Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup — Indulge in the warmth and coziness of this EASY Italian sausage tortellini soup that’s made in one pot and ready in 30 MINUTES! Made with cheesy tortellini, juicy sausage, carrots and kale for extra nutrients, and a rich and creamy tomato sauce broth! This comfort food soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and you can make it on busy weeknights because it’s so QUICK!
Table of Contents
- Easy Sausage Tortellini Soup Recipe
- Ingredients in Tortellini Soup with Sausage
- How to Make Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Tips for the Best Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Recipe Variations to Try
- What to Serve with Sausage Kale Tortellini Soup
- Recipe FAQs
- Storing and Reheating Instructions
- Sausage Tortellini Soup Recipe
- More Soup Recipes Using Italian Sausage:
Easy Sausage Tortellini Soup Recipe
Get ready to warm up with a comforting bowl of Italian sausage tortellini soup. This hearty, creamy tomato-based soup is loaded with flavor, thanks to Italian pork sausage, tender carrots, cheese tortellini, and nutritious kale.
It’s also a one-pot soup ready to sip and slurp in about 30 minutes from start to finish.
I make this tortellini soup recipe with Italian sausage for a fast and easy weeknight dinner on those hectic nights after work and you’ve got a hungry family to feed.
It’s cozy, hearty, and served with some crusty bread and some freshly grated Parmesan on top, even those ‘soup isn’t a meal’ people will be more than satisfied!
Love Tortellini Soup?
Be sure to make this chicken tortellini soup recipe next! It’s hearty and comforting, and made with chicken instead of sausage!
Ingredients in Tortellini Soup with Sausage
The ingredient list is straightforward for making sausage and tortellini soup. (If you would like to make substitutions, I also give you some ideas further down.)
- Italian pork sausage (sweet or hot)
- Italian seasoning
- Tomato paste
- Beef broth
- Heavy cream
- Cheese tortellini
- Kale (or spinach)
- Parmesan, fresh herbs; optional for garnishing
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
It doesn’t get any easier than this easy soup recipe. Follow my clear instructions.
Step 1: To a large Dutch oven, saute the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink, then add the onion, carrots, salt and pepper, and then the garlic. Make sure to use your wooden spoon to lift up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Step 2: Stir in the tomato paste until combined, then add the broth and Italian seasoning, and simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Step 3: Add the heavy cream, tortellini, stir to combine, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Add the kale and allow it to wilt for a few minutes.
Step 5: Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving up a big bowl of creamy sausage tortellini soup!
Tips for the Best Sausage Tortellini Soup
Work Ahead: Make sure to work ahead on this soup with your prep work. Meaning, while the pork is sauteing, chop the onions and carrots. While they’re sauteing, mince the garlic, and so forth. Don’t just stand around if you want to finish it in the suggested time frame.
Saute for Flavor: When sautéing the sausage, onion, carrots, and garlic, allow them to cook until they develop a golden-brown color. This caramelization enhances the overall flavor of the soup. And then make sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom since they’re ‘lil flavor nuggets.
Don’t Skip the Tomato Paste (and not tomato sauce): Tomato paste adds depth and richness to the soup’s tomato base. Make sure to stir it in well to distribute its flavor evenly. Don’t confuse it with tomato sauce.
Simmer to Enhance Flavor: Letting the soup simmer for a few minutes after adding the broth and seasonings allows all the flavors to meld together. Simmering always enhances the depth of flavor in soup. Although the bonus here is you don’t need to wait around for hours and hours!
Heavy Cream for Creaminess: When adding the heavy cream, use room temperature heavy cream (set it out when you begin making the soup). And lower the heat to avoid curdling once the cream is added – do not allow it to boil fast. Half-and-half can be used in a pinch, noting your soup won’t be as creamy. You have a choice of liquids, but my vote is on heavy cream for the richness.
Do Not Use Milk: Personally, if milk was my option in lieu of heavy cream, I wouldn’t bother and would just enjoy a tomato-based broth, rather than a watery-but-not-really-creamy “cream-based” broth. Milk won’t give the richness that cream does. It’s kind of like putting skim milk in coffee. Not great.
