Italian Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

As I have mentioned in my bio, my husband and I formed our supper club 32 years ago. It has been so much fun getting together with friends to share food that we’ve made ourselves. Of course we could just as easily meet for dinner at a restaurant, which we often do.  But taking the time and care to enjoy a meal that we’ve all had a part in creating is a fun and unique way to celebrate food and friendship.

We gather together with three other couples every few months for theme dinner parties.  Each couple takes a turn hosting.  The host couple selects the theme.  They are responsible for the main course and choosing a specialty cocktail.  The guest couples round out the meal by bringing dishes that fit with the theme.  We begin with cocktails and appetizers.  Then on to a first course, followed by the entree and ending with dessert.

Our hosts chose an Italian theme because nearly all of us had visited Italy this past summer.  What an inspiration Italy provides for those who love to cook and eat great food.  While my contribution to the dinner was an Italian Sausage, Bean and Kale soup.  We enjoyed many other delicious dishes.

What a memorable evening it was thanks to my friends who appreciate good food, good cooking and good eats!  Thanks to Ceresa and Andy for hosting and Lynn, Mike, Stacey and Larry for their tasty contributions.  It was “molto bene”!

A great way to start an Italian dinner…good Chianti and antipasti.
Meats. Cheeses. Olives. Cannellini Bean Hummus. Pickles. Herb Breadsticks.
My contribution to the dinner. A flavorful bowl of yum.
Can’t go wrong with the classics. Lasagna and Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair pasta
Enjoyed a refreshing Lemon Granita prior to this delicious dessert plate: Ricotta Pie, Amaretti Cookies. and Rainbow Cookies.
Italian Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Several years ago a good friend shared a simplified version of this recipe with me. I changed it quite a bit to include Italian Sausage, onions and mushrooms. It's amazing how much flavor you can achieve in a soup that comes together in under an hour.
Course: Soups
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 people
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds ground Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms finely diced
  • 2 14 ounce cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 6 cups kale leaves trimmed, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
  • to taste salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In large stock pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat
  2. Add red pepper flakes and Italian Sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with wooden spoon. Cook 8-10 minutes
  3. Remove cooked sausage from pot. Leave behind any fat that has rendered.
  4. Add onions and garlic to pot. Saute for 5 minutes
  5. Add mushrooms to pot. Saute for additional 5 minutes.
  6. Return cooked sausage back to pot.
  7. Add beans, chicken broth and kale. Stir to combine.
  8. Bring to boil. cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes to one hour.
  9. Stir in one cup of parmesan cheese
  10. Taste soup and then add salt and pepper to your liking. Simmer for a few more minutes.
  11. To serve, ladle into soup bowls. Top with parmesan shavings.
Recipe Notes

If you don't like spice, omit the red pepper flakes.  You can also use spicy Italian sausage instead.  The day I went shopping they were I improvised by adding the red pepper flakes to get the amount of heat that I like.  You could also use Italian sausage links.  However I like the convenience of ground slicing required.  You can also omit the sausage entirely and end up with a lovely bean and kale soup. If I can find it, I will often use Escarole as my green.  I just learned that Escarole is in the endive family.  Who knew?  But today I used pre-washed, trimmed and chopped kale leaves that my store always carries in a large bag.  It's so tender and flavorful I use it in fresh salads.

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