Louisiana comfort food with a healthy twist? Yes indeed! My healthy cajun white beans with sausage and kale is a high protein and high fiber dish perfect for meal prep or an easy week-night meal.
Growing up in Louisiana, food and drink is the heart and soul of everything that we do. When I first started meal prepping, I thought that meant my options were limited to boring, bland, flavorless chicken and broccoli. At the time, I avoided a lot of the southern comfort food that I grew up with because I viewed it as “unhealthy.”
Well boy am I glad that I had it all wrong!
Now…I wouldn’t say that all southern food fits into the “light” category. We do indulgent and we do it GOOD. But beans? It’s one of our specialties and they just so happen to be a nutrient dense food with loads of fiber and some protein. That means it helps us feel full. Count. Me. In!
This recipe for healthy cajun white beans came straight from my mom with a few adjustments on my end. When I first asked her how she cooked her white beans, I COULD NOT BELIEVE how easy it was. Preparing dry beans was always so intimidating to me. Didn’t it take all day? How do you make something that looks so plain taste so good? It must be difficult. Well friends, I was wrong…and you better believe we’re all thankful for that. I’ve been hooked ever since I cooked my first batch of Camellia Brand beans!
My Healthy Twist – Turkey Sausage & Kale
I recommend using a turkey or chicken smoked sausage. My favorite is Richard’s Turkey & Pork Smoked Sausage. For reference, traditional smoked pork sausage can have up to ~20g of fat per serving. The Richard’s Turkey blend has 3.5g per serving. That’s a notable difference! Sometimes I also add some chicken to my beans for more texture and protein (see in pics!).
The second healthy twist that I’ve added to my mom’s recipe is the increase in veggies. I use a whole onion and 2-3 bell peppers in the base and then add several cups of fresh kale to wilt at the end. Hello antioxidants!
Stove top, Pressure Cooker, or Slow Cooker
I’ve made this recipe on my stove, in my pressure cooker, and in a slow cooker. It really just depends on how fast you want to get it done!
Pressure Cooker: Turn your pot to sauté mode and add the olive oil, onion, and bell peppers. Once tender, add your smoked sausage (and chicken if using). Stir in your seasoning, broth, and beans. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes with a 10 minute natural release. *Exact times may vary – I use a Ninja Foodi. Once cooked, mash some beans on the side of the pot to thicken. At this point, you can stir in your kale.
Slow Cooker: Add all ingredients (except kale!) to your slow cooker. Cook on low for ~8 hours until beans are tender. Once cooked, mash some beans on the side of the pot to thicken. At this point, you can stir in your kale.
This recipe went wild over on insta with the most feedback that I’ve ever gotten – and for good reason! It could not mean more to me to see y’all enjoying one of my childhood dishes!
Y’all make this ASAP before it gets hot again!!!
Healthy Cajun White Beans with Sausage and KalePrint Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2-3 bell peppers any color, chopped
- 1 lb smoked turkey sausage sliced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp cajun seasoning
- 2 tsp oregano dried
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 lb dry great northerner beans
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz kale stems removed, chopped
- Optional: pre-soak beans over night or with the quick soak method.Quick soak: bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add dry beans. Return to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. Drain.
- In a large pot, add 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- Chop onion & bell pepper…add to pot & saute
- Slice smoked sausage and add to pot
- Stir in garlic, cajun seasoning, & oregano – stir & cook an additional 2-3 min until sausage is browned
- Add dry beans, chicken stock, and bay leaves, stir
- Bring to a boil then simmer for 45-60 minutes or until beans are tender
- Optional: mash some beans on the side of the pot or in a separate bowl to help thicken…*I remove a decent amount of beans and pulse with an immersion blender!
- Remove from heat. Chop kale & stir into beans to wilt
- Serve as-is or over rice with some hot sauce!