Soup is the frugal cook’s best friend. It doesn’t take much of anything; a little bit of meat, a little bit of broth, a little bit of vegetable, a little bit of onion, and a judicious hand with spices and herbs come together to stretch and create a pot of mind-bendingly good soup big enough to feed a crowd.
You and I both know meat is expensive, but it’s oh-so-good… I like my cold weather soups to have the oomph and fullness of taste that meat provides. In order to get that without breaking the bank, I use highly flavourful meats like kielbasa or smoked beef sausage in my soup. To make the meat go further, I use one of my dad’s tricks; the smaller the amount of meat I have, the smaller I dice it and the further it goes. The goal is to get a little bit of meat in every bite and this works like magic.
Now you can fool your tastebuds with the little bitty meat trick, but you can’t fool your belly into thinking its full. To help bulk up the soup and make it more satisfying you have to add STUFF. I like beans (the perennial meat substitute) and lots of ’em, greens of some sort (spinach or kale are my preferences), carrots, celery and onions. Will the soup fail if you’re missing one of those things? Oh gosh no, it’ll just be different. I’m a food blogger, though, it’s my job to tell you how to replicate what I like best.
…And this soup is what I like best. It’s what my hubby likes best. It’s what my kids (minus the “EW! No green stuff!” crowd) like best. It’s just plain good stuff and it comes together so quickly that you’ll miss it if you blink. Unless you’re in a household of one or two people, I don’t advise reducing the recipe. Yes, it DOES make a lot. Okay, if I’m being really honest, it makes a vat. Here’s the thing, though. It is a universal truth that soup tastes better on Day Two. On Day Three? Forget about it. It’s better yet! Odds are the soup won’t make it past Day Four, but if it does, pop it into the freezer in microwave safe, resealable containers. There it will sit happily waiting for you to have a soup craving.
Mmmmmmm… soup. It’s good for the soul AND the pocketbook.
Hearty Kielbasa, Bean, and Vegetable SoupRate Recipe
- 8 ounces to 2 pounds of Beef or Polska Kielbasa
- 1 to 2 onions peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 to 2 carrots peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 to 2 ribs of celery washed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and sliced or minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 quart home canned whole tomatoes in juice or 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes in juice
- 8 cups chicken broth or stock
- 3 cups of cooked cannellini or Great Northern beans with their liquid or 2 cans, with liquid
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 pound of spinach you can use chopped,frozen spinach or fresh baby spinach leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional for serving: grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and hot sauce
- Begin by cutting the kielbasa. If you are using a smaller amount, dice it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. If you're using the larger amount, slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick rounds.
- Place a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Add the kielbasa pieces and cook, stirring frequently, until the kielbasa has rendered quite a bit of fat and taken on some brown colour. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the kielbasa to a rimmed plate or bowl. Drain all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the kielbasa fat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the onions, carrots and celery. Add a pinch of salt and stir to coat all of the vegetables. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stir well, and cook for another minute.
- Use your hands to break up the whole tomatoes over the pan. They don't have to be perfect, but should at least be broken down to bite size. Add the juice from the can along with the chicken stock, beans and their liquid, bay leaf, and thyme leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the soup until the carrots and celery are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Return the kielbasa to the pan and add the frozen or fresh spinach to the pot. Cook just until heated through.
- Serve hot. We like ours with a little grated Parmesan cheese and hot sauce.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
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So yummy! I had swiss chard in my garden to use up so I opted for that rather than the spinach but otherwise prepared as directed. Was a hit with my family.
Oh YUM, Chantal!!!!! That sounds amazing.
Made as directed and it was delicious!
Hi Connie! Thanks so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you love it!
This was AMAZING! We used cooked turnips and kale because we were out of spinach. It had a little slice to it, which I loved. Very colorful – a pretty soup!
Thanks so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you love it, LeeB! I am so glad you enjoyed it.
Bridget Perry-Gore says
This is delicious! I used fresh thyme and sage .
Easy and a great soup along with a warm crusty bread on a winter day…my husband loved this. I’ll surely make this again.
I’m so glad you loved it, Dearie! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know and rate the recipe. xoxo
Loved the recipe. I had a hunk of kielbasa and found this one.
I didn’t have thyme or spinach for this, but I’m sure it was fine. I put the kielbasa back in and put heat on low and then let it cool before putting in the fridge. I ate the meal the next day and love the flavor.
The picture does not seem to support the recipe. Leaving the beans with liquid makes the soup cloudy, which is not a problem. Also, the picture does not seem to show any tomato component. Still, it’s all good. Thanks!
I used home cooked beans, and my bean liquid was much clearer than the canned variety usually is. And there’s definitely a tomato component to it. 🙂 The colour of the bowl just makes it a little hard to suss it out. But I’m glad you loved it! <3
This was amazing! Thought I would freeze leftovers but it is agreed we will have it again tomorrow!
I did add cabbage and drain the beans. Excellent flavor!
Thanks, Donna! I’m so glad you liked it.
How long can a soup with keilbasa and vegetables be kept in my freezer, divided into single portions?
Hi Marti- A general rule of thumb is that soup is best eaten within 6 months of being frozen, but preferably within 3 months!
Can I add cabbage to the sausage , bean and vegetable soup?
I would certainly give it a shot! Sounds like a nice addition!
I make this soup all of the time and it always gets rave reviews. The longer you let it simmer the better! The flavors are everything you want in a nice hearty soup.
Thanks for letting me know how much you like it, Aly, and thank you, too, for the excellent rating! 🙂 <3
Isabel Liss says
Weirdly I cannot see the recipe no matter how I access it — tried going through pinterest (where some kind soul has listed out the ingredients, but not the procedure) — don’t mean to sound like a Luddite here, but how does one get to the actual recipe?
Hi Isabel! You get major points for assuring me you’re not a Luddite AND capitalizing Luddite correctly. 🙂 I’m so grateful that you pointed this out to me because the recipe was indeed missing. I’ve fixed it, and it should be there and printable for you. Happy Soup Making!
Sounds good. I want to try this recipe. Thank you.
Rebecca, what are your thoughts on replacing the Kielbasa with Chorizo? It’s what I have on hand…
Do you have Mexican style or Spanish style chorizo?
I have made a soup like this in the past but with cabbage.
I didn’t have any fresh cabbage on hand so I moved forward with
your recipe instead. Only thing I didn’t use was celery. I added
chopped up red potatoes to stretch it even further. I added some of
my homemade sauerkraut in my bowl and (to me) it was great! My kids
ate the soup pretty good too. Thanks for the recipe. We have 3
adults, 1 teenager, and 2 school age kids in the house so we need
big meals on a dime and this fit the bill.
Leta Bezdecheck says
I have both some frozen spinach and part of a can of sauerkraut I need to use up and that’s how I found this recipe and your comment when I googled my idea. Thanks for giving me confidence to go forward.
Emily Winslow says
Very tasty. Not too far from a minestrone I made just two weeks ago. Heavy on the veggies, though like you said that’s very adjustable. Made even cheaper by using 3.5 cups of cooked beans from dry. The flavor was great. My very anti-veggie hubby even said I could put it on the “list of things I don’t like but don’t hate and you can fix again”. This coming from a red meat and taters kinda man. So thanks!
Lori @ RecipeGirl says
This is MY KINDA SOUP! Hearty and full of all kinds of good stuff. It’s too hot to eat soup just yet in SoCal… but soon!