Our Italian tomato bean stew recipe puts a nutritious dinner on the table in just about 30 minutes and only uses one pot! This easy-to-make dinner is a real winner and has become a go-to recipe in our household for quick weeknight dinners.
A combination of Italian sausage, tomatoes, chicken broth, and white beans form the base of this stew. The combination of these simple ingredients when they’re put together is delicious. The Italian tomato bean stew is rustic in all of the best ways; simple, filling, and unfussy.
This is a seriously effortless recipe to make, but there are a few questions you may have, as well as a few substitutions you can make. If you’d like to learn a bit more about this dish, read these questions and answers, otherwise, scroll down to the recipe and get cooking!
What type of sausage should I use in this recipe?
We used our award-winning Leahy’s Italian Sausage. It’s a pork and beef sausage with our proprietary mix of salt, pepper, fennel, oregano, and more spices. We think it’s completely delicious and it was perfect in this dish.
You can buy bulk Italian sausage that isn’t in a casing, or you can buy Italian sausage that is in links and remove it from the casing. Either way will work just fine for this recipe.
If you’re looking to spice up your Italian Tomato Bean Stew, you can use a hot Italian sausage. A little bit of extra heat goes well with the sweetness of the tomatoes in this stew.
You can also use a poultry-based Italian sausage made from chicken or turkey if you prefer avoiding pork-based sausage products. These sausages are leaner, so you may want to use a little additional oil while cooking to keep it from drying out.
What type of beans go into this Italian tomato bean stew?
You are going to want to use a white bean in this stew recipe. The delicate flavor is the perfect complement to the tomatoes and Italian sausage.
We used a can of cannellini beans, and my wife, who absolutely loves beans, wanted two cans. I don’t like beans as much as my wife, so one can was the perfect amount for me.
If you don’t have cannellini beans, these beans also would be good to use in this stew:
- Navy beans
- Great Northern beans
- Lima beans
Can I skip the dairy in this recipe?
Yes, of course you can!
If you are dairy-free or don’t have half and half, whole milk, or heavy cream easily available, you can skip the dairy and it will not ruin this Italian tomato bean stew!
We have half and half at our house constantly (it’s great in scrambled eggs in addition to coffee!), so we like to add a little bit to all of our tomato sauces to provide a bit of richness to counteract the acidity in the tomatoes. The half and half also smooths out the texture of sauce, which we like!
What are some ways I can customize this Italian tomato bean stew?
Here are a few other ways that you can tailor this recipe to your taste:
- If you enjoy garlic, try sautéing a few cloves of minced garlic in the pot right before you add the tomatoes.
- Try using red wine instead of chicken broth for a version of Italian tomato bean stew that has a deeper, bolder flavor.
- If you really want to make a spicy version of this dish, add a teaspoon of red chili peppers in the seasoning mix.
Does this recipe keep well in the freezer?
If you are looking for a recipe to meal prep and have ready to defrost and serve, this Italian tomato bean stew will work for you…with a caveat.
If you are going to freeze this dish, we recommend not adding the half and half and spinach before freezing. Instead, just follow the steps until that point. You can then freeze the soup in one big batch to defrost and heat, or portion into individual portions to serve. If you freeze it in one big batch, you can add the half and half and spinach to the stew while reheating and enjoy those two ingredients fresh!
This stew will keep for 2 – 3 months in your freezer. You can learn more about freezing soups & stews from this excellent Taste of Home article.
Do you have other recipes that use Italian sausage?
If you came here looking for a recipe to use Italian sausage and this one isn’t quite hitting for you, don’t worry, we have other recipes that use Italian sausage as well!
Check these out:
What do you serve alongside this Italian tomato bean stew?
This stew is a pretty complete meal on its own, but we did make garlic toast to enjoy with the stew.
Dunking a crispy piece of garlic toast into the stew and savoring the broth was quite yummy, and we would recommend it!
Do you have more questions about our Italian tomato bean stew or did you make any adjustments to the recipe? Please leave a comment and / or rating below with your feedback. We appreciate you taking the time to share and we hope to see you soon at Lake Geneva Country Meats. Now, on to the recipe!
- .75 lb Italian sausage (removed from casing – see note above)
- 1 Yellow Onion (small – diced)
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 28 oz Diced Tomatoes
- 15 oz Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Half and Half
- 2 cup Spinach (fresh – washed)
Add the olive oil to a large saucepan, and heat to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 2 minutes, breaking the sausage into crumbles. Add the onion and tomato paste, stir together, and keep cooking until the sausage is cooked and onion is soft.
Add the diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, chicken broth, and spices. Stir together, and let simmer for about 15 minutes until warm.
Add the half and half as well as the spinach and cook for about 2 more minutes until the spinach is wilted. Serve your Italian tomato bean stew with garlic bread and enjoy!