Tuscan tortellini soup is a creamy Italian inspired soup loaded with crumbled sausage, shredded kale, and plump cheese tortellini in a lemony broth ~ ready in 30 minutes!
I don’t know about you, but these days I’m craving simple quick meals that make me feel cozy, warm and nourished. The kind of meal I can make even though I walk in the door at 5:30 (and we eat at 6:30 sharp or people start to get grouchy.) This quick cooking, comforting and creamy Italian tortellini soup is perfect for those busy nights. The surprise is a fresh pop of lemon that sets this recipe apart from the others. It’s hearty, but not too thick or heavy, and pleases everybody in the family with crumbled sausage, garlic, cheesy tortellini, and that lemony cream broth. With these yummy ingredients you could cook up this zuppa Toscana any which way and it would be delicious.
what’s in this post
ingredients for Tuscan Tortellini Soup
- cheese tortellini
- we’re using fresh tortellini, found in the refrigerated section of your supermarket. I chose a cheese variety, but you can use any other flavor filling you like. You can use full size tortellini like I did, or the minis.
- Italian sausage
- choose sweet and mild, or hot.
- chicken stock or broth*
- fresh lemon juice
- the pop of acidity and flavor that brings this soup to life!
- I shred it finely. You can substitute spinach.
- marinated sun dried tomatoes
- this is another acidic ingredient that brightens the soup. Use oil marinated tomatoes in the jar, not the dry ones.
- a bit of flour gives this soup body without making it overly thick or stodgy.
- Italian seasoning
- red pepper flakes
- mustard powder
- heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
*chicken broth vs chicken stock
Honestly, I use them interchangeably, but there is a difference:
Chicken broth is a lighter liquid made by simmering chicken meat, vegetables, and seasonings, often used as a base for soups. In contrast, chicken stock, enriched by simmering bones along with meat and aromatics, is a heartier, more flavorful foundation often used in sauces and gravies. Both will work in this Tuscan soup.
steps to prepare Tuscan tortellini soup
- Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven, breaking it apart into crumbles as it cooks.
- Sauté onion and garlic in a little butter or olive oil in the same pan, along with seasonings.
- Add flour and cook for a minute or two, stirring.
- Add chicken broth and lemon juice and stir while bringing up to a simmer.
- Add the tortellini to the pan and simmer until almost cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add cream, kale, and sun dried tomatoes to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Simmer a minute or two more to finish cooking the tortellini and to wilt the kale.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt if necessary, and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
- Serve topped with more cheese.
related: Lemony Tuscan Artichoke Soup
faqs and variations on tortellini soup
To use frozen tortellini just add them to the soup from the freezer, no need to thaw.
Make the soup vegetarian by omitting the sausage and using vegetable stock.
You can use dried tortellini, just cook until tender in the broth, according to the package directions. Add more broth or water if necessary.
Use bacon or pancetta in place of sausage.
If you want to reduce fat and calories you can replace the heavy cream with evaporated milk.
To make tortellini soup ahead you have 2 choices, both prevent the tortellini from getting mushy and absorbing too much liquid as the soup sits:
- You can make the soup through step 4 in the recipe below, and then finish up when ready to serve.
- Make the soup without the tortellini and cook them separately. Store the two separately in the fridge, and add the pasta to the soup when you reheat.
related: BEST Dutch Oven Soup Recipes!
- Easy Focaccia Bread Recipe
- Cherry Tomato Focaccia
- Sage Focaccia Bread
- Rosemary and Olive No Knead Focaccia Bread
- Rosemary Biscuits
- Perfect Cornbread Recipe
- Buttery Garlic Knots
- Quick Whole Grain Oat Rolls
- Tomato Sandwich Bruschetta
why we love this soup
Well, 30 minutes, yeah! No need for crock pot or Instant Pot versions of this recipe ~ how refreshing!
The chunky tortellini make it satisfying enough for a meal, but the overall personality of the soup is not thick and pasty the way so many creamy soups can be.
Lemon brings a fresh new flavor to this traditional Mediterranean soup. Some tortellini soups go heavier on the tomato base, but I prefer this lighter citrusy version.
Lemony Tuscan Tortellini Soup
- Dutch oven
- 8 ounces Italian sausage, either mild/sweet or hot, casings removed
- 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder (more to taste)
- 3 Tbs flour
- 32 ounces chicken broth or stock (4 cups)
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 9 ounces fresh cheese tortellini (about 3 cups.) Find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups finely shredded kale
- 3 Tbsp marinated sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Brown the sausage over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot. Break the meat apart into crumbles as it cooks. Remove to a plate.
- Add the butter to the pan, along with the onions, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and mustard powder. Saute, stirring pretty constantly, for a few minutes to soften the onion. Don't let the garlic brown.
- Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook and stir another minute.
- Add the sausage back into the pan. Stir in the chicken broth or stock and lemon juice and bring everything up to a simmer, stirring almost constantly.
- Add the tortellini and cook according to the package directions, generally just a few minutes. I like to add the cream, kale, and tomatoes a minute or two before they finish cooking. Bring back to a simmer and cook just until the pasta is tender and the kale has wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add salt or fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Add a bit more lemon juice if needed.
- Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.