Yesterday I thought I was going to have jury duty, and when I got home I’d have to immediately take one son to soccer practice. Right after soccer practice, we’d have to jump in the car and get my other son to confirmation class at church.

When there’s a day like that, the slow cooker is a dinner savior. So I sorted through some saved recipes that I wanted to try, and decided on a White Bean and Kielbasa Stew recipe from Real Simple.

As it turned out, I checked the county website the night before and my number was excused from jury duty — and it rained all day so there was no soccer practice. I went ahead with the slow cooker recipe, though, and I’m glad I did. We all liked it, and it made enough to freeze for a second night’s dinner.

One of the great things about this recipe is that with less than one pound of meat, we’ll get two dinners. It’s a great way to cut down the amount of meat at dinner, while not sacrificing protein because the beans are packed with it.

Slow Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew

  • 1 pound dried great northern beans (or other white bean)
  • 14 ounces kielbasa, cut in half lengthwise and each half cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 tablespoon jarred chopped garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
  • (amount here) (ingredient name here)


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, add beans, kielbasa (see note below), chicken stock, diced tomatoes, onion, garlic and turn on cooker.
  2. Cook until the beans are tender (low: about 7 or 8 hours; high: 5 or 6 hours). Cooking times can vary based on how hot your particular slow cooker gets.
  3. Right before serving, add the spinach, stir it in, and allow it to wilt for a few minutes.

My notes

  • Many of the reviews for this stew on the Real Simple website mentioned that the beans didn’t cook through completely. I think this is because not all slow cookers have the same power. Older slow cookers might not get as hot as newer ones. If you have an older slow cooker that takes longer to cook things than what most recipes call for, I’d suggest that about two hours before you add the rest of the ingredients, you put the beans and the chicken stock in the slow cooker and turn it on high.
  • One thing I might do differently next time is to add the Kielbasa half-way through the cooking time. It didn’t need to be in there the entire time to cook thoroughly, and it tasted a little watered-down. Other than that, this recipe is a keeper as is.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Recipe: Slow Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew
This flavorful, nutritious stew cooks all day and simplifies the process of getting dinner on the table on a hectic day.