White bean and Italian sausage stew is a wholesome meal packed with fresh garden vegetables, whole grains, fiber and protein in one pot!
It’s almost spring, but winter keeps peeking in here and there! To keep you warm and cozy this rustic Italian white bean vegetable stew has all of the good stuff plus more. My hubby Jason has some pretty entertaining stories about sneaking tomatoes from his Nonna’s garden, so I had fun adding lots of Italian vegetables into each spoonful.
The best part is it’s ready in a jiffy, so you can have a wholesome meal without all of the time. A few convenience products like canned beans and tomatoes helps to cut down on the time, without sacrificing the taste. Each bowl is filled to the brim with protein, fiber, and healthy whole grains.
It’s hard not to open the lid and take a sneak peek at this Italian stew while it’s gently simmering on the stove. I wanted to pack in as much garden fresh vegetables as I could, summer squash, bell peppers, and swiss chard. Sunny, bright and ready to eat!
Whole canned San Marzano tomatoes add a delicate sweetness to the stew. If you have some extra fresh tomatoes, chop those up and add them right in!
Wholesome white cannelloni beans add a nice creaminess to the stew. If you are a fan of making the beans from scratch, you can make a nice large batch and save some for a tasty bowl of white bean chicken chili. If you are in a pinch, canned beans work well too. It’s my shortcut on a busy weekday.
My hubby lets me take command of the kitchen, but he makes sure that I use some of the Italian cooking techniques that he learned from his mom. I’ve been expertly advised to always brown the sliced Italian sausage to add a little more flavor and texture. Momma knows best!
To make this dish a little more hearty I added in the ancient Italian grain farro. If it’s good for the Romans, then why not give it a try? You simply simmer it in hot water until the large grains are tender and a tiny bit chewy. These rich and nutty flavored grains plus the beans, sausage, and vegetables make a healthy and satisfying meal. My boys are getting antsy, let’s Mangia!
Should I soak dry beans before cooking?
If you decide to make beans from scratch (good for you!), depending on the recipe it may be a good idea to soak the beans. Soaking allows the beans to get hydrated and accelerate the cooking process. Typically it is recommended to soak the beans for 8 hours or overnight. Don’t soak beyond 24 hours, as the bean can become mealy, develop tough skins and lose some flavor. If you can’t use them right away, just drain. Transfer to a resealable bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Make sure to rinse the beans in cool water first to discard any split beans and dirt, then soak in cool water about 1 part beans to 3 parts water in a cool, dry area or refrigerator. (Source: Christopher Kimball)
White Bean and Sausage Stew
- 1 cup farro, uncooked
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 14 ounces Italian sausage
- 2 pounds swiss chard
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons yellow onion, minced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, or chopped fresh
- 2 cups zucchini, sliced, ¼-inch thick
- 1 ½ cups whole tomatoes, canned, chopped (reserve sauce)
- 16 ounces cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup basil, chopped fresh
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped fresh
- Bring 2 quarts (8 cups) of water to a boil. Add farro and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In the meanwhile make the stew.
- In a large pan or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cut sausage into ¼-inch slices and add to the pot in a single layer. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons oil to the same pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, onions, bell pepper, pepper flakes, and oregano, saute for 1 minute.
- Increase heat to medium. Add zucchini and saute for 3 minutes, until tender but not completely cooked about 3 minutes.
- Cut the stems off the swiss chard and discard. Slice the leaves crosswise into 2-inch strips and then add to the pot, saute until just wilted about 2 minutes.
- Turn heat to medium high. Add chopped tomatoes and ¼ cup of the tomato sauce from the can, cook for 2 minutes. Add the sausage to reheat, cook about 2 minutes.
- Add beans and ½ of the cooked farro, stir and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Add more farro to the bottom of the serving bowls if desired, then add stew on top. Garnish with basil and parsley and serve.