Kielbasa and Spinach Soup

Since reducing my family’s meat consumption over the past year or so, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate a little meat into our diets from time to time.  You see, my family seems to think they cannot live without meat in their lives.  While I disagree with that and can live a full and meaningful life without meat, in the interest of family harmony, sometimes I make something with meat in it.  The difference in my meat dishes now is that I make every effort to have the meat play a supporting role rather than being the star of the show.  That can be somewhat of a challenge sometimes but I nailed it with this one!  There’s a bite of kielbasa in each spoonful but the spoon is also loaded with beans and spinach and tomato.  Since that results in more vegetarian food going down than meat, that makes me happy.  With the powerful flavor of the kielbasa, you taste more meat than beans and veggies.  That makes my meat-eaters happy.  That leaves everyone happy and full, with family order restored.

I have to make a confession now.  Before this, I had no idea what kielbasa was.  I’d heard of it before but had never eaten it.  When I saw it at the store, my first reaction was “it looks like sausage”.  I can always turn to my good friend Google to help me find answers to many of life’s little mysteries.  Google told me that kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage.  How cool is that?  That would make this a cultural dish.  Not only that, kielbasa sounds way cooler than sausage.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  Of course my slow cooker always helps me get dinner on the table when I know I’ll be tired at the end of the day and not feel like cooking.  It only takes about 5 minutes to prep everything and get the slow cooker going.  Six to eight hours on low and dinner is ready.  I should let you know this is a little more complicated than most of my other slow cooker recipes – you’ll have to add the spinach in the last 30 minutes.  That requires taking the lid off, dropping the spinach in, stirring and putting the lid back on.  Exhausting, I know – but so worth it!

Kielbasa and Spinach Soup

Ingredients

2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can petite diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 lb. Turkey kielbasa, cubed
4 cups spinach

Instructions

Add beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, and garlic to slow cooker.
Cut kielbasa into small chunks and add to slow cooker.
Add oregano.
Cook on low 6-8 hours.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir and spinach leaves.

What’s your favorite way to eat kielbasa?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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