Italian Sausage and Bean Soup is hearty, nourishing, comforting, and quick to make ~ clocking in at just under an hour. It rivals Grandma’s chicken soup when it comes to curing what ails you.
Italian sausage and bean soup is healing and nourishing
I’m glad you can’t see me now because I’m down for the count. My husband stepped off a plane last week with a scratch in his throat…fast forward to today when we’ve got a full sick house and not enough Puffs to go around.
Luckily it’s soup season. My favorite Le Creuset pot sits out on the stove for the duration while I cycle through as many soup recipes as I can muster. It’ll either be healthy or comforting, depending on whether one or all of us is sick, what the weather’s like, or what strikes my fancy that day. Today’s chunky Italian recipe is a little bit of both.
This tomato based soup is full-on Italian, no holds barred.
A quick trip to the grocery store for some sweet sausage and fresh spinach seals the deal, I’ve got everything else in the pantry including several cans of fire-roasted tomatoes, I use them often because I love that little extra depth of flavor. Lots of garlic, tomato paste, chicken stock, and Italian seasoning give this soup a classic, homey vibe. I’ve added little ‘farfalline’ (itty bitty farfalle) pasta, but any small shape will work, including orzo, or rice shaped pasta.
Tip: the soup can be ready in under an hour, but if you’d like to make it ahead, it will age beautifully overnight. I would hold off on adding the greens until ready to serve, in that case, because they’ll lose their vibrant color.
A soup diet is my secret weapon when I need to loose a few pounds
One of the biggest benefits for me to making lots of soup in January is that it helps me to lose any extra pounds I’ve gained over the holidays. Soup works well to control my appetite because the liquid fills me up and satisfies me quicker and for a longer time than regular meals. A soup like this Italian sausage and bean covers all of the food groups, too (remember tomatoes are a fruit!) After a month or two of making soup on a regular basis for dinner, I’m usually back on track and ready for spring.
Tip: adding pasta to soups is tricky because after only a short time it will absorb much of the broth and ruin the texture of the soup. The trick is to cook the pasta separately, and add it to each individual bowl as you serve, not to the pot of soup itself. It’s a small extra step but well worth it.
more cozy soups for the win!
Maybe you’re chilled, or maybe you’re under the weather, but sometimes you just need a good healing bowl of soup. I’ve got other favorites in the recipe index, take a peek…
A large enameled cast iron Dutch oven is a kitchen essential, and I think if you could have only one pot, it would be this one. It’s heavy (cooks evenly,) enameled (food doesn’t stick,) large (it can handle your biggest roast,) and gorgeous (I leave mine out on the stove!) I’m partial to my creamy white Le Creuset pot, which comes in a rainbow of colors. Lodge is a cheaper option that also comes in an array of colors.
Italian Sausage and Bean Soup
- Dutch oven or soup pot
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat
- olive oil, optional
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 32 ounce carton of chicken broth or stock
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 15 ounce can white beans
- 3 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves, more to taste
- 1 cup cooked mini pasta, any shape
- grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Brown the sausage in a large soup pot. You can add a touch of olive oil first if you like, I don’t find it’s necessary. Break apart the sausage into small bits as it cooks, and let it cook until nice and browned. Remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate, but leave the fat behind in the pan.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often, just until they start to soften. Return the sausage to to the pot with the tomatoes, paste, and broth. Season with the Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and a good grinding of black pepper. Hold off on the salting to taste until the end.
- At this point I bring the soup up to a boil, then I turn the heat off and cover. I let it sit for about 30 minutes. I love this technique because the flavor get a chance to develop but the veggies don’t get boiled to death.
- When you’re ready to eat, add the beans, and greens, and bring back up to a simmer. Taste to add salt, or any extra pepper. The trick with the pasta is to add it individually to each serving, you can put a little at the bottom of each bowl as you ladle out the soup. This is important because if you mix pasta into soup it will eventually soak up all the broth.
- Serve this soup with a generous amount of grated Parmesan.
- Feel free to leave out the pasta for a lower calorie/carb soup.
- Use turkey sausage for lower fat.
- Kale can be substituted for the spinach.
- This soup can be made with a light chicken broth or stock base, just omit the tomatoes and tomato paste. Add about 2 cups more broth or stock.
- To control sodium in this soup look for low sodium broth and beans and omit the Parmesan, opt for shredded Swiss or mozzarella instead.