Using a 16 bean soup mix makes an easy and fabulous soup in the slow cooker. Neil adds ground sausage in this version, but you could easily make it vegetarian by omitting the meat and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
This bean soup is a great tasting soup for the slow cooker, made hearty with Italian sausage and vegetables. Serve the soup with cornbread or biscuits for a satisfying dinner.
Feel free to use ground or link pork sausage instead of the turkey sausage, or use a smoked sausage in the soup. Ground beef is another great choice.
- 1 package (16 ounces) 16-bean soup or 15-bean soup
- 3 medium bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon oregano (crushed dried leaf)
- 2 cans no-fat chicken stock, low sodium or unsalted
- 2 cups additional water (or enough to cover, as needed)
- 3 ribs celery (chopped)
- 3 medium carrots (diced)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 1 pound turkey Italian sausage (cooked and sliced*)
- 2 cans stewed tomatoes (or diced)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In the slow cooker, combine the bean mixture, bay leaves, oregano, chicken stock, and enough water to cover the beans. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until beans are tender.
- Add the remaining celery, carrots, onion, and garlic along with the cooked sausage and tomatoes and decrease temperature to low. Cook for additional 3 to 4 hours.
- If desired, add cayenne or crushed red pepper along with the garlic and sausage.
- Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
- Serve in a bowl as soup or serve with hot cooked rice.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
*Boil the turkey Italian sausage links or saute them in a small amount of olive oil until browned. Slice and add to the beans. Or use bulk turkey sausage; saute until browned and no longer pink.
Tips and Variations
- Replace the turkey Italian sausage with pork Italian sausage, chorizo, or a spicy smoked sausage. Andouille sausage or kielbasa would work well in this soup.
- Use bulk Italian sausage in the soup. Brown in a large skillet over medium heat, drain, and then add to the soup. Or make it with browned hot or mild breakfast sausage.
- Use ground beef in the soup instead of sausage. Cook until browned and no longer pink.
- For a vegetarian soup, omit the sausage and replace the chicken stock with vegetable broth.