Combine broth, water, beans, onion, bay leaves, sugar, ground red pepper, salt and pepper in crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Coat skillet with cooking spray if necessary. Remove sausage from casings and cook until it begins to brown, stirring and breaking up large pieces.
Add sausage to bean mixture in slow cooker, along with remaining ingredients except basil or cilantro. Cover and cook on high for another 15 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro or basil.