A quick and easy, under 500 calorie dinner made in the slow cooker.
When you find a dinner under 500 calories that you love, you tend to make it over and over again. I’m talking about the kind of dinner that’s so rich and satisfying, you don’t find yourself with the urge to snack an hour after dinner is over. The type of meal that’s so unbelievably good that you think about those leftovers all morning long, just waiting to pop ’em in the microwave and make your coworkers all kinds of jealous. “You’re on a diet and you’re eating this?” Yes, this Crock-Pot Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Stew has all that and more, all in an attractive 434 calorie package.
Honestly, I wouldn’t believe you if told me this was a low-calorie recipe. More than that, I wouldn’t think for a second that it was made in a Crock Pot! It’s so rich and creamy, and it has an incredible depth of flavor. I would naturally assume that you slaved over the stovetop all day to make it happen. Of course, I would be wrong on both counts!
Starting with Dried Beans
If you haven’t cooked dried beans before, this Crock-Pot Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Stew is a great place to start. It might feel a little intimidating. After all, haven’t you heard all those horror stories of people who simmered beans all day long and they never cooked through? Don’t worry, because this recipe is fool proof so long as you follow our tips and tricks.
It all starts with soaking your beans. If you didn’t have time for that, we have a workaround, but overnight soaking is the most hands-off way. Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them by at least two inches of cold water. It doesn’t have to be precise, but you’ll want lots of extra water here because the beans are going to expand to about twice their volume. Let them sit for at least 8 hours (or, overnight) at room temperature. The next day, simply drain the beans and toss them into the slow cooker, discarding the soaking liquid.
If you forgot to soak your beans, you can use the quick soak method. Place the beans in a large stockpot and cover them by at least two inches of water. Heat the beans over high heat until the water begins to boil. Turn off the heat, cover the stockpot, and let it sit for about an hour. Then, drain the beans and proceed like normal.
Let The Slow Cooker do All the Work
Simmering dried beans on the stovetop can be tricky. You don’t want too rapid of a boil, or the beans will burst. But, you don’t want it to be too low of a simmer or the beans will take forever to cook! With the slow cooker, you don’t have to worry about any of that.
Simply put them into the pot and turn it on. The Crock Pot maintains the perfect temperature to cook those beans in three to six hours, depending on whether it’s on low or high. All the while, the flavors of the smoked sausage, herbaceous thyme, and pungent garlic infuse an insane amount of flavor into those plain-old beans!
Where most people run into trouble with beans is by adding an acidic ingredient (like tomatoes). You don’t have to worry about that with this recipe, since we don’t use any tomatoes, lemon juice, or vinegar in the recipe. But, if you did want to add any of those ingredients, be sure to wait until the beans are cooked all the way through before tossing them into the slow cooker.
Crock-Pot Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Stew
- 1 pound navy beans soaked overnight
- 3 cups chicken broth low-sodium
- 1 yellow onion diced small
- 2 carrots medium, peeled and diced small
- 4 celery stalks diced small
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves not ground thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound smoked turkey sausage rope diced into 1/4 inch half moons
- 4 cups kale stems removed and chopped
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese fat-free, shredded
- In a crock pot, combine all ingredients except for kale and parmesan cheese. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. Stir in the kale and cook on high for 30 minutes or until wilted. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with parmesan cheese.
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