I have been looking for an easy soup that my kids would eat! Don’t get me wrong, they are not always picky, they love their chicken noodle soup, but also will chow down on some broccoli cheese soup too. But the ordinary Campbell’s tomato soup is the closest they have gotten to a tomato based soup….until now! They loved this soup. Mind you they ate around the spinach, but loved the flavor! This soup is delicious by itself, or pair it with a simple green salad and some garlic bread and you definitely will have a winner for a quick weeknight meal.
How to start
Start with chopping up onions, carrots and garlic. I use whole carrots when I need them for soups or stews. I think they have a fuller flavor than the precut carrots. I love to use fresh herbs when I can, but I don’t always have them, especially in the winter. Dried herbs work just as well for this soup.
What kind of sausage to use
I use sweet Italian sausage, without casing. You can usually find it packaged by the pound. I typically use only 1/2 pound for this recipe and freeze the remainder for another time. If you like it spicy, you can use hot sausage instead. You can also eliminate the sausage all together. Use a heavy bottom pot, like a cast iron pot, and heat to medium. Cook the sausage until no longer pink, and remove from the pot and drain on paper towels.
Make the soup base
Using Cento brand crushed tomatoes and either vegetable stock or chicken stock. Add salt, pepper and basil. I sometimes add a tablespoon of sugar to tomato recipes to cut the acid. Let this simmer on low for at least 30 minutes. The longer you let it simmer the more flavor it will have.
Add the tortellini & spinach
I use frozen cheese tortellini for this recipe, you can use fresh, it will cook faster. Then add your fresh spinach, this will take a few seconds to wilt so watch you don’t overcook it or it will get mushy. You can leave out the spinach if you don’t like it, or add kale instead.
Hearty Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach
- 1/2 pound crumbled sweet Italian sausage
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 large carrots sliced thin
- 1-2 cups of packed fresh spinach ( more or less depending on your preference)
- 9 oz package frozen tortellini
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 32 oz vegetable stock
- 28oz of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Using a cast iron pot, crumble the sausage and cook until no longer pink, and remove from the pot and drain on paper towels to drain.
- Add the olive oil, and the onions and cook until just getting soft.
- Add the garlic and carrot and cook until for another minute or two. Being careful not to let it burn.
- Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir well. Add the salt, pepper and basil. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and let it simmer on low for 30 minutes.
- Add the tortellini and spinach and let it simmer for another 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked.
- Serve with shredded parmesan cheese and a slice of Italian bread.
- Add kale instead of spinach
- Eliminate kale or spinach and use zucchini instead. (It will cook longer than spinach, so allow time for it to get soft)
- Eliminate all meat, to make it a meat free meal.
- Add crushed red pepper when cooking the onions and garlic to make it a little spicier.
- Add hot sausage instead of sweet to make it spicy.
- If you have fresh basil, add that at the end instead of dried.
- Depending on your likeness to garlic add a little less or a little more.