Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil

This tasty stovetop dish has Cannellini beans, sausage, tomatoes, and fresh basil (or pesto) to finish the stew, and it’s low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew!

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil from]

I can get fixated on soup in the winter, but let me make it clear that this phase-one recipe for Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil is definitely a stew and not a soup. This simple rustic dish was amazingly addictive.  It’s also a recipe that’s very flexible, so if you don’t have exactly the ingredients I used, experiment with what you have. 

Cannellinis are white kidney beans, and I’ve been infatuated with them ever since I got the recipe for Cannellini Beans in Mint Marinade, but you can make this with any type of dried white beans, or even canned beans if you prefer. And if you don’t have any fresh basil or frozen basil hanging around, some purchased basil pesto makes a great substitute.

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil from]I used the Aidell’s Roasted Garlic and Gruyere Cheese Chicken Sausage that I’m so fond of, but any type of chicken or turkey sausage will work.

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil from]If you use the Aidell’s sausage with cheese, don’t be alarmed that the cheese will ooze out and brown on the bottom of the pan when you’re browning the sausage. This will dissolve when you cook the stew, similar to the Italian practice of dissolving a parmesan rind in soup.

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil from]This is the base of the stew simmering with sausage, onion, garlic, tomatoes, chicken stock, and some dried herbs.

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil from]After that simmers for 30 minutes, add the cooked beans and simmer a bit longer. I cooked my beans in a pressure cooker, but you can certainly cook them in a regular pot, or even use canned beans.

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil from]

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cups cooked cannellini beans (see options below for cooking beans or use canned beans)
4 links Aidell’s Roasted Garlic and Gruyere Cheese Chicken Sausage (or use any pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage)
2-3 tsp. olive oil (use more or less, depending on your pan)
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped (to flavor beans) + 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (for stew)
1 T minced garlic
1 (14.5 oz) can petite dice tomatoes with juice
1 tsp. dried Greek or Italian oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 cups chicken stock (I used my homemade chicken stock, but you can use 1 can chicken broth and add a bit of water)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I didn’t use any salt)
1/4 cup chopped basil (I used my frozen basil, 1/4 cup purchased basil pesto would work here too)
1 T balsamic vinegar
fresh grated parmesan for serving (optional, but good)


For cooking dried beans: Whether you use the pressure cooker or cook beans in a regular pot, start by soaking 1 cup dried cannellini beans over night. Discard that soaking water and start with fresh water, whichever cooking method you’re using.

To cook beans in pressure cooker: Add beans to pressure cooker with water to cover, 1/2 onion and 3-4 bay leaves. Bring to high pressure and cook 2-3 minutes (depending on how soft you like your beans.) Then turn off heat and let beans reduce pressure slowly while you prep other ingredients and simmer the base of the stew. When pressure is completely reduced, drain beans in colander in the sink.

To cook beans in regular pot: Add beans to pot with water to cover by several inches, 1/2 onion, and 3-4 bay leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook beans until soft, probably about 45 minutes, but cooking time will depend on the freshness of the beans. When beans are soft, drain in colander in the sink.

To use canned beans: Put 2 cans cannellini beans into colander placed in the sink. Rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears. Let beans drain and use in recipe. (This is slightly more beans than the 1 cup of dried beans; you can freeze a few for another recipe if you like.)

While beans are cooking (or draining) cut sausage into half lengthwise, then cut into half-moon shaped slices. Heat about 1 tsp. olive oil in heavy dutch oven or soup pot, then saute sausage until well browned, about 5 minutes. (See note above if you’re using sausage with cheese.) When sausage is well-browned, remove to bowl, then add chopped onion and saute about 2 minutes, adding more oil if needed. After 2 minutes, add chopped garlic and saute about 2 minutes more.

Add tomatoes and juice, dried oregano, dried marjoram, and chicken stock to pot with onions and garlic. Add sausage back to pot, then cook at very low simmer about 30 minutes, until flavors are well blended and liquid is slightly reduced. After 30 minutes. add drained beans and simmer about 15 minutes more. (If the mixture seems too dry at this point, add a bit more chicken stock or a little water.)

When beans have simmered 15 minutes, add chopped basil and balsamic vinegar and simmer 5 minutes more. Taste beans for seasoning and add salt and fresh ground black pepper as desired. Serve hot, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:

Dried beans are too high in carbs for traditional low-carb eating plans, but anyone who doesn’t know that the South Beach Diet is built around low-glycemic eating may be surprised to find that dried beans are a phase one food for South Beach. Beans are what South Beach considers a good carb, one that digests slowly. Beans are limited for phase one though, so I like to use beans combined with plenty of protein and vegetables. This recipe is also good for other low-glycemic eating plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?

If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

More Great Ideas for Cannellini Beans:
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cannellini, Fennel, and Olives from The Well Seasoned Cook

Cannellini Beans in Mint Marinade from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Shrimp, Kale, and Cannellini Bean Casserole from The Perfect Pantry

Turkey and Cannellini Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Rosemary from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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74 comments on “Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil”

  1. I swear, you make dish with some of the best combos!

  2. yum! this looks great! i made as similar dish a few weeks ago but i love the touch of using sausage with cheese!! yum!

  3. I love cannelini bean sausage soup. Although I usually use bulk hot italian sausage.

    I’ll have to whip up a batch of this soon. I had completely forgotten how much I liked it!

  4. I almost didn’t click on this because I figured it would be italian sausage, which I have tried hard to like, but I can’t. I LOVE chicken sausage though, and this stew sounds delicious! Thanks.

  5. bean and sausage is a marriage made in heaven. A little too hot down here in Australia for this kind of food right now though.

  6. Cynthia, from a great cook like you I especially appreciate that compliment!

    Thanks Ashley. It was really good.

    CR, I love Italian sausage so I bet that would be great too.

    Amber&Tom- I bet you don't like fennel then. That's the most unusual flavor in Italian sausage. No fennel here!

    Dani, send us some heat, please!

  7. The fennel! I just went to smell it in my spice rack, and you’re right. Eww…LOL

  8. Amber&Tom, I'm laughing because I do love fennel, but it is a very unusual flavor. At least now you know.

  9. I just made this and it is delicious, filling and perfect for a winter. I added some red pepper flakes, oregano and also added tobasco…like the heat. Thanks!

  10. This is the sort of stew i just love – but I do it with vegetarian sausages (unlike Dani we have had so little heat in Melbourne that I posted a recipe on this theme last night – but it was sausage and chickpea and veg curry)

  11. Sausage and beans — what’s not to love about that combination? I’d probably add a bit of heat to this, because I’m a hot sauce addict. But it’s a perfect comfort food dish for these cold winter days.

  12. Everything in this falls right into the category of foods that I love. Beans and sausage, are wonderful, and the basil is the final crowning touch. I want to eat at your house!!

  13. Beans… sausage… more beans… could this stew be any more perfect?? YUM!! I gotta get me some of that this winter…

  14. Now I am at school and hate the way this photo looks on the school computer, but loved this recipe. Might make it again tonight to share with my dad and stepmother.

  15. BTW, love the addition of hot pepper flakes to this!

  16. Kalyn, i’m on day 15 of SouthBeach and staying focused on phase 1. I just want to say that I’m hanging in there cause of your awesome recipes! Hungarian PotRoast
    Your black bean Chili are both to die for!
    I got all excited when I saw this, cause beans really stick to your ribs in a great way, you don’t feel like your dieting!
    Anyhow, I was wondering what grocery stores you shop at? I want to try the Aidells Sausage, but with having 2 kids, I don’t want to drive around to every store to find it. Thanks!

  17. Crystal, glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes and doing well on South Beach, I got the chicken sausage at Costco and in Salt Lake I also shop at Smith’s Marketplace and Albertsons. I think any type of chicken sausage will work here, especially one that’s garlicy.

  18. That looks so good!

    You said “The stew has too many ingredients to be one of my Easy South Beach Recipes, but it’s still very simple to make.”

    It may have a lot of ingredients, but all one really has to do is chop the onion and the garlic (unless you use frozen chopped onion and garlic from a jar). The number of ingredients in a dish doesn’t make it “easy” or “simple.” It’s what cooks have to do with the ingredients. Or, as an acquaintance once said — “simple” is not difficult to understand; “easy” is not difficult to do. This is most certainly not difficult to do!

