I'm a BIG soup fan and this Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach is one of my absolute favs!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words...and it's no truer than this pic of this Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach! What you see is what you get here...flavorful, nutritious, and downright awesome!
Ingredients for Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Italian sausage (any kind, including ground sausage will work)
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- Chicken broth
- Vegetable broth
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh rosemary
- Orzo (or some other small type of pasta)
- Pecorino Romano
How do you make it?
Step 1 - Brown the sausage. In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat a tbsp of olive oil and start browning the sausage. Once it's browned, remove, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Step 2 - Saute the vegetables. While the sausage sits, add a bit more olive oil into the same pot and start cooking the vegetables. Start with the carrots and the onions first (along with the garlic), and then add the celery after about 2-3 minutes of cooking. This will help soften the harder veggies first and ensure an even tenderness throughout. Season with salt and crushed red pepper too!
Step 3 - Crumble the sausage. If you used any other sausage besides ground sausage, you'll need to break up/crumble it now. If you have a meat tenderizer, or better yet, a Slap Chop or Food Chopper or anything similar that'll work just fine. Start to 'ground' up the sausage into little bits.
Step 4 - Add the broths and the rest of the seasonings. Next, add both the chicken and the vegetable broth, as well as the thyme and rosemary. No need to chop up any of the fresh herbs...just throw them in, stems and all. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
Step 5 - Add back the crumbled sausage. After the pot boils, drop the heat and add the crumbled sausage. Continue cooking at a low boil.
Step 6 - Add the Orzo. With the liquid at a low boil, add the Orzo and cook until soft. About 10 minutes.
Step 7 - Add the spinach. Cook until wilted.
Step 8 - Add the cheese. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with the cheese.
Some key ingredients for Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach
Vegetable broth - you can use chicken broth only for this and be fine, but do yourself a favor and add in some vegetable broth. The mix of the two broths brings out a lot of different flavors which makes it well worth it.
Orzo - the perfect little pasta for this soup. You can use other small pastas, but the texture of Orzo is a perfect compliment to the other ingredients. Don't use too much though as you can soak up too much of the broth. A little bit goes a long way!
Tips, Tricks, FAQ's
Can I use chicken sausage?
The dreaded chicken sausage question lol. Nah, just kidding. Sure, you can use chicken sausage and I wouldn't think twice about it. Chicken sausage is damn good and although I've never used it for this recipe, I bet it'd be just as tasty!
Can I use something other than spinach?
Yeah, for sure. Really any leafy green will do here. Kale, collard greens, Swiss chard...even a cabbage would work. Whatever it is, try and stick with something green. The contrast of colors you'll get will make this Italian sausage soup look as good as it tastes.
Do I need to remove the casing before I cook the sausage?
If you're using sausage links or a sausage rope, you can if you want but it's not necessary. Most all of the casings are edible so I personally don't want to waste any time removing them. It does make it a bit more tedious when crumbling but if you're using a Slap Chop, it really doesn't matter.
Can I freeze it? If so, how long can I keep it there?
Yep, sure can. In fact, as good as this soup is at the time you make it, it's better reheated. Put it in a freezer safe container and store it up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat it, heat a large pot or Dutch oven and add the soup. You can don't need to add any liquid (but can if you want) - just place the frozen block of soup right in and heat until warm. Cover for quicker heating time.
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Tools I used in this recipe
- Lodge 7.5 Quart Dutch Oven
- Misen Chef's Knife
- J.K. Adams Butterfly Board
- KP Kitchen Measuring Spoons
- Riviera Wooden Cooking Spoon
Ok, so if you made this Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach...would definitely appreciate if you leave a comment below and let me know what you thought. Don't worry I'm an Italian from New Jersey...I got thick skin!
Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach Recipe
- 1 lb Italian sausage links, rope or ground sausage will all work
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 ½ cup onions chopped
- 1 cup celery
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper can add more if you'd like; it's also optional
- 6 cup chicken broth
- 2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 twigs fresh thyme
- 1 twig fresh rosemary
- 5 oz orzo can use other small pasta too
- 6 oz spinach
- ¼ cup pecorino romano can use parmesan or parmigiano reggiano too
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. When heated, add the sausage. Cook until browned. When browned, remove from pot and transfer to a cutting board (if you're using links or a rope) or a bowl (if you're using ground sausage). Cover with a bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.
- In the same pot, heat the rest of the olive oil. When heated, add the carrots, onions, and garlic. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the carrots are softened and the onions are translucent. Then, add the celery and also the salt and crushed red pepper. Cook, mixing frequently, for another 2-3 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
- THIS STEP IS ONLY IF YOU USED SAUSAGE LINKS OR A ROPE. While the vegetables are cooking, uncover the sausage and begin to "crumble". This is best done with a Food Chopper (Slap Chop), but can also be done with the pointed end of a meat tenderizer. Ground up all the sausage.
- Add both broths and the fresh thyme and rosemary and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, drop the heat to low and continue with a slow boil.
- Add the sausage back into the dutch oven. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper or crushed red pepper as needed. After about 2 minutes, add the Orzo and cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
- Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
- Turn off the heat and remove the stems of thyme and rosemary, then add the grated cheese. Stir to combine.
- Serving size = 2 cups. This recipe will yield about 12-14 cups (so you'll get about 6-7 servings).
- I 100% double this recipe every time I make it to ensure I have some leftovers. When I do double it, I use a 7.5 QT Dutch oven and have plenty of room.
- You can use any kind of cheese in the final step but I like using the Pecorino Romano. It has a bit more of a saltier taste than Parmesan which really adds an amazing flavor at the end. You can also add the rind instead of the actual grated cheese, but if you do that, be sure to add the rind in when you add the broths and remove the rind before serving.