Renée Kohlman was named one of Canada’s best food bloggers by the National Post for her blog, SweetSugarbean. A graduate of NAIT’s Culinary Arts program, she is a food columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Her pantry is full of staples including:

  • Cans of white beans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas
  • Cans of tuna, salmon, sardines
  • Cans of tomatoes – whole, diced, and crushed
  • Pasta of various shapes
  • Chicken, beef, and vegetable broths
  • Cans of fruit, such as peaches, pineapple, pears
  • Rice, lentils, couscous, quinoa, barley, popcorn
  • Flour, oats, sugar, yeast
  • Evaporated milk
  • Coffee, chocolate, tea

Her quick and easy meal is a delicious and hearty soup.

“Beans are a natural fit for soup,” she says. “If you don’t have stock, you can use water. If you don’t have white beans you can use kidney beans, or black beans. I love using flavourful sausage as a base for soup, as all of the spices and herbs are right there. If you want to keep it vegetarian, just add a tsp each of dried oregano, basil, and paprika to the vegetables.”

Tomato and White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale

Yield: Serves 6


1 Tbs (15 mL) canola oil

3-4 links fresh Chorizo or Italian sausage

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp salt

Pinch chili flakes

4 cups (1 L) low sodium chicken stock

1 - 798 mL can crushed tomatoes,

1 - 540 mL can white kidney beans, rinsed

2 bay leaves

1 tsp honey

4 cups chopped kale, thick stems removed (can use spinach or Swiss chard instead)

1 cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped basil

To taste salt and pepper

Grated Pecorino Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheese to serve


  1. Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from its casings and add to the hot oil. Break up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon. Stirring occasionally, brown the meat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the vegetables, garlic, salt and chili flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes (rinse the can out with 2 cups of water), beans, bay leaves, and honey. Cover, bring to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped kale, and herbs. Cook 2 minutes longer. If you find the soup too thick, thin out with a bit more stock or water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the soup into bowls. Garnish with plenty of cheese. Be generous - these are the days for eating all of the cheese!

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