Beans such as cannellini, are an incredible part of a healthy diet because they provide you with a high protein and fiber content without overloading a meal with calories. A part of the legume family, Tuscan white beans, as they are known in Italy, can be found dried as well as canned, making them an easy addition to a broad variety of dishes.
The beans boast a silky texture and nutty flavor and are the star of the famous Italian soup, Pasta Fagioli. Harvested in Italy at the peak of flavor and packed fresh to ensure the ideal taste, texture and appearance, the canned beans are an essential, convenient and versatile pantry staple. I use these flavorful and ready to serve, beans in warm comforting dishes, cold salads and small bites.
As for the healthy sausage in this recipe and the man who invented it, brings back memories. I first met Bruce Aidell at the Specialty Food Show in San Francisco, where he was showcasing his product in an exhibitor booth down the aisle from mine. This was back in the 1980’s when we both lived in the Bay Area and before he became widely known as a prolific expert on everything related to sausages, meat, salumi, and charcuterie.
Aidells uses no MSG, no liquid smoke, no artificial flavors, fillers, coloring or binders. And no nitrates or added hormones either. Just chicken, apple, fruit juice concentrate (apple, pineapple, pear and peach) and spices. Simple healthy ingredients I can feel good about eating. I also use his Andouille sausage in my Andouille pasta and Jambalaya
This hearty, healthy, almost stew-like dish, is a complete meal in a bowl.
- 14-oz. Package Aidells chicken-apple sausage
- 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive oil, divided, plus, more for sauteing chard
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3- 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 44 ounces chicken broth
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1-pound Swiss chard, trimmed, washed and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Cut each sausage into half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1/2-inch slices. Using a large soup pot, cook the sausage in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until browned (about 5-6 minutes). Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the vegetables. Cook until tender, approximately 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.
- Stir in the beans, broth, tomatoes and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, sauté Swiss chard. It’s best to cook in batches so as not to over crowd the pan. Add about 1/3 of the chard to a fry pan with a bit of oil, cook until leaves are tender. Repeat process.
- When soup is done, taste for seasoning, add additional salt and pepper as needed and the chard.
- To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and bruschetta on the side.