I know so many of you are fighting cold weather and stuffy noses, so I thought I would share with you a new favorite soup in our house. My friend and student Lynette gave me the recipe because it has been popular with her family. Nothing beats a warm and hearty bowl of soup when you’re not feeling 100% and this one is particularly fantastic since you place everything into a slow cooker in the morning and it’s ready by dinnertime (also great when you’re not feeling 100%.)
People in my classes have been begging me for more slow cooker recipes, especially the dump-and-start kind. If you don’t have a slow cooker, do not fear. I will give you directions for a stovetop version. Whereas I normally prefer to saute aromatic vegetables before using them in a soup or stew since it adds more flavor, in this recipe the extra step doesn’t make much difference. Lucky us! Although the original recipe doesn’t call for it, I prefer to soak my beans to neutralize the phytic acid, a hard-to-digest anti-nutritient. Soaking is optional though, as the slow cooker will easily cook the beans to a creamy softness without soaking.
This was a perfect entree soup for dinner paired with corn muffins and a green salad. More importantly, all my kids, including the picky one, just loved it. I know some people can’t get into the idea of “just” soup for dinner. But I promise this is a hearty one. Beans are loaded with protein and fiber which both help keep you full for longer. There is also a small amount of sausage in the soup (I used chicken sausage) which you can omit if you’re vegetarian or vegan or use your favorite vegan sausage to add a little smokiness to the soup. For a more affordable dish, you can use a small ham hock for flavor instead of the sausage.
In my opinion everything is better, more alkalizing and more nutritious with dark leafy greens. I hope you are finding new and delicious ways to incorporate this food group into your diet. Kale seems to be the “it” leafy green of the moment, that it’s nice to see another leafy green in a recipe. Collard greens are used in this soup, but I’m sure cabbage or kale would be equally delicious here. This recipe is a keeper no matter how you make it!
- 1 pound dried beans (such as cannellini or great Northern), picked through for stones or debris, soaked* for at least 6 hours in cold water and drained
- ½ pound andouille sausage links, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise (I used a 12-ounce package of Applegate Farms chicken apple sausage)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 cups low-sodium or unsalted chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
- 1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded and leaves cut into-bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper to taste (salt will vary based on what stock or sausage you use)
- unrefined olive oil for drizzling (optional)
- In a 4-6 quart slow cooker (mine is a 6.5 quart and it turned out great), combine the beans, sausage, onion, celery, and thyme. Add the broth and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.
- minutes before serving, remove and discard the thyme sprigs and add the collard greens. Cover and cook until the greens are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle with olive oil, if desired.
For a stovetop version, sauté onions and celery in 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add soaked, dried beans, sausage, thyme and stock. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook covered until beans are tender, bout 60-90 minutes. Add greens and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.
Perfect soup for a chilly night, and the first day of daylight savings time. I used what I had on hand; a turkey broth I’d made and frozen + chicken broth (weird? but it tasted and smelled wonderful). I also used carrots instead of celery, since I didn’t have celery on hand. And three cans of white beans. I could have used four cans, but three was good. I also used spinach instead of collard green. This was another winner!
Yes! Use what you’ve got! Honestly, I mix stock all the time. I especially like to cut the flavor of turkey stock with chicken stock. I love all the swaps you made!
Can you make this with canned beans? When would you introduce them into the process? Thanks!
Yes, you could. I have made plenty of slow cooker recipes where I have used canned beans right from the start and cooked them on low for 8 hours. I don’t think it would be a problem here either.
I made it just like you have it but added a pram rind. Used low sodium chicken broth, and added a little less than half teaspoon salt & full teaspoon pepper. Used publix brand artichoke & parm chicken sausage. Delish!! A new go to!
Adding a parmesan rind is never wrong! Smart move. 🙂
I made this a few weeks ago in my new crockpot:) I forgot how good thyme is! Thanks Pam!:)
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!!
This was really delicious! I wasnt sure about the vinegar at the end, but it totally made the meal! The slight tang was perfect with the sausage and collards. I also added a few more spices (caraway seeds, coriander, and basil) and threw in a Parmesan cheese rind. Thanks for this recipe! We’ll definitely have it again!
I love all of your suggestions!! Thank you 🙂
Hi Pamela. You say that cabbage or kale could work as well. Would I add kale at the same time as the colard greens or at the end like spinach?
Smart question, Jane! You would add it at the same time as the collards since they’re all pretty sturdy. Enjoy!
Do you think that you could use tofu sausages?
I have never used tofu sausages before, but if they have a casing of some sort, I bet they would be fine. As long as they’re not mushy to start with, I’m sure it would be fine.
My 5 year old son has been impossible to feed. He is my own “Mr. Picky”. So when I made this for dinner tonight, I did not have much hope – beans and collard greens?! He first refused to eat it, but then tried it and then proceeded to eat the whole bowl (except the sausage, go figure?!) He finally ate something. My 3 year old daughter actually was tipping the bowl over into her mouth to get every last drop. It was really easy and a big hit!
