Somewhere along the way, I forgot that food was supposed to feed me, too.
Not just my body.
I’m not gonna say that it took a pandemic to learn that, because it’s a lesson that life has been trying to teach me for, frankly, decades at this point.
But nearly a year of changed financial circumstances, combined with having made every single meal I’ve eaten in that same time period myself, has definitely brought the idea of sustenance to the foreground of my life.
Sustenance isn’t just keeping my body fueled and fed.
It’s not just sticking to a budget while doing my best to stay healthy.
It’s not just managing my autoimmunity through diet.
It’s nurturing my creativity when I feel like I have nothing else to give.
It’s reminding myself with every bite that I deserve to live at home in this body instead of a mere resident.
It’s discovering that I can honor myself in a way that I never thought I could.
It’s meals like this one. Simple, hearty, whole.
It’s food to find my way home.
To myself. Right here. Where I’ve always been meant to be.Print
Brothy Italian White Beans with Sausage & Kale
A handful of simple ingredients come together with creamy Italian white beans in this one pan, weeknight friendly & dairy free meal.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 30 m
- Total Time: 43 minute
- Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x
- Category: gluten free, dairy free, paleo
- Method: stovetop, one pan
- 3/4 lb / 12 oz fully cooked Italian sausage links, see notes
- 4 cups / 1040 g cooked white beans, divided, see notes
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml neutral flavored oil, I like avocado
- 1/2 medium onion, diced finely
- 1 cup / 3 oz shredded carrot, about 1 medium – large
- 2 cups / 480 ml chicken broth, divided
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 oz / 170 g fresh curly kale, about 4 stems or 1 small bunch
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml fresh lemon juice, plus additional to taste
BROWN: Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Slice the sausage links into bite size pieces. Coat the skillet with the oil once hot and add the sliced sausage. Cook until the sausage is browned in places on both sides, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl & reserve for later.
SOFTEN: Add the diced onion and shredded carrot to the skillet, reducing the heat to the lower side of medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the carrot beginning to soften, about 10 minutes or so.
BLEND: While the vegetables are softening, transfer 3/4 cups / 200 grams of the cooked beans & 1 cup / 240 milliliters of the chicken broth to a blender and process until smooth.
SIMMER: Once the vegetables are softened, add the blended bean broth, the remaining white beans & chicken broth, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and bay leaf to the skillet. Stir to combine, increase the heat to a low-medium and bring to a simmer. Cover the skillet with a lid and simmer gently until the beans are hot and the broth a little creamy, about 10 minutes.
WILT: While the beans are simmering, de-stem the kale and chop into bite size pieces or ribbons. Once the beans are heated through, stir in the chopped kale and the reserved sliced sausage. Cover again with the lid and reduce the heat so that it stays at a gentle simmer, then cook until the kale is wilted but still retains a bit of bite and a nice bright green color, about 3 minutes or so. (If you like your kale a little softer, you can add a few more minutes to the cooking time if you like.)
SEASON: Remove and discard the bay leaf. Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir through, cooking through for a minute or so. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if needed. Add additional lemon juice, to taste, if you like.
SERVE: If you like a thinner broth, you can add a little extra here now and warm through before serving. Delicious straight out of the skillet or with a little Parmesan to finish if you’re not dairy free.
- If you would like to swap in your favorite fresh sausage, you will need approximately 1 lb / 454 g, about 4 or 5 links. Cook fully before following the rest of the above steps.
- I like to make a big batch sized pot of dried beans from scratch at the weekend, then make recipes like this with the cooked beans. However, you can substitute canned white beans: 4 cups of cooked beans is roughly equivalent to 3 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed.
- You can use any variety of white beans that you like. I’ve used the smaller Great Northern beans here.
- Any type of dried or canned beans classed as legumes without pods are a Stage 4 AIP reintroduction.
- Red pepper flakes are a Stage 4 AIP reintroduction.
- Black pepper is a Stage 1 AIP reintroduction.
This meal is a thing of beauty, and I have all the ingredients here to make it! I’ll start soaking the beans tonight, and this will be my dinner tomorrow. As a former vegan, (many years ago, LOL) beans are a food I have missed. I started eating them again over the past few years, and as long as I dose them with some miso and add some cultured veggies on the side, they seem to agree with me now!! Hurray!!
You are so right about feeding our bodies AND our souls, nourishing ourselves on all levels, not just physically, but through all of our senses, in every way. I’ve lived with eating disorders, food sensitivities, feeling like a victim, feeling deprived, blah blah blah, and the best answer for all of these things, for me, is to take time to really appreciate and enjoy my food, whether I’m growing it, harvesting it, cooking it, AND especially eating it. My current affirmation is “Mindful eating satisfies me on all levels.”
Thank you, Rachael, as always for your thoughtful posts and delicious recipes. You are a wonderful source of inspiration for myself and I’m sure many many others. Love and Hugs from St. Louis!