Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Spinach is a tasty stew that starts with dried beans cooked all day in the slow cooker!
I wasn't really planning to post this recipe so soon, but then I realized it would be fun to follow the announcement of my new slow cooker site with a slow cooker recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen! And this Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Spinach will become a recipe template for many more dishes in the future, since the recipe starts with dried beans that are cooked with broth, onions, tomatoes, and spices for 8-10 hours in the slow cooker until the beans are creamy and soft.
I had always heard that tomatoes will cause beans not to soften, but apparently a long cooking time will overcome that, because the beans in this dish were amazing. I added the sausage at the very beginning with the beans, but next time if I was home I'd probably add that halfway through the cooking time so the sausage was a little firmer. Then stir in some chopped spinach at the end and you have a delicious dinner.
Put the dried beans, chicken stock, tomatoes, and spices in the slow cooker. If you're not going to be home, go ahead and add the sausage at this time. If you will be home, I would add the sausage about halfway through the cooking time.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the beans are creamy and as soft as desired (I like them quite well done.)
(Makes about 6 generous servings; recipe adapted slightly from Real Simple Magazine.)
I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe.
1 lb. (2 cups) dried small white beans
1 onion, chopped into fairly small pieces
1 T finely minced garlic
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
6 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes
14 oz. Kielbasa sausage, cut into half-moon slices (use low-fat turkey Kielbasa for South Beach Diet)
4 packed cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
Pick over the beans, removing any broken ones, and add beans to the slow cooker. Chop onion, mince the garlic, and crush the spices with a mortar and pestle (or meat mallet) and add to the slow cooker. Add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker and start to cook on low.
Cut the sausage in half lengthwise, and then slice it into half-moon slices. If you're going to be cooking this while you're not home, add the sausage now and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the beans are nicely softened. If you will be home, I would cook the other ingredients about 5-6 hours and then add the sausage. It will work either way, but the sausage will be softer if you add it for the entire cooking time.
When beans are done to your liking, chop the spinach, turn the slow cooker to high, and cook about 30 minutes more. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on the stew if desired.
South Beach Diet Suggestions
Dried beans are a good low-glycemic choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and using low-fat turkey Kielbasa keeps this recipe South Beach Diet friendly. However dried beans are limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving for Phase One, so even considering the other ingredients in this stew you should have only a small bowl for Phase One.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Ideas with Dried White Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary from Kalyn's Kitchen
White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans from Steamy Kitchen
Pasta with Arugula and White Beans from This Week for Dinner
Baked White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Parmesan from Pinch My Salt
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)