This chicken sausage, white bean, and kale soup is creamy and comforting but doesn't have any heavy cream in it!! Making it a healthy choice this winter, plus it is so easy to make and cooks all in one pot on the stovetop.
A bowl of this soup makes a great comforting dinner for the family, it is like wrapping a fleecy blanket around you and curling up on the sofa with a good book. Warm, comforting, simple and oh so delicious!
Did you make a new years resolution to eat more healthily? I know I did. I have piled on the pounds last year and this year is my year for shredding them. The numbers make me a little scared as I have so far to go. But I am starting the year positively and hope to gradually lose the weight. That is where meals like this Chicken Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup come in.
So this creamy soup is healthy?
Yes! It is naturally lower in fat as there is no heavy cream!!! But the creamy texture of the soup and beans mean you don't feel like you have missed out on anything. To get the creamy feel without heavy cream, I use milk and cornstarch. This thickens the soup wonderfully. If you really want to make it extra creamy then you can add a splash of heavy cream at the very end of the cooking. Or serve it with a restaurant-style drizzle as you put it on the table.
This soup is my kind of healthy. I just can't miss out on food, it makes me too sad. And food should always make you happy!
Really no heavy cream?
That is right! This creamy Chicken Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup has no cream in it at all!
To make it creamy without the calories I use milk and cornstarch.
The milk adds flavor and richness (but with far fewer calories than cream) and the cornstarch helps to thicken the soup, which makes it comforting to eat.
PLUS because you are adding white beans they start to break down slightly and add to the thick creamy nature of the soup.
How do I use cornstarch to thicken the soup?
So if you just add the cornstarch straight to the soup it will end up clumping together and someone will get a lump of slimy cornstarch (NOT GOOD!)
To use cornstarch correctly, first, make what is called a cornstarch slurry. This is just a mixture of cornstarch and water. For this recipe, it is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Make sure you use cold water as it makes it much easier to mix.
Once you have the slurry, if you pour it into the soup and stir it together, the heat under the soup will allow the cornstarch to absorb more liquid and thicken the soup.
Tips for using cornstarch to thicken soup
- Ensure you make a slurry first.
- Add the cornstarch to the hot soup and then stir gently to combine.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to allow the cornstarch to work and to cook out the raw taste.
- Don't boil the soup once you have added the cornstarch as this can break down the process and cause your soup to thin out.
Is kale really good for you?
Oh yes!!!! Kale is a superfood! Meaning it is totally amazing for you!
Now I am not one to jump on the superfood wagon! I jump on the taste train! If something tastes great then I am all for it. If it tastes like mud or grass then I am not really that fond of adding it to my diet 😉
But kale is suggested to reduce cholesterol and aid the removal of toxins from the body. Plus all the vitamins and minerals you get from eating a leafy green veg. I am not a nutritionist I am a cook, so whilst the health benefits are a bonus they are not why I choose kale.
I add kale to this soup because it adds a wonderful fresh irony flavor that balances the creamy soup and rich sausage wonderfully.
But I HATE Kale!
If you hate kale then feel free to sub in spinach, watercress or any other leafy green that you love.
And you use Chicken Sausages?
Yup!! They are a great quick cheat's way to get plenty of flavor. They are far healthier than many sausages and you can squeeze out bite-sized chunks easily and quickly.
But if you are worried about using sausages you can substitute in some shredded chicken, but then I would increase the seasonings by an extra ¼ teaspoon to compensate for the reduced flavor.
Which chicken sausages to buy?
Firstly avoid the smoked chicken sausages, their flavor will overpower everything else in the soup.
You want to pick a good breakfast sausage. Ideally something like a sweet Italian chicken sausage or maybe one that has maple or apple in it. There are plenty to choose from at the grocery store. You could even sub in turkey sausages!
If you have a local butcher then ask him, they often make their own sausages and Italian breakfast sausages from a butcher are amazing! So packed with flavor and really meaty!
What to serve with this soup?
Even when I am trying to eat healthily I like to dunk bread into my Chicken Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup! So a nice hunk of 7-grain bread would be great here.
Alternatively, if you are after something rich then try my utterly butterly breadsticks. They are SOOOOO GOOD!
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Chicken Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 12 oz chicken sausages (see note 1)
- 6 cups chicken broth/stock
- ½ tsp ground fennel
- ½ tsp ground sage
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 2 cups milk
- ½ bunch kale (1 ½ cup tightly packed)
- 1 can white beans
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
- If your sausages have a casing on them carefully cut the casing from the sausages and squeeze out bite sized pieces of the sausage mince. If there is no casing chop the sausage into small chunks. Set aside until needed.
- Peel and finely chop the onion.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pan. Then cook the onions over a medium heat until they are translucent and soft. (about 8-10 minutes)
- Add the sausage chunks and cook them until golden brown.
- Pour in the chicken stock, ground fennel, ground sage, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Remove the stalks from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Add the kale and the milk to the soup and stir well.
- Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the soup. Cook everything for 5 minutes until warmed through.
- Mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water. Then slowly stir it into the soup and cook for a further minute to thicken.
- Season to taste and serve hot.
- Pick a breakfast or country style sausage. Avoid smoked chicken sausages as they will change the flavor of the soup and add too much salt.
Any of the following work well:
- Sweet Italian Breakfast Chicken Sausage
- Chicken and Apple Breakfast Sausage
- Chicken and Maple Breakfast Sausage
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