  19. Wosnes, true, but Easy South Beach Recipes is a category in the archives where recipes have to have 5 ingredients or less, so this doesn’t qualify for that.

  20. I will have to try this minus the sausage:)

  21. I didn’t know you could dissolve a parmesan rind… must start saving the rinds! this recipe looks delish!

  22. LadyJ, yes lots of Italian soup recipes call for parmesan rind to be dissolved in the soup. It’s adds wonderful flavor!

  23. That is one tasty looking stew!

  24. Kalyn.. My first time here since I started blogging a couple of months back.

    This is such a rich & filling dish & all of your recipes are so awesome!

  25. I made this tonight and we are stuffed! On my third day of South Beach and it’s going great-I used fire roasted tomatoes with garlic and they were delish.

  26. Kalyn this looks amazing! I love hearty soups with beans and sausage 🙂 I am drooling over that photo of the sausage browning with the cheese sticking to the bottom of the pot!

  27. This reminds me of a cassoulet…love the sound of these sausages and oregano..well – I’m Greek!

  28. I have decided to include more beans into our diet and this looks like just the recipe to do so..Great flavors!!!

  29. this was great!!
    do you have nutrition info for this recipe? where can I find it?

  30. This is one of my all-time comfort foods. I just made a variation of this on Sat. night. But no pics were taken; we ate it all too quickly!

  31. Glad people are like this so much! I want to make it again soon myself

    Anonymous, the reason I chose South Beach was because I didn’t want to count carbs, calories, fat grams or anything else, so I don’t provide nutritional information. I think there are a number of online programs where you can type in the ingredients and figure it out yourself though if it’s important to you.

  32. That made my mouth water. What a lovely, lovely recipe!

  33. Looks perfect for this cold weather we’ve been having!

  34. I JUST read another post about cannellini beans, so I think somebody is trying to tell me something! Plus, sausage makes anything good in my book.

    And my parents are absolutely obsessed with fennel; it’s kind of the running family joke!


  35. This sounds like a great dish for a cold winters night…er except it’s about 70 degrees here today. I’ll have to wait until the weather decides to turn cold!

  36. WOW Kalyn..Just finished dinner and this is going straight to my keeper pile. Next time I will make a double batch just to have left over lunches! My family LOVED it!!!

  37. Sahara, thanks so much for taking time to let me know you liked it! (I loved this too, so delicious for such a simple recipe.)

  38. Kalyn, when I looked at my packet of dried beans it said that you must (after soaking) bring them to the boil and fast boil them for 10 minutes, and discard the water, before you cook them for the rest of the time. But I noticed you didn’t mention that in your instructions. Do you do that?
    Thanks 🙂

  39. Debs, I haven’t ever done that. I do always discard the water the beans were soaked in; I will edit the instructions a little to make sure that’s clear.

    If you have a problem digesting beans the tip they gave might be helpful, because that few minutes of pre-cooking time then discarding that water would get out some of the starches from the beans so they wouldn’t be in the final dish.

  40. I just made this yesterday and it was delish!!! I’m eating leftovers for breakfast. I actually went to bed thinking about it. I love all of your recipes. This blog is saving my life. I’ve been on South Beach now for 3 weeks. I’m doing Phase 1 for a month and your blog has helped me with this diet TREMENDOUSLY!

  41. I’m doing phase one for January too, so lots more phase one recipes will be coming! Glad to hear you’re liking the blog.

  42. Yum! I’m going to make this soon!

  43. Oh Kalyn!! This looks like precisely the right food for our chilly London winter nights! Definitely bookmarked.

  44. This was delicious! As my husband said before we’d even tasted it, “I think we have a winner here.”

  45. Britt, so glad to hear you liked it! Thanks for letting me know.

  46. The best new recipe I have tried in a long time. I was planning to make it Friday, but we are having an ice storm, so I bumped it up to today. WOW. Subtle flavors, nothing overpowering, super easy, and inexpensive. Do you think it would freeze well, or would be beans be too mushy?

