Chicken Apple Sausage and Bean Soup

chicken apple sausage and bean soup
Yesterday, I had a package of chicken apple sausage and a craving for soup. I also had beans, onions and diced tomatoes in the pantry and carrots and celery in the fridge. I had a little bit of pesto that needed to be used. So, I created this recipe for dinner last night, which came together with about 15 minutes of prep and the amount of time it took for my InstantPot to go through the “soup” cycle.
The result was a delicious, hearty and healthy soup that my whole family enjoyed. My 13 year old rarely eats a large portion of soup, but she gobbled this one up. My husband went back for seconds.
The thing about chicken apple sausage is that it’s a great ingredient to have on hand, and it lasts a long time in the fridge. I make this easy roasted sausage and vegetable dish about once every other week because it’s hearty and healthy and SO SO EASY.  I have also used it to make this chicken apple sausage pasta. But it’s fun to try new dishes for the same old ingredients, which is how this soup came to be.
The fantastic thing about this soup is that you can add whatever beans you have, whatever veggies you have (diced potatoes, parsnips, whatever other hearty veggies you like) and any seasonings your family enjoys. This recipe is a loose guide, so do whatever sounds good to you. If you prefer chicken broth over veggie, great! If you hate pesto, no worries. If you are a newer chef, once you get the hang of using recipes, you will start to feel more confident in adjusting them to your tastes.
This soup is full of very good things: beans are a wonderful source of protein and fiber and are a great example of a complex carbohydrate (complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and supply a lower more steady release of glucose into the blood stream, which help you feel fuller longer). The carrots and celery are high in antioxidants and fiber and contain vitamins and minerals like beta carotene and vitamin B6. Garlic and onions are from the allium family and have been linked to reduced risk for breast and colon cancers, not to mention that garlic is a natural antiviral and onions are anti-fungal.  The tomatoes are high in lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant thought to protect the body against many different diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. You can feel good about making this soup and serving it to your family, not just because it’s delicious but because it’s nutrient rich.
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 x 15 oz cans of beans, any variety (good choices include white beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and black beans) drained and rinsed
  • 16 cups water or broth (if using water, see next ingredient)
  • 4 tsp vegetable base (I like Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juices
  • 2-4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
  • 4 oz prepared pesto (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 package fully-cooked chicken apple sausage (I like Aidells)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Sauté carrots, celery, garlic and onion on medium high for about 5 minutes in oil, until starting to soften.
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, water, and bouillon and stir.
  3. Add the chicken apple sausage and stir.
  4. Cover and cook on medium low for about 30 minutes, until flavors come together.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in pesto until fully incorporated (pesto is optional)

RECIPE NOTE: You can use an Instant Pot for this recipe. Simply follow instructions 1-3, and then put the lid on and set to “soup” setting. If you want to use a slow cooker, follow instructions 1-3 and put on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6.

This recipe should serve 6-8.

 

You might also like:

Nourishing Lentil, Ham and Potato Soup

One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Vegetarian Wild Rice Salad

Chicken Apple Sausage and Sage Pasta!

chicken apple sausage pasta
Chicken apple and sage pasta

I love pasta.  Everyone loves pasta.  It’s easy to make and there’s countless variations to keep it interesting and fresh.  I make a pasta dish about once a week for my family.  Many times it’s on Monday when we have a busy after-school schedule and I need something easy but still yummy.

The other day I had some chicken apple sausage in the fridge and some freshly picked sage a friend gave me.  I had garlic and shallots and pasta and frozen peas.  I had freshly shaved parmesan.  I knew I could come up with something with all those delicious ingredients.

As the years have passed and I’ve become more comfortable in the kitchen (a lot more comfortable, in fact), I’ve started creating my own recipes.  I might look up another similar recipe to fine-tune cooking temps and times, but I really have started to enjoy putting together my own ingredients and flavors.  For the most part, it has worked.

So, here I am with all these fabulous, simple ingredients.  The following is the recipe I created that was a pretty big hit for the family.  My 11 year old daughter said she prefers the sausage a bit more crispy on the outside (like when I bake it with veggies).  I might let it sit in the pan a bit longer to caramelize next time. But everyone enjoyed it and went back for more.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

12 oz chicken apple sausage (or your sausage of choosing)

2 Tablespoons ribboned fresh sage (keep it in the freezer to use all year)

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 shallots, sliced

1 lb pasta (we had some fall themed pasta from Cost Plus World Market)

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

chicken apple sausage
Sizzling chicken apple sausage.

METHOD:

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet till shimmering

Add sage and fry  until crispy.  Remove from pan for later.

Add shallots and sausage and sauté until shallots are soft, add garlic.

Meanwhile, boil pasta according to package instructions, adding the peas in the last minute of cook time.

Drain pasta/peas and return to the pan with sausage and shallots.  Add crispy sage.

Top with freshly shaved parmesan.

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies

sausage veggies from above
Lots of vegetables and a little bit of sausage

You know those nights where you want to make a hearty and healthy dinner for your family, but with minimal effort and fuss?  This is the dish for those nights.  You will want to put it in your weekly rotation.  It’s so versatile because every time you make it, it comes out a little different.  You can experiment with unique spices, veggies, sausages. You can even make it completely vegan with some sausage made from vital wheat gluten (I find mine at Whole Foods).

My friend Linda first told me how she would make this super easy and delicious meal for her two sons and husband on a regular basis.  That same night I went home and make it for my family, and sure enough it was a big hit.  Not only that, but it’s economical as you can use less sausage than if it were the main event.  Save money by using in-season and local veggies (which are always cheaper than meat anyway).

This is what you do.  Go to the store and purchase any pre-cooked sausage that looks good.  I usually buy an organic version of chicken apple sausage since that’s what my 10 year old daughter loves.  But any kind of sausage will do.  Cut it into rounds and place in a rimmed baking sheet.  Forage in your refrigerator and pantry for whatever vegetables you have on hand for roasting (or pick some up when you grab the sausages).  Tonight I used mushrooms, potatoes, asparagus, onions, carrots and cauliflower.  Chop and place the veggies in the same baking sheet, and mix everything up.

Liberally drizzle olive oil over the whole thing.  Season with whatever feels good at the time.  For me it’s always salt, pepper, garlic powder.  Then I’ll add whatever else I feel like, which tonight meant rosemary and chives.

sausage veggies uncooked close up
There’s so many veggies in here!

Stick in the oven at 450 (or lower if you have more than about 45 minutes) to roast. Use a fork in the most dense vegetable from time to time to check doneness.  Serve with warm bread and fruit for a complete meal.

When it’s done, let cool and watch it disappear.  For larger families you may need two or even three baking sheets. One works for my family of three with my husband and daughter always going back for seconds, and we end up with extras to spare for leftovers.

sausage veggies cooked
Sausage and veggies all roasted and delicious.