{Paleo} Creamy Kale, Mushroom, & Sausage Soup

On Monday night, I posted a picture on Instagram of some soup simmering in my crockpot without thinking much of it. I didn’t even really follow a recipe, I just sort of dumped a bunch of things together earlier that afternoon and hoped for the best.

 But the soup ended up tasting really delicious…and it’s Paleo! Please don’t let that turn you off though if you’re not eating Paleo, as this is a great dish that anyone can enjoy. 

And because a lot of people have been asking for it, I thought I’d go ahead and try to do my best to share the “recipe”…which is basically what I can recollect of what I threw in my crockpot, along with how I might improve it for next time! 
{Paleo} Cream Kale, Mushroom, & Sausage Soup
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lbs of mild Italian sausage (so about 4 links)
1 lb. mushrooms, chopped or sliced (which ever way you prefer!)
2 quarts chicken broth
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbs. Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 bunch of kale, chopped and stems removed
1 14 oz can of unsweetened full-fat coconut milk

1. Sauté your chopped veggies/garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until softened, so about 5 minutes (and to be honest, you might even be able to skip this step if you’re in a rush and just want to dump everything in the crockpot…but I just think that it adds a lot of flavor when you sauté them first!)

2. Add your veggies to your crock pot, and go ahead and add your mushrooms in as well (I didn’t sauté the mushroom for what ever reason…I used crimini mushrooms, but feel free to use whatever variety you like! I also only cut my mushrooms in half and the pieces where kind of big, so I’d suggest slicing them up or chopping them instead)

3. Next, add your sausage–and you have a few options here. I chose not to unwrap my sausages from the casings, I sliced them uncooked, and added them to my crockpot without browning them first…however, they didn’t slice very well and ended up being like big chunks that were more similar to meatballs…which actually tasted really awesome in the soup (and made it seem sort of like Italian wedding soup)! However, you could definitely unwrap them from the casings, brown the sausage first, and then use the ground sausage as well. I personally thought the flavor of the mild Italian sausage worked really well in this soup, but if you want to use spicy or some other flavor, feel free! Or if you want to use something else like fully-cooked chicken sausage sliced up, that would probably work too!

4. After you’ve added your sausage to the crock pot, add 2 quarts of chicken broth and your spices. The amounts I listed for the red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning are just estimates, so season to your own tastes and feel free to add other spices if you’d like. Same with the salt and pepper, just season to taste and don’t worry too much about measuring.

5. Set the crockpot to low and leave for at least 4 hours. (I only left mine for 4 hours, but I’m sure if you had to leave it for longer it would be fine)

6. After the soup has had awhile to cook, add in your chopped kale and your can of coconut milk and stir. Two things–make sure you chop your kale small! I didn’t chop mine small enough and ended up with some big pieces that were hard to eat. Second, make sure you are using the correct kind of coconut milk as that’s what gives the soup its creaminess. It needs to be full-fat canned coconut milk (it’s found in the Asian foods aisle) and NOT the kind of coconut milk you’d drink/find in the aisle with the almond milk/soy milk. Full-fat coconut milk is amazing, it’s full of health benefits, and I promise it does not make the soup taste like coconut at all! 
7. After you’ve mixed in the kale/coconut milk, turn the crock pot up to high for about 20 minutes to let the kale wilt down. (I’d avoid putting these two ingredients in for the full time, it definitely works best to add them in at the end like this!) Once the kale has had a chance to wilt a little bit, your soup is ready to enjoy!

 (Oh and in case anyone is wondering, I use a 6 qt. crock pot–this model here)

This is totally a recipe where you can change up the veggies and spices to your liking and just use what you have on hand. However, I really like the way the flavors in this soup came together as I think the creamy base flavored with the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes paired really well with the mushrooms, kale, and sausage. I’m already looking forward to making this soup again this winter! Xoxo

PS: I’m guest posting today for a fellow Tahoe blogger, Tiara, over at her blog Ice Cream & French Fries! I’m talking all about our travels, so definitely check it out!