Sausage and Chickpea Minestrone

Did I already mention that my family eats a lot of soup? I just love this recipe because it is a one-pot meal that is filling and easy to modify (add whatever combination of vegetables you like). It's also easy to double, if you have a large enough pot. Enjoy!

Sausage and Chickpea Minestrone

12-16 ounces organic turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed

½ of a medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 cup (or more) diced carrot

½ cup (or more) diced celery (or zucchini, or leeks, or kale, or.....)

1 tablespoon dried parsley

¾ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon minced garlic, or 5-6 minced cloves of garlic

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

4 cups (one quart) low-sodium chicken broth

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add a drizzle of MCT oil to scantily cover the bottom. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, stirring to crumble (if using precooked sausage, skip this step and just move on to adding the onion, etc. You will add the sausage later). Add onion and next 7 ingredients (through garlic); cook 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and chicken broth (and, if using precooked sausage, then add it at this time. Chop up the sausage into small pieces before adding it to the pot); bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes. Done! Can you believe it was that easy?

Note: Try experimenting with different vegetables. I often don't have celery on hand when I spontaneously decide to make this recipe, so I will add a combination of zucchini and leeks, or yellow summer squash, or bell peppers.

Note: if you want to make this even more filling, consider adding one cup or so of cooked rice, at the same time as the chickpeas. Or, add 1/2 cup or so of uncooked orzo, and increase the cooking time to 10+ minutes, or until orzo is fully cooked.