I have a tendency to think of recipe concepts in the most unlikely places. Sometimes, I'll be in the shower or lying awake at night or driving on the freeway and an idea will pop into my brain.
Which is how this recipe came to be. Since I am fond of butternut squash, I always have one in the fridge this time of year. Sage and white beans are a delicious Tuscan combination. Put these ingredients together in the slow cooker and dinner is ready when you are. Add the optional sausage for another layer of flavor. One pan meals like this are a real time saver. Enjoy!
Tuscan Beans and Butternut
1 pound dried white beans, such as navy or cannellini, rinsed but not soaked
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash (or any winter variety), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves, crumbled, divided
5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 ounces precooked Italian sausage (about 2 links), cut into 1/4-inch slices, optional
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted
Place beans, squash, garlic, and 1 teaspoon sage in crock pot and mix well. Stir in water; cover and cook on high heat for 5 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in salt, pepper, and remaining teaspoon sage.
If using sausage, coat nonstick skillet with olive oil spray and place over medium high heat. Cook sausage slices until brown, then stir into hot bean mixture.
Turn heat to low and cook one more hour. Beans will be thick and coated with dissolved squash. Serve in bowls with one teaspoon walnuts sprinkled on each serving. Makes 8 (rounded 1-cup) servings, 4 points plus for Weight Watchers or 240 calories each. Adjust values for sausage, if using.