Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

I am thrilled whenever I discover a new good sounding slow cooker recipe!  My Crockpot makes my life so much easier.  And it’s an added bonus to come across dishes that are just as healthy as they are tasty.  This is one of those dishes.  I stumbled upon this recipe over the holidays and made it for dinner right after the new year to start us off on a healthier leaner 2011.

This soup is perfect for a cool chilly winter or fall evening.  It is packed with healthy fresh vegetables, herbs, protein and fiber.  I opted to go with lean Italian turkey sausage to make the dish more Weight Watchers-friendly (only 6 PointsPlus per serving!), and Hubby still liked the flavor just fine.  I also swapped out collard greens for the kale since we had a bit left over from our New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John.

I let the soup cook on low all day, then I just had to brown the sausage when I got home from work and toss it in with the zucchini and greens (which we’d pre-cut that morning).  By the time Hubby got home, dinner was ready.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Lean hearty economical ingredients.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Toss in both cans of beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, onion, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, red pepper flakes, fennel and red wine vinegar.

Slow Cooker Italian Vegetable Soup

Pour in the chicken stock, stir, then cook on low at least 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Italian Vegetable Soup

After cooking all day, add the browned sausage, zucchini and kale or greens, then cook for another half hour. Top with cheese if desired.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup
 
Weight Watchers Info: 6 PointsPlus per serving (plus 1 PointPlus per Tbsp. of parmesan)
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 15 oz can chicken stock
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2 splashes of red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage links, cut into ½ inch thick slices
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 2 kale (or collard green) leaves, stalks trimmed off and leaves cut into thin shreds
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Instructions
  1. Plug in the slow cooker. In the slow cooker pot, combine both beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, onion, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, red pepper flakes, fennel and red wine vinegar. Stir well to combine and set slow cooker to low. Cook for at least 6 hours.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute sausage until lightly browned and cooked through. Add sausage to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Stir in the zucchini and kale and cook on high for 30 minutes. Serve soup with Parmesan cheese on top.