Slow Cooker Italian-Style Calico Bean Soup

This has been one of "those weeks" -- and I feel like I just can't seem to do anything correctly, and everything seems to be just slightly off balance.

it stinks.

I try to maintain a positive outlook on life, the universe, and everything, but today was one of those days that I wanted to crawl back in bed as soon as my feet hit the floor. The good news was that dinner pretty much made itself, and the kids have promised that they'll do the dishes.

And Adam promised he'll oversee the process, which means that I'm going to curl up on the couch with a blankie and watch the DVRed Lifetime shows I've got stockpiled...

[hey, no judging allowed! SOMEBODY has to watch Drop Dead Diva and Devious Maids, or they'll get cancelled!]

The Ingredients
serves 8-10

1 (16-ounce) package bean soup mix, flavor packet discarded
1 (12 to 16-ounce) package bulk Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
1 (26-ounce) jar prepared pasta sauce
2 empty pasta sauce jars worth of water
1 chicken bouillon cube (12 grams)

The Directions

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. In a large pot on the stove top, bring the beans to a rapid boil in a bunch of fresh water. Boil the beans for 10 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. Let the beans sit in the cooling water for 1 hour, then drain and rinse in clean water. Place the beans into an empty slow cooker insert.

{please note that because this bean mix contains red  beans, the beans *must* be boiled this way to kill a naturally-occurring potential toxin found in red beans. It's best to be safe rather than sorry!]

In a large skillet, brown the bulk sausage on the stove top, and drain any accumulated fat. Scrape the pan contents into your cooker. Add the entire jar of pasta sauce, and two jars-worth of water. Drop in the bouillon cube. Stir to combine. Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a hunk of homemade cornbread.


The Verdict

I love this bean mix because it has something for everyone -- I especially love the great big huge butter beans that nearly triple in size while cooking. The leftovers freeze beautifully, and I enjoy having lots of little containers in the fridge ready to go for lunches during the week.
If freezing, you'll need to thin a tiny bit with broth or water upon reheating.

more beany goodness:
traditional minestrone
16 bean soup
cowboy stew
dried beans tutorial

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at March 07, 2016

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What they say about this article

  1. I don't tend to keep boullion cubes on hand -- could I just swap out the water for veggie or chicken broth?

  2. Who knew about the beans?!? Weird!
    Hope your week is going better.

  3. Hi Beth, certainly. Instead of filling the jar with water the second time, use 2 cups of chicken or veggie broth. Beef would be great, too.

  4. This sounds perfect for a nice rainy day.

  5. love this idea! I am planning to make it this Sunday for our church fellowship meal.

  6. Aw, Steph, I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish you were going to be at Camp Blogaway for a break - it would be so great to see you! Enjoy that curling up time.

    That photo is too cute, it looks like an upside down hat from Dr. Seuss.

  7. I love Devious Maids! I'm glad we're single-handedly keeping it on the air. :)

  8. I wanted to pop in to say thank you - for all the work you put into these recipes and this blog. This Friday my 6-yr-old son broke his arm, badly, requiring surgery. Sunday morning when we were all home and settled I immediately turned to your blog and hit the store for my week-long menu of easy meals to make our life livable during this sensitive first week of recovery. You're a lifesaver, Stephanie. We also take all our meals from your blog (and slow cooker) with us on vacation - prepped beforehand and frozen for transport - which for a large family with food allergies truly makes a huge difference. Thank you for making what could be some very stressful times in my life much more manageable!

  9. Making this right now...put extra sausage smells divine....

  10. Made this tonight. I added a can of tomatoes to make it even better! Love it

  11. Made this and added some cumin and garlic powder. Excellent soup! Thanks for sharing.