  47. Amber and Tom, thanks for that nice feedback. I do think it would freeze well, although I think I ate it all and didn’t freeze any when I made it!

  48. Made this tonight and it was fantastic. Thanks so much for posting it. I had never had cannellini beans before and actually only looked for a recipe for them after I picked up a bag by mistake (was going for white beans and not paying enough attention). I added some spinach and lemon juice, the latter because I didn’t have any balsamic on hand. So delicious. Thanks again.

  49. Rachel, so glad you liked it!

  50. I like this cannelini bean sausage soup. these soup are sure to taste great and are extremely nutritious as well. I am going to make it for the holidays when my kids will be at home. I’ll be sure that what they are eating is healthy.

  51. Made this tonight (the first chilly day of fall here in Virginia), and LOVED it! Used navy beans because that's what I had. Still great!
    One question, though — ingredients states 1/2 onion, and then instructions say 1/2 onion with the beans, and another 1/2 onion sautéed with the garlic. Didn't really matter; since I was doubling the recipe, I just did both. But you might want to clarify.
    Thanks for a really delicious recipe that even my sausage-hating wife loved!

  52. Jim, thanks! HATE IT when I make mistakes like that. It's supposed to be 1/2 onion to flavor the beans and another 1/2 onion for the stew so your instincts were just right!

  53. made this tonight… was good!!

  54. Thanks, glad you liked it!

  55. Great recipe!!! I did everything like the recipe except for the basil (or pesto), and I used canned beans. I also made mine in the crockpot. It was wonderful. We just finished supper and I only have about one helping left (too bad, I love leftovers). I left the sausage to my husband and enjoyed it as a vegetable soup. Another great, healthy recipe!!

  56. Patti, glad you like it and good to know it works in the crockpot too.

  57. this was DELICIOUS! i substituted turkey sausage

  58. Amanda, so glad you liked it.

  59. I made this yesterday and my husband loved it! He told me to make sure I froze some of it so we could have it Sunday for lunch during the Nascar Daytona race! A definate keeper!!

  60. hi kalyn – i'm not on any specific diet, but love your blog for the great recipes!

    that said, sounds like kale would be a great addition in this soup (sausage, beans, and kale!) but if i added it, when would be a good time, and how much would you recommend? (i'm not the most inventive or skilled chef yet!)

    thanks much!

  61. Kale would be great in this. I would cut it fairly small and add it about 10 minutes before you add the beans.

    You could also enter "sausage kale soup" into the search bar on the blog and you'll find some soups where I have used kale.

  62. Hi Kalyn – just wanted to let you know that we tried this recipe for dinner last night and it was delicious! My husband has asked that all of the recipes I've tried of yours are put into our regular dinner rotation. Thank you!

  63. Hi Jen
    Glad you have been enjoying the recipes!

  64. I'm going to pin this to my Make Ahead and Freeze board on Pinterest. I can imagine making a pot on Sunday, and freezing smaller portions to have for lunch during the week.

  65. Lydia, glad you like it, and great idea for a Pinterest board!

  66. This is my kind of dish – easy and full of flavors.

  67. Thanks Sam; I love this type of soup with sausage and beans!

  68. Made this tonight, and OMGoodness…I LOVE it! I did add fresh mushrooms because I had some I needed to use. And, I added about 4 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach just because I thought the green would look good. lol I'm sure the recipe was perfect as written, but it was awesome with these two additions too! Hubby and I both on WW and really enjoyed all the flavor in this soup. Thank you!

  69. Mimi, love hearing how you adapted it!

  70. This looks so delicious! I would love to try making it with vegan sausage :).

  71. Just made this a couple of days ago, and it was fantastic. I added a half teaspoon of ground Chipotle (Penzeys) and a chopped orange bell pepper (just because it was in the fridge and needed to be used). We did like the heat from the Chipotle. I'll definitely be making this again. We're not on any diet regimen, but I love your recipes for the great flavors. Thanks.

  72. I just made this soup..I used hot italian turkey sausage..and added fresh spinach at the end. Awesome stew! Thanks Kalyn!

  73. Tracy, so glad you liked it!

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