This is exciting! Forget that he didn’t eat the sausage. The beans have great protein. My son will take this to school in a thermos the next day. Thanks for your feedback, Elizabeth!
Hi Pam! How would chorizo work in here? I think it will give it a nice flavor, am I right?
I think it depends on if the chorizo is fresh or dried. I think the flavor would be great, but if I remember correctly fresh chorizo has a lot of fat. You may want to brown it a bit before you add it to the slow cooker to render some fat so your soup isn’t oily. Let me know if you try it!
Hi Pam! I made it tonight with chorizo and it gave a great flavor! I am in love with this soup! The chorizo definitely dominated the flavor, and I personally love anything with chorizo. My daughter loved it too! Thanks for the recipe! I saved many of your recipes and will try them this week while I am off for Spring Break!
I forgot to add that I used kale which was delicious!
How awesome! I’m so glad you made those adjustments and they worked out. Happy cooking this week!
I was a terrible cook! I was shoo’d out of the kitchen as a girl. I was an athlete as a young adult, so my diet was very strict…not much room to experiment. Then, came a demanding career with no time beyond stopping at Wholefoods to grab something healthy, but prepared. Here comes the scary part of the story, I got married, had two children and now it’s on my shoulders to nourish my family! I tried my best…read cook books, asked friends for receipts…I improved a bit. This is the best part of the story, we moved to MB and I was invited to attend your classes. You gave me knowledge. You gave me resources. You inspired me. You gave me confidence! I prepared Christmas dinner for my family this past year. Everything from scratch. All your receipts, appetizers to dessert. As we sat around the table, everyone enjoying the meal, tears streamed down my cheeks…because I realized I didn’t just make a meal for my family, I made a beautiful memory! Thank You Pamela!
Hi Megan! You came with Nicole’s group, right? I swear I got emotional reading your comment. Thank you for sharing your story and for allowing me to help you find your inner cook. Wishing you many more memories in the kitchen! xo
Yes, I am in Nicole’s group. I’m the tall one who is furiously writing down the details of how you cut an onion and exactly how you are boiling water. 🙂 I’m looking forward to our next class on the 27th!
And, it was very kind of you in your reply, not to mention that in my haste and chicken pecking with my iPad, I did not notice the the auto speller used Receipts vs. Recipes!
Yours in cyber gaffes,
Haha! thank you Megan, see you then!
I’m going to try this soup tonight. I’m not crazy about collard greens. Can I swap in spinach or will that overcook too quickly?
You can use spinach if you like, but you’ll just stir it in just before serving. YOu only need to wilt it. Cabbage and kale would also work here!
Thanks for the review on this soup. I put in the slow cooker this morning and read this first, I too would have salted mine from the beginning. Mine turned out great and was a hit on a cold night.
Yes, this is why I appreciate feedback, questions and comments so much! Glad you enjoyed the soup!
I saw your recipe for the white bean and sausage and collard greens soup on Saturday and got so excited that I bought all the ingredients that day. I soaked the beans overnight just to be sure they would be soft enough. (I bought cannellini beans at an Italian market.)
Sunday morning I followed the recipe, and when the soup had been cooking for seven hours, the beans were still very firm. I turned the cooker to high for about an hour, but this made no difference. I took some soup out and simmered it on the stove, but the beans were still hard.
I put the cooker back to low and cooked it overnight, but this morning the beans were still hard. I put the soup in the fridge this morning. I guess that I will eat it and try to remove or avoid the beans.
Do you have any input on this?
No! I feel absolutely terrible this recipe didn’t turn out for you. I went back to the real simple website to see if any of their readers had trouble with this recipe, but all the reviews were positive. I have made this soup three times and once I didn’t soak the beans to see if they would turn out ok and they did. I preferred the result after cooking on LOW for 8 hours versus HIGH for 4 since the soup was a little creamier after 8 hours, but the beans always cooked. Since I wasn’t there with you when you made it, I can only speculate with what I do know about cooking beans. First, if your beans are really old, they take forever to cook. It doesn’t sound like this is the problem since you cooked them way more than suggested. More importantly, you can’t add salt to beans before they are tender which is why the recipe indicates to season at the very end just before serving. If you salt your soup at the beginning, the beans will never soften. I use unsalted homemade stock in my soups, but I will change the recipe to make sure people don’t use very salty stock. Again, I am so sorry the recipe wasn’t successful. I wish I could send you a bowl through the computer. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to help if I can!
You came up with my problem!
I did put salt in at the beginning. I know that you said to do it later, but I hadn’t read that bit in time. I did use unsalted broth though.
I guess that’s why mine is not creamy at all. It’s like broth, and the beans are just floating around in there.
Thank you for your feedback. And especially thank you for your wonderful web site! I really enjoy it.
Well Irene, I guess that’s good news and bad news! If I were you I would remove the hard beans from the soup. Then open up a couple cans of cooked white beans and simmer them in the soup until hot and eat that so you don’t waste perfectly good soup. If you want to thicken it up a bit, blend some beans, onions, celery and broth in a blender until you have a chunky puree and add that back to the soup. Just don’t put any sausage in the blender!