For a comforting meal that won’t leave you feeling weighed down, turn to this Sausage Tortellini Soup. Plump cheese tortellini pasta, a vegetable rich tomato broth, and bites of tender Italian sausage are a dreamy combination on a dreary day. Made in one pot in just 45 minutes, this is a recipe you can eat for days, and will enjoy for years to come.
Tortellini soup with sausage and kale is part soup, part lasagne, part pasta, and 100% comfort. We loaded it up with fresh vegetables for a hearty meal that won’t weigh you down.
Italian food has a reputation for being rich and decadent, and certainly most Americanized versions are. But the bulk of Italian cuisine relies more on fresh, high quality meats and vegetables than starch heavy pastas and creamy sauces.
Our take on Sausage Tortellini Soup is a riff on tortellini en brodo, which always includes a vegetable-rich broth and sometimes includes pork (usually in the tortellini itself). This recipe relies on store-bought cheese tortellini and prepared Italian sausage links for convenience, but certainly doesn’t lack in freshness or flavor.
How to make Italian sausage tortellini soup
One pot, two hands, and 45 minutes will yield you a pot brimming with plump cheese tortellini swimming in a light tomato broth brimming with fresh vegetables and delectable chunks of Italian sausage. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Sausage tortellini soup is an incredibly easy and forgiving recipe that you’ll eat for days, and re-create for years to come.
- Brown the sausage. If using links, remove the sausages from their casings and break into chunks. Cook the sausage in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat until no longer pink.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute with the sausage until the onions turn translucent.
- Add a heap of minced garlic to the pot and sautee with the sausage and vegetables until its very fragrant. Then add a few tablespoons of tomato paste and work it into the vegetables and meat.
- Finish the soup base with a can of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, water, dried Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. The color will transform from a light orange-red to a deeper hue.
- Finish the soup by adding fresh cheese tortellini and chopped kale. Stir into the broth and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. The soup is ready when the kale is soft and the tortellini is cooked through.
- We like to garnish tortellini soup with lots of fresh basil and a dollop of ricotta cheese, which adds a lovely tangy edge to each bite.
Can I make this soup ahead of time?
Yes, this soup keeps really well in the fridge for about 4 days. The tortellini will absorb quite a bit of water during storage, so you’ll want to add additional broth when reheating (about half a cup per serving).
Can I freeze tortellini soup?
Cooked tortellini doesn’t freeze well (hello mushy pasta!) and I find that frozen cooked kale becomes too soft, so you’ll want to freeze just the base. Prepare the soup base, including simmering. Cool, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw the soup in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stove over medium high heat, then add the tortellini and kale just after it comes to a simmer. Cook as directed and enjoy.
Make it your way
- Use spicy Italian sausage or add crushed red pepper flakes (start with one teaspoon) if you prefer a soup with more heat.
- Chicken and turkey sausage are both great substitutes.
- Almost any flavor of tortellini will work in this recipe – our favorites are cheese or mushroom.
- Substitute spinach for kale if you’re not a fan of the latter. Do not add the spinach with the tortellini, or it will become too mushy. Simply add a few handfuls of spinach to an empty soup bowl, then ladle the cooked soup over the spinach. The heat from the broth will cook the spinach to perfection.
Tips for making the best tortellini soup
- Use fresh, not frozen, tortellini for best flavor and texture. They’re typically found in a vacuum sealed package in the produce section or ready-made foods section of most grocery stores.
- Use fire roasted crushed tomatoes, again for best flavor.
- Cook the soup in a 6-quart dutch oven or soup pot (or larger). This recipe makes 8 generous servings, so you’ll need a large pot!
More hearty soup recipes
- White Bean Soup with Bacon and Kale
- Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans
- Swedish Meatball Soup
- Veggie-Packed Hamburger Soup
Did you make this sausage tortellini soup? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- 1 lb italian sausage, casings removed, broken into small pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced to ½”
- 2 medium carrots, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if available
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 2 c water
- 2 tsp italian seasoning
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 20-oz package cheese tortellini, fresh, not frozen
- 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- ricotta cheese, to taste
- fresh chopped basil, to taste
- Heat a dutch oven or 6-quart soup pot over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Remove the sausages from their casings, break into small pieces, and add the sausage to the pot. Cook the sausage, occasionally stirring with a wood spoon and breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery. Toss to coat in the fat and saute until the onions turn translucent, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute one minute more, stirring continuously.
- Add the tomato paste and work into the vegetables. Then add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, 2 cups water, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir until the ingredients are incorporated. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the tortellini and kale to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes more, until the kale is soft and the tortellini is cooked through. The soup will be very thick. If you prefer a thinner soup, add more water or broth, then taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
- Portion into bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of ricotta cheese and chopped basil to taste.
- Fresh tortellini can be found in a vacuum sealed package in the produce section or ready-made foods section of most grocery stores.
- Chicken or turkey sausage can be substituted.
- Add 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or use spicy Italian sausage if you prefer more heat.
- Storage Instructions:
- In the fridge: store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days. The tortellini will absorb the broth during storage; add an additional half-cup broth per serving when reheating. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, or on the stove over a medium flame.
- In the freezer: prepare the soup through step 3 (cooked tortellini doesn't freeze well); cool the soup base, transfer to an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw soup in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a pot over medium high heat, add the tortellini and kale once the broth comes to a simmer, then finish as directed.