Tuscan Sausage Soup (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

sausage-soup-finish.jpg

Need an easy, gluten-free, low fat, low-cal, weeknight recipe? (Even paleo with a few easy omissions...) Due to a recent giant change in my life, I have had to re-learn how to do quicker cooking while still using whole foods and cooking gluten-free. I was recently hired as a full-time private chef for a local family. Between meal planning, shopping, cooking and delivery for this gig, leaving limited time to cook for my own family. But I live by the creed that I refuse to be the proverbial "cobbler".  This recipe came out of that.

I could go on with lots of verbage, but in the spirit of quick I'm going to skip right to the recipe.

Notes: As always, there is room for interpretation. I had smoked Italian Sausage, but fresh would work well and actually be better, I just didn't have it when I came up with this. Change regular potatoes to sweet potatoes if you like. See below for my secret ingredient that adds lots of flavor for no extra cost (you've probably been throwing this away, but now you won't.)

Step by Step:

Prep all your ingredients

Sausage soup ing
Sausage soup ing

Saute the sausage and veggies

Sausage soup saute
Sausage soup saute

Transfer to Slow Cooker and add remaining ingredients

Sausage soup ing in cp
Sausage soup ing in cp

Add Spices and Chicken Broth

sausage soup spices
sausage soup spices

Tuck in the Secret Ingredient - Parmesan Rinds (they add saltiness, a little creaminess and lots of umami)

Sausage soup secret 2
Sausage soup secret 2

After cooking for designated time (depending on slow cooker setting), serve this warming soup with crusty bread with a sharp cheese.

Sausage soup finish 2
Sausage soup finish 2

Tuscan Sausage Soup (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

Author:

Christi Flaherty

Ingredients

Tuscan Sausage Soup (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

Lots of ingredients, but little hands-on time. This makes a big pot of soup that can provide not only dinner, but a few lunches, too.

Ingredients

1 tbsp neutral oil such as sunflower or avocado

1 lb Italian sausage, cut into slices if smoked or crumbled into big chunks if fresh

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 zucchini, optional

5 cloves garlic, minced

Parmesan rind if you have it

1 sprig of thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

1 sprig of sage (or 1/2 tsp dried)

Big pinch of red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp fennel seeds, optional

1 tsp sea salt

2 small russet or red potatoes cut into 1" pieces

1/2 head dino kale cut into ribbons

6 cups chicken broth

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed, optional

Slow Cooker Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil and saute sausage until browned. Add onion, celery and carrot and saute until translucent. Transfer to a slow cooker and layer with remaining ingredients except beans.
  2. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours or high and cook for 4 hours.
  3. If not using beans, skip to step 5.
  4. A few minutes before serving, puree half of beans and add along with remaining whole beans to slow cooker. Cover and let cook for a few more mintues to warm through.
  5. Serve with crusty bread and sharp cheddar or other sharp cheese.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Turn Instant Pot to Saute setting.
  2. Heat oil until shimmering and add sausage. Sauté until browned then add onion, celery and carrot and cook until translucent. Hit “Off” button.
  3. Layer remaining ingredients except beans on top of sausage and vegetables..
  4. Hit the Manual button and “+” sign until you get to 45 then walk away.
  5. Once the little pressure button has dropped down proceed with recipe. If not using beans, skip to step 5.
  6. A few minutes before serving, puree half of beans and add along with remaining whole beans to instant pot. Hit “Sauté” and bring to a low simmer to warm through.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and sharp cheddar or other sharp cheese.
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