Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew Recipe with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto
Chickpeas, Turkey Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto make a delicious slow cooker stew!

When I first started blogging I probably thought everyone loved Chickpeas (also called Garbanzo Beans) as much as I do, but now I realize some of you aren't all that enthused about these ultra-nutritious beans.  If you're one of those people who's not especially a chickpea fan, I hope you'll trust me when I  promise that this Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto is truly amazing.  Hanging out in the slow cooker with the spicy turkey Italian sausage and tomatoes makes the chickpeas creamy and full of flavor.  And the seasonings in this recipe are perfect, with the addition of a small amount of the pesto at the end a flavor-boosting way to finish the dish.  If you try it I bet you will like it, but if I can't convince you that this combination with chickpeas is really, really good, I hope you'll try this recipe with another type of beans!

For this recipe I'd prefer the raw turkey Italian sausage like this that comes in a casing (although if you can't find this brand there are other good ones.)  

Squeeze the sausage out of the casing and brown it well in a small amount of olive oil.  (Yes, it is important to brown the sausage before you put it in the slow cooker.  Don't rush this step.)

Then push the sausage over and saute the onions a few minutes, adding the garlic and herbs for the last minute before you throw it all in the slow cooker.

Drain the chickpeas in a colander placed in the sink, and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Put them in the slow cooker with the browned sausage, onions, and spices.

I used one can of diced tomatoes and one can of crushed tomatoes for this, but 2 cans of either one will work too.

I cooked this in my Ninja Cooker, which is six quarts, but as you can see a smaller slow cooker will also work.

I cooked this for about 3 1/2 on high in the Ninja, but it might take a little longer in a regular slow cooker.  (You could also cook it about 8-9 hours on low.)

I used some of my frozen pesto, which I thawed just enough to chop it up.

Photography mystery, I have no idea why the pesto looks so much lighter green here than in the photo above.  Stir it in and cook about 20 minutes longer.

And I was surprised that the green pesto didn't show up at all in the finished dish, but it added amazing flavor.  Serve this hot, with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.


Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, and Pesto
(Makes 6-8 servings, but this freezes well.  Recipe created by Kalyn.)

Equipment:
I used my six-quart Ninja Cooker for this recipe, but any 4-5 quart slow cooker will also work.

Ingredients:
2 tsp. olive oil (or slightly more, depending on your pan)
1 pkg. (19.5 oz.) raw turkey Italian Sausage (hot or mild, but I used hot)
1 cup chopped onion
1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1 tsp. ground fennel (probably optional, but this adds amazing flavor)
2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
(Or use all diced or all crushed tomatoes if that's what you have on hand.)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup basil pesto (homemade or purchased)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional, but good)

Instructions:
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, squeeze the sausage out of the casings (discard casings), and cook the sausage over medium-high heat until it's nicely browned, breaking it apart with a turner as it cooks.  Don't rush this step; it will take about 10 minutes to get the sausage browned.  When the sausage is nicely browned, push it to one side of the pan, add onions, and cook until they're starting to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the minced garlic, ground fennel, and Italian Herb Blend and cook 1 minute more.  (If you have a Ninja, you can cook the sausage and onions right in the slow cooker, but it's faster on the stove.)Transfer sausage/onion mixture to the slow cooker.

Drain garbanzo beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain and then add to slow cooker with the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and water.  Cook for about 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.  (The Ninja cooks a little hot, so cooking times might be slightly less if you're using that.)

When the beans are quite soft and the flavors are well-combined, add the pesto and cook about 20 minutes more.  Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and serve hot, with Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Chickpeas, turkey Italian Sausage, and tomatoes are all great low-glycemic foods for the South Beach Diet, but dried beans are a limited food for phase one.  In a dish like this where there are other foods besides beans serving sizes can be a little bigger, but for Phase One I'd have a small serving of this with a big green salad on the side.

Nutritional Information?
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 Tummy-Warming Ideas with Chickpeas:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
CrockPot Red Lentil, Chickpea, and Tomato Soup with Smoked Paprika ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Lentil Soup with Chickpeas and Quinoa ~ Souvlaki for the Soul
Ground Chicken/Turkey and Chickpea Curry Stew with Yogurt and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Basil ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Coconut Curried Chickpea Soup ~ Cheeky Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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18 comments:

Becky at VintageMixer said...

I need to throw chickpeas in soups and stews more often. I forget them somehow and use black beans more often. Thanks for the reminder.

Kalyn Denny said...

Becky, they were so, so good in this!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm definitely one of those people. I don't love chickpeas (though I do love hummus), but I love everything else in this stew, so I might have to give chickpeas another try.

Kalyn Denny said...

Lydia, I did think of you when I wrote that. And I promise you, this is crazy good!

Katie Zeller said...

I love chickpeas - and usually use them from dried. Any stew with sausage is going to be a hit with us.

Kalyn Denny said...

Katie me too. And I think cooked-from-scratch chickpeas would only improve this.

CJ said...

This recipe sings to me. ❤ So many favorite flavors and textures in one dish. Yum. Definitely going to make it this week.

Lydia- If you hate chickpeas, try cannelini beans instead.

Kalyn Denny said...

CJ, so glad you like it, this definitely sings to me too!

GiGi said...

Made this over the weekend...very good!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks GiGi, so glad you liked it!

Amy said...

Sometimes I wonder why I even look at other recipe websites because your recipes are so great! Just finished a bowl of this with a slice of whole wheat bread. I love garbanzos so I knew this would be good and I was right! This is going to become a family favorite!

Kalyn Denny said...

Amy, you are too kind! So glad you enjoyed it.

Jenny Gagas said...

Oh my goodness, this was so delicious. I was unsure at what the final result would taste like, but my husband and i were totally blown away by how totally tasty this was!
Mine was a bit "soupier" than the picture portrayed, but it was so yummy and we're putting it in our "save" pile of recipes.

Thanks!

Kalyn Denny said...

Jenny, so glad you guys enjoyed it!

Julia Grossi said...

Hi ... this was my first slow cooker recipe ever and I have to say it was pretty amazing. I didnt have chickpeas so I used lentils and I added small red potatoes cut up in small pcs. My husband absolutely loved it and so did I. It was so flavourful and full of body.
Thank you so much

Kalyn Denny said...

Hi Julia, so glad you enjoyed it. And I love that I have started you on the path of using the slow cooker!

Selena Darrow said...

Made this recipe without the pesto and added spinach instead. Simple,flavorful and delish!!

Kalyn Denny said...

Selena, that sounds good!

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