By Brianne Harrison
The 70 degree days were glorious and made it easy to forget that we’re just barely into spring, which means the occasional shower and cooler weather. For me, there’s nothing better on a chilly, wet day than a nice hot bowl of soup. The recipe below is my take on kale and white bean soup. I ran out of kale and substituted a zucchini I found in the fridge, and tossed in some sausage I had in the freezer. The results were warming and delicious:
Spring Sausage Soup
½ lb turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
1 zucchini, diced
Clove of garlic, minced
1 can white (navy) beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put a medium sized soup pot over medium heat and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When heated, crumble the sausage into the pot and cook, stirring, until the sausage is browned evenly. Remove sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
2. Pour off any excess grease from the sausage and replace the pot over the heat. Add the zucchini and garlic and sauté briefly, for about 2 minutes, just until the zucchini starts to brown slightly.
3. Return the sausage to the pot and add the chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil. Add the beans, and cook for about three minutes. Season to taste. Spoon into bowls and serve with crusty whole-grain bread.
Cook’s note: This is a highly adaptable recipe. You can replace the zucchini with chopped spinach or kale (just omit the sautéing step if you use these greens), or make this vegetarian by removing the sausage, adding more beans, and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable. Let your imagination run wild!
Turkey or chicken sausage has far fewer calories and less fat than pork sausage, but the same amount of protein. It’s now available at most grocery stores.
Beans, as most of us know, are high in protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber and low in fat. The high fiber content helps keep your blood sugar stable after the meal, so you feel fuller longer. They’re also a good source of folate, manganese, vitamin B1, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Zucchini is noted as an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, folate, copper riboflavin, and phosphorus. Many of these nutrients have been shown to help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and the magnesium can help reduce high blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke.