture). Typical substitutions and additions for the other ingredients include the following:
- Sausage: I used andouille sausage, but any kind of sausage (ground or links) can be substituted with good results. Alternatively you can use bacon or pancetta.
- Beans: You can use any kind of beans, but the classic stew uses white beans. Cannellini is my favorite, but Great Northern, or navy beans are great also.
- Kale: I like Tuscan kale but you can also use curly kale also. I have also made a similar Tuscan stew with cabbage that was really good.
Kale has really become a darling dish in the food world, primarily due to its nutrient value, but also because it tastes good! If you want a great kale recipe without the beans and sausage try this steamed kale side dish. It goes with any main dish.
- Parmesan Cheese (sprinkled on top as a finish)
- Tomatoes: many recipes for this stew use 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes. If you want to increase the tomato flavor, add some sun-dried tomatoes also. I like to keep it lighter and creamier, but tomatoes are a popular addition.
- Seasoning: I used smoked paprika as I love the smoky but subtle heat it offers the dish. Italian seasoning is a popular addition, as is dried basil or oregano.
Step by Step Illustrations
This stew/soup comes together very quickly with minimal preparation. Here is what each major step looks like, but check out the recipe below for the details.
Step #1: Slice sausage and brown in oil in a dutch oven; remove and set aside after browned
Step #2: chop onions, carrots, celery, & garlic and cook with smoked paprika in the pot 5-8 min.
Step #3: Add sausage back to pot, and deglaze by adding chicken stock
Step #4: Finely chop the kale
Step #5: Add kale and beans to pot and cook 5-10 minutes
Step #6: Add cream to the stew, adjust for salt, and add a squeeze of lemon.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you make the stew without the added cream at the end, it will freeze just fine. Cream tends to separate when frozen, so you would need to freeze before adding the cream and then add the cream after you have defrosted and reheated the stew.
There is no thickener in the stew and there are no potatoes to help thicken it. That said I find it quite thick on it’s own from the beans, the other vegetables and the cream. You can add more chicken broth if you prefer it thinner like a clear soup.
Slow Carb Bean Recipes
While beans are not considered part of a low carb or keto diet, they are compliant with a slow carb diet (4-hour body diet) and they are a great source of protein. Here are some more recipes designed for a slow carb diet:
- When & How to Used Dried Beans or Canned Beans
- Refried beans in the Instant Pot
- Romano Beans & Cherry Tomato Saute
- Roasted Chickpeas as a Low Carb Snack
- Pork Pozole with Garbanzo Beans
Italian White Bean & Kale Stew
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 12 Ounces andouille sausage or other sausage, sliced into 1/2” coins or slices
- 3 Cloves garlic
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3 Stalks celery
- 2 Teaspoons smoked paprika
- 5 Cups chicken broth
- 8 Ounces kale finely chopped
- 3 Cans cannellini beans 15 ounce cans
- ½ Cup heavy cream
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1-2 lemon wedges optional
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in dutch oven and add sausage slices. Cook until browned, add garlic for 30 seconds but do not burn. Remove sausage to a plate and set aside.3 Tablespoons olive oil, 12 Ounces andouille sausage, 3 Cloves garlic
- Add another 1-2 tablespoons oil to dutch oven and heat up. Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook 5-8 minutes or until caramelized. Stir in smoked paprika and cook another 2 minutes.1 onion, 2 carrots, 3 Stalks celery, 2 Teaspoons smoked paprika
- Add chicken broth (to deglaze) and bring to a low boil. Add kale and beans and salt and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.5 Cups chicken broth, 8 Ounces kale, 3 Cans cannellini beans
- Add cream, taste and add more salt if needed. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the stew, stir and serve.1/2 Cup heavy cream, 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1-2 lemon wedges