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Slow-Cooker 15-Bean Soup with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

Why This Recipe Works

With 15-bean soup mix as our inspiration, we set out to make an easy bean soup with meaty undertones, a bright flavor, and an appealingly chunky texture. Our first step was to ditch the flavoring packets that come with these soup mixes because their dried seasonings and bits of vegetables offered up zero flavor and a lot of sodium. Instead, a combination of onion, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes provided a nice balance of oniony aromatics and herbs, and fresh white mushrooms (for mild mushroom flavor) rounded out the flavor of this simple soup. We kept sodium levels down by using water along with savory broth. For heartiness we added precooked chicken sausage, which held up during the long cooking time and has fewer calories and fat than pork sausage. We stirred in spinach at the end of cooking and allowed it to wilt slightly, adding a fresh, bright element to the soup.

Ingredients

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8 ounces cooked hot or sweet Italian chicken sausage, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) 15-bean soup mix, flavoring packet discarded, picked over and rinsed
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
4 ounces (4 cups) baby spinach
Nutritional Information

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (Serves 6)

  • Calories 345
  • Cholesterol 71 mg
  • Fat 11 g
  • Sodium 2027 mg
  • Saturated 3 g
  • Carbs 39 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3 g
  • Monounsaturated 4 g
  • Sugar 6 g
  • Polyunsaturated 2 g
  • Protein 20 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Instructions

Serves 6

1. Microwave sausage, onion, garlic, thyme, and pepper flakes in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in broth, water, mushrooms, beans, bay leaves, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 6 to 8 hours on high.

2. Discard bay leaves. Stir in spinach and let sit until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.