Trim the Kale: When using kale, make sure to remove any very thick stems. They don’t become tender and can be a bit tough in the soup. However, kale by its nature has ribs. They’re fine and you don’t need to obsess about removing them.
Bagged kale sold where bags of lettuce are sold is one way to save time. I almost always add more kale than the amount of kale called for because when it’s wilted in a soup, it’s such an easy way to sneak in extra nutrients and fiber.
Recipe Variations to Try
One of the things I love about making homemade soups is that they are so versatile!
You can easily customize them to suit your tastes. Here are a plethora of ideas to inspire your creativity:
- Tortellini: I use cheese tortellini that I buy from the refrigerated cases and section of my grocery store. If you’re a meat lover, you can also buy tortellini filled with the meat of your choice. If you some vegetable-based tortellini on hand, such as spinach or mushroom, they’ll be fine too.
- Pasta: Tortellini adds a unique flavor and texture to this easy soup, but you can easily substitute it with other pasta shapes you may have in your cupboard. Try penne, rigatoni, or even spaghetti broken into smaller pieces.
- Sausage: I used ground sweet Italian pork sausage without casings. If you’re a fan of spicier dish, you can use hot Italian sausage. There are also so many different kinds of sausage on the market these days that whatever you love will no doubt be great. It’s easier to buy a pound of ground sausage, but if you have a pound of sausage links in casings, just slip them off by making a little slit with a paring knife and they peel off very easily.
- Protein: If sausage isn’t your thing, or you just happen to have something else on hand, go ahead and use it. Ground beef works just as well and you could probably get away with ground turkey or ground chicken. Note that for the later two, you’ll probably want to add some olive oil to the soup pot since they’re so low in fat naturally.
- Broth: Not a fan of beef broth? Swap it out for low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth instead. I use low sodium broths, and then add salt at the end.
- Onions: White or yellow onions work equally as well in this recipe.
- Spice level: Turn the heat up by using spicy Italian sausage or adding a few red pepper flakes. Remember to taste as you go so you don’t overdo it, but I do find that soups need a decent amount of seasonings to make them taste good!
- Extra veggies: Feel free to add more veggies like bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, zucchini, or diced tomatoes. The first two I suggest adding when you add the carrots and onions, and the later two I would add when you add the tortellini. Zucchini and tomatoes would both turn to mush if they simmered for more than about 15 minutes.
- Leafy greens: If you can’t find kale, you can substitute it for fresh baby spinach which is the most logical. You’ll have a beautiful batch of Sausage Tortellini Spinach Soup at that point! Swiss chard or collard greens can be used but they’re not quite as common and can be quite tough, so use your judgment.
Extra Kale to Use?
If you bought a bunch of kale and are wondering what to do with it, run, run, race and make this Chicken Kale Soup! It’s a one-pot, 30-minute soup recipe that is a reader favorite. Super healthy, nourishing, and comforting.
What to Serve with Sausage Kale Tortellini Soup
Want to round out your meal? Here are some ideas to make your bowl of soup with sausage and tortellini more memorable:
- Crusty Bread: Serve the soup with slices of warm, crusty bread or a baguette. You can also make my easy No-Knead Dinner Rolls, Texas Roadhouse Rolls, or Garlic Rolls for an extra flavorful accompaniment.
- Grated Parmesan: Offer a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table for everyone to sprinkle on top of their soup.
- Fresh Herbs: Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of fresh herbs like basil, oregano, parsley, or chives.
- Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons add a delightful crunch to the soup. They can be garlic-seasoned or plain, depending on your preference.
- Side Salad: Serve a Classic House Salad with a light vinaigrette to balance the richness of the soup. Kale Caesar Salad would also be a great choice especially since you’ll have kale on hand.
- Flatbread: Offer slices of this Garlic Cheese Flatbread alongside the soup.
- Lemon Wedges: Provide lemon wedges for a fresh citrus squeeze. A touch of lemon juice can brighten up the flavors of the soup.
