Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup

I’ve been in a dinner slump lately.  Actually, I’ve been in a breakfast, lunch, and dinner slump.  Mostly because I’ve just been in a slump period.  With the change in seasons and going off medications this past August, I’ve been feeling in need of some comfort, some warmth.  I’ve had to adjust my expectations of myself yet again.  In some ways, I feel much better off of the medications.  My moods are more stable, provided I’m not overtired.  I’m not battling other side-effects, like the anxiety, nausea, night sweats, oily hair and skin, etc.  But wow am I sleepy.  And wow, I did not miss all the crazy dreams mixed with hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations along with sleep paralysis.  Thankfully, the reduced stress in my life over the last few months has really helped with the cataplexy.

It is especially difficult to feel the change in symptoms coincide with the change in seasons, just as I noticed last year.  I love Autumn for its colors, crisp morning air, and abundance of pumpkin recipes.  I do not appreciate the lack of sunshine or the days that don’t warm up past 50 degrees.  (Who am I kidding?  I’m freezing when it gets below 65!)  With several cool, dreary days last week, I needed something to eat that would warm me up while soothing my soul just a bit.  Something easy for a sleepy person to make, yet full of flavor.  And I needed to use a bunch of kale that was in the refrigerator.  Enter sausage, white bean, and kale soup.



The spiciness from the red pepper flakes and the sausage, the heartiness of the beans, and the brightness of the lemon juice perked me right up.  Getting back in the kitchen helped, too.  I even turned on some music and danced around, I’m sure.

If you’re following a gluten free diet, this soup fits the bill so long as you check the labels on the sausage and the broth.  One other thing to note: if you have identified one food intolerance, you may need to avoid other foods as well.  For example, beans may give you problems.  (There’s a reason there’s a little song about beans being such a “magical fruit….”)  I seem to do okay with beans if I only eat them on occasion.  Beans are also higher in carbohydrates, so it may be best to eat this soup in the evening only if you find that limiting carbs helps reduce excessive sleepiness – something I, for one, need to experiment with more.

Here’s how to make this little bit of warmth in a bowl:


1/2 pound of ground Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you want a little kick)
salt and pepper to taste
32oz chicken broth
16 oz beef broth (can do all chicken if you prefer. I like the extra oomph the beef broth seems to add.)
2 cans of cannellini beans (I usually prefer dried, but I needed something quick this time.)
1 bunch of kale, stems removed, leaved chopped into bite size pieces
squeeze of lemon juice


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown the sausage, working to break it up into small bits.  Transfer into a bowl, leaving any rendered fat in the pan.

2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan.  Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened.

3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes.  Cook until just fragrant.

4. Add the chicken broth and beef broth.  Bring to a simmer.

5.  Stir in the sausage and half of the beans.

6.  Mash up the remaining beans and add to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7.  Add the kale.  Simmer until the kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

8.  Stir in the lemon juice just before serving.



  1. Eelia says:

    Wow! Great post and I am excited to try this! i had similar experience but maybe more opposite then you as I have only been on my Narcolepsy meds for about 3 months on X and 6 on the stims…..and I have the fibro too. But the best thing about fall is all these wonderful soups and getting into the kitchen helps me so so much! This will be my next try last night I made a hearty Northern New Mexico Green Chili Stew….next time I will add your extra ingredients of music and dance!! Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hey, Eelia! I’m going to check out your blog and read more about your experiences. I sometimes wonder if I have fibro, too, or if it’s just general pain caused by the chronic sleep deprivation from having narcolepsy. Whatever it is, it is totally lame, especially on days when I’m in a sleepy fog yet can’t sleep because I just hurt all over and feel like I’m getting the flu.

      Soups are great for healing a weary mind, as is dancing. :) I hope to share more recipes soon. Would love to hear more about the Northern New Mexico green Chili Stew!

  2. Amanda says:

    YUMMM! Just starting to get cold here too! I might need to try this!! looks delicious!

  3. Holly Twedt says:

    There may be a some SADS effecting you. Seasonal Affective Disorder is very much active beginning in the fall and winter months. A light box to get the impact of the lack of natural sunlight may help! This can help your mood, your energy, your outlook, etc.

    • admin says:

      Hi, Holly! Thanks for your comment. I do use a light box. I started about a month ago. I think it does help my mood, but it does not seem to be helping much with the sleepiness. I am primarily using it to help me wake up in the morning, though. I may add some time in the afternoons I can’t get outside in the sunshine.

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