Tuscan White Bean, Sausage and Kale Soup

December 29, 2017

The week after the Holidays, I always feel like I need a detox. So many sweets, carbs and things I don't normally eat leave me feeling bloated and heavy. So I try to get in as much veggies and light meals as I can. This recipe is perfect for when you want something light and packed with nutrients, but still warm, filling and comforting. 

 

I first made this recipe a long time ago, trying to recreate the Olive Garden Sausage soup. If you've never had it, it's really good. But its super creamy, salty, and fatty and always leaves me with a stomach ache, so I recreated it with more veggies, less salt, and less fat. But kept the creaminess and the tastiness. How did I do it? A few simple swaps and additions. Nixing the bacon, and swapping chicken sausage for pork sausage is an easy way to cut some of the fat and add in a leaner protein. I also added more veggies in the form of carrots and yellow squash. And finally, swap light cream cheese for the cream. Learning some simple tricks like this makes it possible to still have things you love, but without the guilt!

 

 

Makes about 4-5 servings | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

6 whole carrots

4-5 small gold potatoes

3-4 yellow squash

1 lb ground chicken sausage

2 boxes low sodium chicken broth

1 can white beans (drained and rinsed)

1 package lite cream cheese

About 5 cups (or handfuls) chopped tuscan kale (the curly leaf kind)

zest of 1 lemon

1 T vegetable oil

1 t salt

1 t pepper

1 t oregano

1 t red chili flakes (optional)

1 t garlic powder

2 bay leaves (optional)

 

Instructions:

1. Start by prepping the veggies and potatoes. Dice the carrots, squash and potatoes into small cubes, all about the same size. Set aside. Pull out the cream cheese and let it come to room temp.

2. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat, then add 1 T veggie oil, I like to use grapeseed because it has a high heat tolerance. Then add the sausage. Break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula and cook it until it is browned. If you are using stanless steel, the 

3. Add the carrots and potatoes, and season with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, bay leaves and chili flakes.

4. Add 2 boxes of chicken broth. Cover and bring to a low boil. (Go pour a glass of wine and come back in 20 minutes.)

5. Add the squash, beans and 1 package of cream cheese. I find the best way to add the cream cheese is in cubes, so just dice it with a knife, then it mixes into the soup a bit smoother.

6. Cover again and let it boil for another 5-7 minutes.

7. Uncover and mix semi-vigourously to incorporate any leftover un-melted cream cheese. Then add the kale and stir. Let it sit for about 2 more minutes, just to wilt the kale.

8. Serve in a big bowl, and top with lemon zest. This just brightens it up a bit.

ENJOY!

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© 2018 by Hayley D'Auria