Yes you can however my thoughts about this are why do you want to prolong a quick-and-easy recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes and drag it out into an hours-long affair? Plus, you will likely want to brown the sausage in a skillet, which means you’ll have to dirty a skillet anyway, then transfer to a slow cooker.
If you still want to carry on with a slow cooker, follow the general idea I use for my Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup. Brown the sausage first, transfer, add everything else except the tortellini and kale. Slow cook for many hours, until tender. Add the tortellini and cook for about an hour, add the kale and cook for about 30 minutes or until wilted. Personally, I will stick with the stovetop recipe any day!
Absolutely. You can make this soup vegetarian using plant-based Italian sausage and substituting vegetable broth for beef broth.
Yes, you can make a gluten-free version of this soup by using gluten-free tortellini and ensuring that all other ingredients, including the sausage and broth, are gluten-free as well.
Yes, you can. Follow the recipe up to the point of adding the tortellini and kale and refrigerate the soup base. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the base, add the tortellini and kale, and finish the recipe as directed.
Honestly though, I would just make it as written straight through, guard the leftovers in the fridge, and then reheat them and serve. Perhaps you wouldn’t do this if you were serving it for a very special occasion, but overall, you’ll be just fine. This is more of a comfort food soup recipe than a ‘super special occasion’ recipe anyway.
You sure can. If you’re planning to make this for a big group, or want lots of planned leftovers on hand to quickly reheat-and-eat throughout the week, feel free to double the recipe. Just make sure you have an extra large Dutch oven or soup pot.
Storing and Reheating Instructions
To store any leftovers, simply place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This tortellini soup with Italian sausage and kale will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
I haven’t ever frozen this soup. The issue with freezing anything with cream or dairy in it like this is that upon thawing, it can appear a bit curdled – like there’s bits of white stuff floating – which while it may not taste bad, is very unsightly.
If you do attempt freezing it, freeze one small portion in case my suspicions are confirmed and that happens. The other way around this if you want to make planned leftovers and freeze some because in general, soups freeze well, just leave out the heavy cream.
Anytime there’s dairy involved, make sure to reheat gently. I do it in the microwave in short bursts, but you can also do it on the stove over low heat.
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Sausage Tortellini Soup
- 1 pound ground Italian pork sausage, sweet or hot are both fine, casings removed if you are using sausage links
- 1 medium yellow or white onion
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced into thin rounds or half moons
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste if necessary
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste if necessary
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 6 ounces tomato paste, not tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or to taste
- 64 ounces reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 cup heavy cream, half-and-half may be substituted
- 9 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini, or your favorite tortellini flavor and style
- 3 cups torn or roughly chopped kale leaves, with very thick stems and ribs removed
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional for garnishin
- Fresh herbs including parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, etc.; optional for garnishing
- To a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add the pork, and saute over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes; crumble and toss with a wooden spoon as it's cooking.
- Add the onions, carrots, salt, pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until tender; stir frequently.
- Add the garlic, stir, and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
- Add the heavy cream, tortellini, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until tortellini are soft and done. Tip – Use heavy cream for best results, although half-and-half may be substituted. Do not use milk, it's too thin and watery and won't help you acheive the intended flavor and texture goals.
- Add the kale, stir to combine, turn off the heat, and wait for 1-2 minutes, or until it has wilted.
- Taste the soup and make any necessary flavor adjustments. Seasoning Tips – More than likely, you will want to add more salt, at least 1 to 2 teaspoons more. Part of it will depend on how salty your pork sausage is, but also your general preference for salt. If the soup tastes at all flat, bland, boring, or like it's missing something, it likely needs more salt so don't be afraid to add it. Pepper too, although not as critical as salt tends to be. For those who want just a hint of spice, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper will add flavor and interest, rather than just spiciness and it's a trick I often use when I want to jazz up soup. You have to add more than a pinch to actually make it spicy. Hot pepper flakes are also a nice touch here. Ironically, so is a pinch of sugar. It can balance the acidity of the tomato sauce similar to adding a pinch of sugar to pasta sauce.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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