Slow Cooker Northern Bean and Spinach Soup
This hearty Northern Bean and Spinach Soup is perfect for when there is a chill in the air, and you want dinner waiting for you as you walk in the door.
- 1 cup dried Northern beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced, no salt added
- 6 ounces fresh spinach (about 2 cups packed)
- 6 ounces light kielbasa or smoked sausage, diced
Adapted from recipes.sparkpeople.com
Place the dried beans in the slow cooker and add 1 quart water. Cover and let soak overnight. (Do not turn on the slow cooker.)
In the morning, drain and rinse the beans. Return the beans to the slow cooker, along with the carrots, onion, garlic, spices, and stock, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the beans are tender.
About 20 minutes before dinnertime, use an immersion blender to puree half the soup. (Or transfer to a blender, and leave the cap off the top but cover with a dishtowel to avoid splatters. This will allow steam to escape as you puree the soup. Return the pureed soup to the slow cooker.)
Add the tomatoes, spinach, and sausage to the slow cooker. Replace lid and cook on high for 20 minutes.
Ladle two cups into each bowl. Serve with crusty whole-wheat bread or place a scoop of mashed potatoes in the bottom of each bowl.
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