White Beans, Sausage and Fresh Spinach

Mariel here. There are several grocery stores within a five-block radius of my apartment – not to mention CVS and Duane Reade, which have become mini grocers in their own rights. But like everything else in NYC, the prices at the local Gristedes and D’Agostino are pretty insane. My mom tells me that when she was shopping for our family of five in the 80’s, she budgeted for about $10 per bag of food (in an email to me she expanded saying, “and it was REAL food – chicken, meat, fruits and veggies…the whole shebang including cleaning supplies”). Today, I’d say I spend about $25 for every shopper I tote home and I’m always left wondering what I actually bought. My brother and I were joking over dinner last night that we can’t seem to run an errand without automatically spending $40. While most of us feel like we bleed cash, in Manhattan, it feels more like a gushing hemorrhage.

When I first started really learning how to cook, I was truly baffled by how much it cost to make a meal. The sticker shock was almost too much to bear and I urged my mom to include prices on every recipe, that way newbies like me would know what they’re in for before whipping out a credit card. We’ve received plenty of feedback letting us know that this feature is greatly appreciated – even if it is a pain in the a$$ to calculate costs.

I suppose this was all just a long way of saying that the following recipe was a product of the sale shelf. My grocer was offering a special on cannellinis, chicken sausage and fresh spinach, so, using this soup as my muse, I cobbled together a low-maintenance but super tasty weeknight dinner for less than $5. I’ve calculated the cost based on current prices (not the stingy sale prices I paid), but you’ll find that recipes don’t come much easier than this one. Plus, it’s easy to double or triple it if you’re cooking for a big brood. Happy Fat Tuesday!

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White Beans, Sausage and Fresh Baby Spinach
Serves 4

2 19-oz cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – $2.00
10-oz bag of fresh spinach – $1.99
2/3-cup of white wine – stock
4 sausage links (chicken, pork or turkey), sliced about a 1/4-inch-thick – $3.59
I large sweet onion, chopped roughly – $0.89
2 cloves of garlic, minced – stock
1 Tablespoon olive oil – stock
Salt & pepper, to taste – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $8.47
Cost per serving: $2.11

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet (preferably not non-stick) over med-high heat. Once the oil is hot, saute the onions and garlic until they start to turn golden and caramelize – this takes about 10 minutes, but stir very frequently to prevent burning (turn down the heat as necessary). Splash with half of the white wine.

2. Reduce heat to medium, push the onions/garlic to the side and brown the sausages on both sides, this takes about 3-4 minutes per side. Add the cannellini beans to the skillet, then add the spinach and splash everything with the remaining half of wine. Toss together until spinach wilts, about 1 minute, then season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.


  1. says

    I love how you calculate the cost of meals and “cobbled up” this hearty meal on what was on special. This looks amazing and I guarantee if you ordered it in a restaurant in NYC, it would cost a lot more!

  2. says

    We really appreciate the pain in a$$ calculations you do! This recipe is simple and hearty and the spinach adds a nice appetizing green to it!

  3. says

    What an outstanding meal – I have never thought of a combination like this before.
    My husband and I cringe at what we spend a month on groceries – it is worse here in Mauritius because so many things are imported – we are looking forward to reducing this cost when we return home to South Africa later this year.
    :-) Mandy

  4. Jocelyn says

    I hosted a brunch this weekend and was wondering what to do with the leftover sausages I didn’t cook. This is an easy go to for my lazy cooking bones. Thanks for the inspiration… saved me from my typical routine of letting the extras turn green with mold then throwing out. 😉

  5. valerie says

    Will you two fabulous ladies be publishing a St. Patty’s day recipe for corned beef and cabbage??
    I bought what looked like a nice piece of brisket (no spice bag included). Can I use this?
    Thanks for your help.

  6. says

    Looks tasty! I love all of the ingredients in this recipe, and it’s so simple that it would be a great go-to meal when you are short on time or just don’t feel like making a more complex meal.

  7. says

    Wow, that is “on the cheap!” And it seems like something we’d really love here. Especially with some crusty bread or a salad. Thanks!

    • feastonthecheap says

      Thanks! And we LOVE Dr. Oz. He knows what he’s talking about and really has great info about healthy living. Wonderful to hear from you! Best, M&M

  8. Jeanne Brennan says

    Anything with fresh spinach…I am so there. This was great – made it yesterday and the boys loved it. I served it over bow ties. Yummy!

  9. says

    This looks so fantastic! I’m always looking for new ways of incorporating beans into the mix! Love that you include the prices too… very helpful!!

  10. Mariel says

    Caught me off guard at first to see someone else with the same name as me. Love this recipe!! It is a huge it with the entire family.


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