Apr 5, 2010

Sausage & Spinach Soup

My husband has been begging me to make homemade soup for quite some time now. See, it’s tradition in his Polish heritage to have a giant bowl before each meal. Although, I’ve concluded that the only rational reason for those unnecessary, pig-intestine filled starters must be to help stretch out your stomach in preparation for the five pounds of pierogi you're about to ingest.

I, myself, have never been a huge fan of soup. It just always seems to be either ridiculously salty and unsatisfying or deliciously drowning in its own calories. Like the one soup I adore, Zuppa Toscana, from Olive Garden. Not exactly what you’d consider a dainty soup with all that heavy cream, full fat sausage and bacon.

So, the big soup question remains. Can a bowl of soup be less artery-clogging than a bowl of potato chips and at the same time, not leave you craving a cheeseburger?

Yes and yes! This uber-easy recipe is so light, yet delicious and filling, it seriously has me rethinking those cheeseburgers altogether. And the chips, too.

To start, I browned some sweet Italian turkey sausage, which, by the way, tastes just as wonderful as regular pork sausage. You'll never miss the fat. Then I added a little garlic and chopped onion and let those wonderful flavors meld together for a couple minutes.

Next I added the water, tomatoes, chicken broth and beans. I couldn't find cannellini (white kidney beans), so I used Great Northern instead.

After that boiled for a few minutes and thickened, I stirred in fresh baby spinach, oregano and basil. You can use dried herbs if that's all you have on hand, but fresh always seems to be the way to go for truly fresh, amazing flavor.

Voila! Delicious homemade soup. I ladled up a few bowls, sprinkled on fresh Romano cheese, and served alongside some toasted whole grain bread.

This soup is some seriously good stuff. With such a fast spoon-to-mouth speed, you'd think I was polishing off a pint of rocky road. And surprisingly, the spinach and slightly spicy sausage reminded me of my beloved fat-laden Zuppa Toscana. Not bad for a guiltless 261 calories!

The verdict from my soup-obsessed husband? He couldn't believe that he was eating such a delicious soup that contained sausage and wasn't made by his Polish mother. Sorry, Matka.

And what about the soup snob? I'll just put it this way: With every bite and every leftover bowl, I swooned over its deliciousness. Even days later, while stuffing my face with a luscious prosciutto-basil lasagna, I subconsciously blurted, "Mmm! Remember that amazing soup I made?”

Sausage & Spinach Soup
David Bonom, Cooking Light, March 2007
Yield: 4 servings

Cookbook Note: Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.

10  ounce  sweet turkey Italian sausage
Cooking spray
1  cup  prechopped onion
2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
1/2  cup  water
1  (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1  (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2  cups  baby spinach
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh basil
2  teaspoons  chopped fresh oregano
2  tablespoons  grated fresh Romano cheese

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 261 (30% from fat), Fat: 8.6g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 2.5g), Protein: 20.9g, Carbohydrate: 23.1g, Fiber: 5.4g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Iron: 3.4mg, Sodium: 842mg, Calcium:105mg.

Wine note: This delicious soup needs a wine that's crisp and medium-bodied, such as a California pinot gris (aka pinot grigio). The wine's crispness balances the richness of the sausage and the density of the beans. At the same time, the wine's body is substantial enough to stand up to the weight of those ingredients. Try Morgan Pinot Gris "R & D Franscioni Vineyard" 2006 (Santa Lucia Highlands, California), $18. -Karen MacNeil.


Katie said...

Yum! This soup sounds great, I love making soup!

I too love that soup at Olive Garden...it is awesome!

Anonymous said...

WOW. That looks super good! I'll have to try that. I love making soups. I always feel like a chef when I make a soup from scratch :)

3 hungry tummies said...

Perfect for our cold nights! Thank you!

Maureen said...

That looks uber delicious! Will have to look for the sausage here hope they have them. Thanks for the recipe.

Happy SITS Tuesday.

Tina Lane said...

This is a particularly nice one for me since it contains ingredients we usually have on hand. Cool.

PS Are all of these desserts really low fat? (I really need you to say, YES.)

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Simple and fabulous! Looking delicious!

Alex Hestilow said...

that looks absolutely amazing! I am going to try this asap!!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Oh it looks great! Good job lightening this one up. You're my hero.

Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner?

Pam said...

I've never heard of this but, it looks and sounds delicious! What a great soup!

Alex H. said...

I just went to the store to get this recipe! I am so excited to make this! I love this blog!!!

Me, Myself and Pie said...

I'm so glad some of you are trying this soup. It is so so so good!

Tina - Yes! All of the recipes on here are from Cooking Light and they are all much lighter than their full-fat, full-calorie counterparts! (Which to me, means I can have seconds ;-)

Two Normal Moms said...

YUM! That looks delicious... I may just give it a try this weekend!


Julie said...

Wow, that combo really looks amazing! I'm a soup lover here, but nobody else is really crazy about it so I don't make it as much as I like.

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