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Tuscan Sausage and Bean Dip combines spicy Italian sausage, tender cannelloni beans, and Tuscan kale in a warm and creamy dip. Serve it with toasted baguette slices.
After a long day, it’s not uncommon for Jack and me to eat a “heavy appetizer” for dinner. A heavy appetizer is a dish that can be served as hors d’oeuvres, but it’s also satisfying enough that you won’t need to eat dinner afterwards.
Our Tuscan Sausage and Bean Dip certainly fits the bill! It’s a dish you can assemble ahead of time – then when you’re ready to eat, just heat in the oven until hot and bubbly.
Why you’ll love our Tuscan Sausage and Bean Dip
- This hot and cheesy delicious dip is loaded with protein and vegetables – so it’s hearty and filling.
- Served with toasted slices of bread and a nice glass of wine – I can’t think of a better way to end the day with your favorite person!
Buy Italian sausage in a bulk package. But – if you can only find the links – just cut the casings with a knife and remove the sausage meat from the casings.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Hot Italian Sausage – You can swap in sweet Italian sausage if you prefer, but the zesty spice in the hot variety is especially good in this dish.
- Tuscan Kale – This rippled-leaf vegetable is sometimes called lacinato, dinosaur or black kale at the supermarket, and it is tender and flavorful. Choose this variety over the curly, green kale for the best results.
- Cannelloni Beans – For convenience, we used two cans of beans in our recipe (drained and rinsed), but if you prefer, you can buy dried and cook the beans yourself.
- Roasted Red Peppers – Again, for convenience, we used jarred roasted red peppers. But, you can buy fresh red bell peppers and roast them yourself, removing the skins after roasting.
- Cheeses – This delicious dip has a combination of cream cheese, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheeses.
How do I make Tuscan Sausage and Bean Dip?
- Cook the Italian sausage in a skillet until browned, breaking the meat into smaller crumbles. Strain the excess grease, then set the cooked sausage aside.
- Sauté vegetables including onions, garlic, and Tuscan kale. Once the kale is wilted, add wine to the pan to deglaze, then add the cooked sausage back to the pan.
- Add the cream cheese to the skillet, stirring to melt and combine.
- Add drained beans and diced roasted red peppers, then half of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses – stirring again to combine.
- Pour the sausage, bean, and cheese mixture into a 9×9 baking dish.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
- Bake until hot and bubbly.
- Serve with toasted slices of bread (we used a French baguette, sliced on the bias).
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make this dip ahead of time? Yes! Once you’ve assembled the dip in the baking dish, you can cover and chill until ready to bake. We do suggest that you bring the dish back up to room temperature before baking.
- Can I bake in advance and reheat? Sure – this dip reheats nicely in the oven, or microwave. But – since all of the ingredients are already cooked when assembled, the baking time is really just for melting the cheese and heating through before eating. (Baking it ahead of time won’t really save you any time.)
- How do I store the leftovers? Just cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Then reheat as mentioned above.
- Can I serve this dip with crackers? Of course – we served our Tuscan Sausage and Bean Dip with hearty, toasted bread, but crackers, pita bread or even just a spoon will work.
You may enjoy these other dip recipes:
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Zesty Cheesy Ritz Dip
- Caramelized Onion Dip
- Easy Zesty Cheese Dip
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casing
2 cups sweet onion diced, about one large onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic, about 3–4 cloves
3 cups Tuscan kale removed from the stems, chopped and rinsed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 15.5–ounce cans cannelloni beans rinsed and drained
1 7–ounce jar roasted red pepper, diced into half-inch pieces and drained
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1 loaf French baguette sliced on the bias
Olive oil to brush on the bread slices before grilling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a very large skillet or saute pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon of the olive oil and once hot, add all of the sausage meat, breaking up as it browns. Have a strainer and bowl standing by.
Once cooked, pour into strainer and discard grease. Set cooked meat aside.
In the same pan, add the remaining two tablespoons of oil and once shimmering, add the onions and cook for three minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the kale, salt and pepper and cook to wilt, about two minutes.
Add the wine and cooked sausage and increase to medium high and cook to evaporate the wine, about 3-4 minutes.
Lower heat back to medium and stir in the cream cheese to melt.
Add in the drained beans and drained diced roasted red peppers and stir.
Stir in half of the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella cheese, then pour into a 9X9 casserole dish.
Cover with the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Slice a baguette on the bias into about a dozen slices. Brush both sides with olive oil then grill on both sides in a ribbed grill pan. (I placed a dinner plate over the bread as it cooked to weigh it down to get nice toasted rib marks)
Once the dip is hot and bubbly, place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown and serve with the grilled bread slices.
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