Sausage + Bacon = Healthy Dish?

I know, you’re trying to figure out how it is possible that one could eat sausage and bacon in the same meal and not have a heart attack immediately? Oh my friends, you can absolutely have your (pork flavored?) cake and eat it too! This recipe was inspired by a meal I ate last winter at an Italian café down the street from my office. I know it was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday (plus I took notes)! That dish contained both Italian sausage and prosciutto, but had a lot more calories and other ingredients (like croutons). So for my at-home recreation I tried to lighten it up where I could, without sacrificing a hearty dish that is both filling and full of flavor.

While the sausage and bacon both have a lot of fat, there is also a lot of protein in the meats as well as the white beans. Eliminating the bread and adding the spinach helps round it out a little more.

Italian Sausage White Bean Stew
–1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (without casing)
–3 strips bacon
–small onion, diced
–garlic, minced
–15oz. can of white beans (sometimes labeled Cannelini), drained and rinsed
–14.5oz. can of diced tomatoes with juices
–black pepper
–1 cup chicken broth
–1 cup spinach leaves, washed and torn
–1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet sauté the Italian sausage, stirring to crumble it as it cooks. Ultimately you want to end up with fully cooked bite-sized sausage pieces.

While the sausage cooks, take your trusty kitchen scissors and cut the bacon strips into small squares directly into a large pot or Dutch oven. Allow the bacon to cook until it begins to crisp but is still soft. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook them in the bacon grease, stirring often.

Add the drained white beans and stir to combine before adding the tomatoes, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil and add the spinach to the top. Do not stir to combine, but rather allow the the spinach to cook down for a few minutes before stirring to mix it with the soup.

Spoon into bowls and top with parsley and Parmesan. Serve.

Dammit Jim, I’m a cook, not a doctor…
Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4
Calories: 508

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