This soup is a hearty, simple, and comforting bowl of savory Italian sausage, tender spinach, al dente orzo, and creamy tomato base with a bit of heat and Italian seasoning. Made in one pot, this recipe is quick to make and is the perfect bowl of warmth on a cold day.
March 13th — the worst weather of winter 2022/23 thus far. Yesterday, my Explorer skated to work over a sheet of ice and I’m not complaining – it has been a mild winter and for once, I wasn’t running late. Additionally, I’m leaving for sunshine (or warmth anyway) very shortly! Cancun, here we come! I’ve hit the “can’t sleep” pre-vacation jitters of What Did I Forget to Pack? Is this what happens when one packs EARLY for vacation (I’m a day of kind of girl)? Or is this simply a result of having to pack 2 littles to go along with myself? Or perhaps the fact that every type of illness is running rampant and I’m taking a whole drug store with me? Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, right?
All I know is that driving home yesterday, I was so pumped for dinner: soup. This soup. It was perfect and the BEST part? My kids gobbled it up! They have their thumbs up/sideways thumbs/thumbs down scale and this soup received a resounding thumbs up from both girls. I promptly sent the recipe to those in my life who I thought would enjoy it. Ahem, that includes you 😉
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Souper Fans! I’m a soup lover and soup season is coming to an end (or so they say – pssssh!). A bowl of hot, comforting goodness to enjoy the next day and beyond? A recipe made in a single, large soup pot? Perfection.
- Family Friendly. Easily one of my new favorite soup recipes, this recipe is perfect for the whole family – there is so much flavor! This souper (ha!) easy recipe will be in regular rotation — such a great recipe! And kid-approved x2? JACKPOT. Even the spinach, y’all!
- Weekday Warriors. This recipe entails all of 8-10 minutes of hands on time making it the perfect recipe for busy weeknights. Made in a single Dutch oven, there’s nothing hindering this Italian sausage orzo soup from being on the table in roughly 30 minutes!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Italian Sausage: I used a sweet Italian turkey sausage, however traditional Italian sausage, hot Italian sausage, or spicy Italian sausage are great substitutes. If you are using links, 5 links is generally about 19 ounces.
- Meat-Free: The sausage is truly the star of the show here (IMHO), but you can certainly use a vegetarian crumbles or beans in its place!
- Veggies: While onion and fresh spinach are two vegetables in this recipe, I would add finely chopped celery and carrot the next time I make it to ensure plenty of veggies. Even a single medium carrot would be a fun add – texture and color! Additional extra veggies to also consider would be bell peppers and mushrooms! Add the veggies along with the onion and increase the wholesomeness of the recipe.
- Crushed Tomatoes: In place of crushed tomatoes, you can use a bit if tomato paste (4 ounces) with diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, totaling about 28 ounces. A good quality canned tomato product can also enhance the flavors of this delicious soup!
- Spice: Other than using a spicy sausage, you can also use additional red pepper flakes for an added punch of spice! I love that little bit of a kick, but it can definitely be dialed back for those who want something more mild or kid-friendly.
- Orzo Pasta: This rice-shaped pasta is quick-cooking and easy to eat in a soup. That said, feel free to substitute a small pasta or short-cut pasta of your choice.
- Herbs: To keep things simple, dried Italian seasoning is used in this recipe, however fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme would be beautiful additions. I would recommend about 1/4 cup chopped basil and/or parsley and/or 1-2 tablespoons of fresh oregano and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme.
- Chicken Stock: The base of the soup is similar to that of a tomato soup, but chicken broth, vegetable broth, vegetable stock, or another stock or broth of preference can be used. Add more or less broth or stock for a thinner or thicker soup, as you prefer! I use a low-sodium variety to improve the nutrition of the recipe – more salt can be added, if needed (unlikely!).
- I found that this recipe required no additional salt – it’s plenty salty as-is.
- Chicken or turkey sausages are commonly available and can be used to reduce the saturated fat and calories in recipes while still offering big flavor!
- See above on ways to increase the nutrition of this recipe through extra veggies. There’s lots of ways to get more in while still keeping things kid-friendly and simple!
- Low in calories and very moderate in carbohydrate, this recipe is suitable for a carb-controlled and calorie-conscious lifestyle!
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, AND TIPS
- The soup will thicken as it sits and the orzo continues to absorb chicken broth. Add chicken broth to leftovers to thin before heating and serving for a thinner consistency.
- Don’t skip the crusty bread and parmesan cheese to serve with this soup. There’s no denying that both enhance this family favorite Italian sausage soup recipe!
- If you have a leftover parmesan rind, toss it in while the soup is simmering over medium-high heat and remove before serving.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 19.5 oz (approx 5 links) sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 1 cup (6 oz) dry orzo
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Add garlic; stir and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the sausage and break into a crumble as it browns. Cook the sausage until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes; stir and increase heat to high.
- Once simmering, add the orzo, stir and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 8 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
- Slowly stir in the milk and add the spinach. Cook 1 additional minute and serve with Parmesan cheese, if preferred.
Recipe adapted from The Flavours of Kitchen
Nutrition Information:Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1/7 recipe (about 1 2/3 cups)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 10.9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 894mgCarbohydrates: 31.4gFiber: 5.0gSugar: 7.1gProtein: 22.4g
The weather calls for COMFORT food! Enjoy!
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