Thursday, January 02, 2014

Italian Sausage Soup with Green Pepper, Chickpeas, and Pesto (Gluten-Free)

This easy Italian Sausage Soup with Chickpeas, Green Pepper, and Pesto cooks on top of the stove in less than an hour.

Italian Sausage Soup with Chickpeas, Green Pepper, and Pesto

This new phase one recipe for Italian Sausage Soup with Green Pepper, Chickpeas, and Pesto is something I came up with a few weeks ago when I found turkey Italian sausage on sale at the store and I wanted a hearty comforting soup that I could make and eat for dinner that same night.  I've made a few soup variations with similar flavors, but what made this soup especially enjoyable for me was an idea that popped into my head to mash some of the chickpeas so they kind of dissolved into the soup.  (I like chickpeas, but I don't always like biting into a whole chickpea in a bowl of soup or a salad.)  I shared some of this with Jake when he came to cook with me, and we both thought it was a keeper!

If  you saw the Phase One Recipes Round-Up from yesterday, you know I made the commitment to post Daily Phase One Recipes during January again this year.  I hope this is useful for anyone (like me!) who's getting back on track in the new year.  And since this is my third year of Daily Phase One Recipes for January, I'm going to share Phase One Flashbacks every day (after the recipe) to spotlight the Phase One Recipe I posted on that day in 2012 and 2013.  So healthy January, here we come!  (If you're not a South Beach Dieter, Phase One recipes are often Low-Carb or Paleo, and they're always delicious, even if you're not trying to lose weight.)

Saute the chopped onion and chopped green pepper in a little olive oil until they're tender and slightly browned.

Then add the Italian Herb Blend and minced garlic and cook about a minute more.  Transfer to the soup pot.

Add the chicken stock and petite diced tomatoes and let the soup start to simmer while you brown the sausage.

In the same frying pan, heat a tiny bit more olive oil and cook the sausage until it's nicely browned, breaking apart with the turner while you cook.  (I use turkey Italian Sausage to keep it diet-friendly.)

While the sausage cooks, drain a can of chickpeas into a colander placed into the sink, rinse well with cold water, and then mash slightly with a potato masher.

Add the browned sausage, mashed chickpeas, and red pepper flakes to the soup and cook on low for about 30 minutes.  (A little longer won't hurt.)

Then stir in 2-3 tablespoons of basil pesto and let the soup simmer about 10 minutes more.   Serve hot, with Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

Italian Sausage Soup with Green Pepper, Chickpeas, and Pesto
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn when she came home from the store with a craving for Italian Sausage!)

1 medium onion, chopped small
1 green bell pepper, chopped small
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
1 T minced garlic (minced garlic from a jar will work)
3 cans (14 oz.) chicken broth (Or use 5-6 cups homemade chicken stock)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
1 pkg. (19.5 oz / 5 links) turkey Italian sausage
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas / garbanzo beans
2-3 T basil pesto (I used my frozen Basil Pesto with Lemon)
freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and saute the onion and green bell pepper until it's tender and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add the Italian Herb Blend and minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more.  Add the vegetables to soup pot with the chicken broth or stock and petite diced tomatoes and start to simmer the soup on medium heat.

Heat the other teaspoon of oil in the same frying pan, squeeze the sausage out of the links into the pan, and brown the sausage, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks.  (Discard the sausage casings.  Don't rush this browning step; the browning adds a lot of flavor.)  While the sausage browns, put the garbanzo beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Mash beans slightly with a potato masher.

Add the browned Italian sausage, mashed beans, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the soup, turn heat to low, and simmer about 30 minutes.  (Slightly longer won't hurt, even as long as a couple of hours.)  

After the soup has simmered enough to blend flavors. stir in the basil pesto and cook about 10 minutes more.  Serve hot, with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

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South Beach / Low-Carb Suggestions:
I use lean turkey Italian Sausage and use a generous amount of sausage in proportion to the amount of beans to make this a low-glycemic soup that's suitable for all phases of the South Beach Diet.  If you'd like a soup that's even lower in carbs, double the recipe but only use one can of garbanzo beans.

Phase One Flashbacks for January 2:
January 2, 2012:  Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Tomato-Avocado Salsa    

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 Soups with Turkey Italian Sausage:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Spicy Sausage, Lentil, and Tomato Soup ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Sausage and Lentil Soup ~ My Baking Addiction

Italian Sausage and Bean Soup with Chard ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Black Bean Soup with Hot Italian Sausage and Spinach ~ Guilty Kitchen

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Roasted Red Peppers ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, 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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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog 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!

More to Chew On:


  1. I love the idea of smashing some of the chickpeas to thicken the soup. I love when peas and beans "melt" into the liquid. What a great way to start the year!

  2. Thanks Lydia. I am thinking some of this soup from the freezer is my dinner tonight!

  3. That basil pesto makes for a great "secret" flavor boost. A perfect soup for a winter night - and it's going to be a doozy on the East Coast!

  4. TW, I am hoping the storm will not be too horrible for you guys! We had our turn here a few weeks ago and it was not fun.

  5. This certainly looks good, especially on a snowy, wintry day like the one we're having right now. :-)

  6. Thanks Paz, and hunker down in the storm! Sounds like a bad one.

    Coco, so glad you like it.

  7. Oh my! You're the only person who has been able to get me to eat green peppers because of your amazing recipes and my husband is grateful. Yet another delicious recipe we must try within the next week! Smashing the chickpeas is such a great idea...mmm. Thanks for the "flashback" recipes from previous Januarys also!

  8. Cristin, so glad you like it. I loved the smashed chickpeas.

  9. I'm jumping back on the Phase 1 bandwagon for January, and I was THRILLED to see this soup. Mostly because I have everything onhand to make this tonight, including some reduced-price "cook or freeze by 1/3/14" turkey italian sausage I needed to do something with! This looks delish. Thanks for another great recipe, can't wait to try this!

  10. We had this tonight for dinner and it was a big hit!!! A deliciously satisfying soup ~ great job Kalyn! Teresa in Texas

  11. Marie, I'm chuckling because a package of turkey sausage like that is how this soup was born! Hope you enjoy!

    Teresa, so glad you liked it!

  12. This was quite possibly the best soup I've ever made. I forgot to buy tomatoes so I left them out, and while I'm sure the soup would be excellent with them in, it was still unbelievably delicious. It goes EXCELLENT with a slice of some crusty bread because of how much flavor is in it.

    Thank you so much!

  13. Made this for dinner this evening. It was excellent. Thanks for the recipe!


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