Veggie Italian Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup

veggie Italian sausage and cannellini bean soupI call this hearty bistro fare. It won’t make your tastebuds zing with a million different flavors and sensations going on, but it’ll fill your belly up for sure. Just good stick-to-your-ribs homestyle cooking.

You could substitute just about any green for the baby spinach. In fact, baby spinach is so tender that it practically melts away to nothing as this cooks. You might try Swiss chard, kale, or mature spinach. Double the amount of greens for a more pronounced taste.

I like spiral-type pasta in this, so I call for fusilli or rotini. All the better to catch the tasty broth with. But this would work just fine with any smaller pasta, such as mezze penne, orecchiette, or medium shells. To brighten the appearance, you could use tricolor pasta. Got some frozen gnocchi? I haven’t tried it with that, but I have a feeling it would be perfect in here.

Finally, the cannellini beans provide a nice accent, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use another type of bean. Pinto, navy, or even chickpeas would work well here.

Veggie Italian Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup
About 7 cups.

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
12 oz. pkg Italian style veggie sausages, such as Lightlife Smart Sausages® Italian Style (contains egg whites)
1 leek, top and bottom trimmed off, chopped and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 cups water
15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 cup fusilli or rotini pasta, uncooked
1 tsp cider or white vinegar
½ tsp sea salt
black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet. Slice the sausages into ¼” pieces and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leek and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the vegetable stock, water, cannellini beans, and stewed tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the baby spinach, pasta, vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper and return to a simmer. Cook according to the package directions on the pasta. When that is ready the soup is ready. Enjoy.

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