Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup

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This Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup recipe is easy to make, full of zesty seasonings, and so cozy and delicious.

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup Recipe

Here in Spain, there’s a saying that “en abril, aguas mil” (in April, a thousand showers) — which has certainly proved true this year.  It has been raining almost every single day this past month!  And after weeks of nonstop drizzle, I’ve gotta say that we are definitely ready for sunny days to return so that we can open our windows and enjoy the warm spring weather again.  But in the meantime, we’ve been trying to make the best of things by soaking up the last of the season’s cozy indoor hygge vibes, snuggling under fuzzy blankets, drinking lots of hot tea, baking lots of bread and cookies.  And, as I always love to do when it rains, making lots and lots of soup. ♡

This Italian sausage and orzo soup was one of my favorite recipes that came about this month as I was trying to clean out a few leftovers in the fridge.  It had all intentions of making minestrone, but then we were out of beans and I wanted to use up some Italian sausage in the fridge, and it turned into this Italian sausage and orzo soup sort of situation.  But my word, was it delicious.  I actually ended up loving this soup so much that I made a second batch last week so that we could take some to our neighbors and snap a few photographs it to share with all of you today.

The recipe is about as simple as it looks — zesty crumbled Italian sausage, hearty orzo pasta (or whatever shape of pasta you have on hand), your choice of veggies and greens, all simmered in a cozy tomato-herb broth.  And together, it is all just so cozy and comforting and satisfying.  I like to make mine more on the spicy side with an extra sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes and spicy Italian sausage, but I’ve included options below so that you can make yours as fiery and spicy or as gentle and mild as you prefer.  Feel free to also make yours gluten-free (just use GF pasta) or vegan (use vegan sausage) if you prefer.  And if you happen to have extra veggies, greens or beans hanging out in your kitchen, feel free to toss them in too.  This base recipe is incredibly flexible and welcomes swaps and add-ins, so it’s a great way to use up those leftovers.

Bottom line, it’s one of those simple yet satisfying cozy soup recipes that always hits the spot.  So round up some sausage and whatever pasta is hanging out in your pantry, and let’s make some soup!

Italian Sausage, Orzo and Spinach Soup Recipe

Italian Sausage, Orzo and Spinach Soup Ingredients:

To make this Italian soup recipe, you will need the following ingredients (amounts listed in the full recipe below):

  • Italian sausage: Mild, spicy, or whatever kind of ground Italian sausage that you love best.
  • Veggies: The classic mirepoix combo of carrots, onion and celery.
  • Garlic: I love adding lots of garlic to this soup, but you are welcome to halve the amount if you prefer less.
  • Diced tomatoes: I recommend using a can of fire-roasted tomatoes if you have one, but any type of diced tomatoes will work.
  • Chicken stock: Or you could also use chicken stock or vegetable stock.
  • Dried seasonings: A mix of Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Orzo: Or any type of small pasta shape that you love best.
  • Fresh baby spinach: Or fresh kale, or you could use frozen greens (thawed and drained) instead.
  • Toppings: I highly recommend a generous sprinkle of Parmesan, plus some chopped fresh basil or parsley if you happen to have some on hand.

Italian Soup with Sausage, Orzo and Spinach

How To Make This Soup:

To make this Italian soup recipe, simply…

  1. Brown the sausage: First, we will brown the sausage in a large stockpot and then transfer it to a clean plate, reserving about a tablespoon or so of leftover grease in the pot to sauté the veggies.
  2. Sauté the veggies. Cook the onion, carrot and celery until softened, then we will briefly sauté the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.
  3. Simmer the broth. Add the diced tomatoes, stock and Italian seasoning, and cook until the soup reaches a simmer.
  4. Cook the pasta. Then we will add in the orzo and cook until al dente.
  5. Add the spinach and season.  Finally, we’ll stir the spinach into the soup until it is wilted, then taste and season the soup as needed.
  6. Serve. Then it’s ready to go!  I recommend serving this one with lots of freshly-grated Parmesan on top, plus maybe a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs (such as basil or parsley) if you happen to have them on hand.

Italian Sausage Soup with Orzo and Spinach

Possible Variations:

This Italian Sausage, Orzo and Spinach Soup recipe is incredibly flexible with regards to variations.  So feel free to experiment with whatever ingredient swaps or additions sound good.  For example, feel free to…

  • Make it spicy: I highly recommend using good-quality spicy Italian sausage, if you would like your soup to have some heat.  Or you can also double the amount of crushed red pepper flakes used here.  (Or if you prefer a milder soup, you can halve or omit the amount of crushed red pepper flakes entirely.)
  • Add extra veggies: Feel free to toss in any other mild soup-friendly veggies that you have on hand, such as bell peppers, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or peas.
  • Add beans: Feel free to add in a can of your favorite beans (rinsed and drained) for some extra protein.
  • Use a different protein: Shredded or diced chicken, ground beef, chicken sausage, or vegan sausage.
  • Use a different pasta shape: Really any kind of pasta will work here, but I would recommend some sort of smaller bite-sized pasta shape if you do not have orzo.
  • Use different greens: Kale or collard greens would also be delicious in place of the baby spinach.
  • Use quinoa: If you would like to lighten up the soup a bit and make it gluten-free, you can also substitute quinoa (rinsed and drained) for the orzo.

Italian Sausage, Orzo, Spinach and Tomato Soup Recipe

More Favorite Soup Recipes:

Looking for more healthy soup recipes?  Here are a few of my faves:

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Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup Recipe

Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

This Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup recipe is easy to make, full of zesty seasonings, and so cozy and delicious.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken stock (or beef or veggie stock)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach or kale
  • optional toppings: freshly-grated Parmesan, chopped fresh basil and/or parsley

Instructions

  1. Brown the sausage: Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the ground sausage and sauté until browned and cooked through, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of grease in the pot.  (If there is more grease in the pot, discard it.  If there is no grease remaining, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the stockpot.)
  2. Sauté the veggies. Add the onion, carrots and celery and stir to combine.  Sauté for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent.  Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Simmer the broth. Add the diced tomatoes, stock, Italian seasoning and cooked sausage and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the broth reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.
  4. Cook the pasta. Stir in the orzo until combined.  Cover the pot with a lid and continue simmering the soup, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until the orzo is al dente.
  5. Add the spinach and season.  Stir the spinach into the soup.  Taste and season with salt and black pepper, as needed.  (Feel free to also add in extra Italian seasoning, if you would like.)
  6. Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings.

Notes

A note about the orzo: The longer that this soup continues to sit, the more broth the orzo will absorb.  If you would like to add extra broth later, I recommend adding in 1 cup of extra chicken stock along with an extra 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (plus salt and black pepper, to taste).

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22 comments on “Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup”

  1. When do you add back the sausage

  2. This looks delicious and I have all the ingredients! That’s a miracle in itself right now! Thanks for sharing…stay safe and healthy!

  3. This sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing! Will you be making a video, on how to make this? I know there are written directions and they’re wonderful, but I love videos too. Just curious if you’ll make a video, down the road. :-)

    Thanks,
    Beth

  4. I’ve made this soup twice now! We really have enjoyed the recipe.

  5. Could farro work in this instead of orzo? I have a ton in my pantry I’m hoping to use up!

    • I think so, but your cooking time would probably increase. You might need to increase the amount of broth too.

  6. Yet another recipe of yours that I’m saving to cook! Looks amazing!

  7. What is the nutritional information for this dish per serving? Thanks

  8. Made this for the first time today and it was super easy! I used chicken italian sausage and added zucchini and white beans. My husband said this was one of the best soups he’s ever eaten. Had lots of leftovers which I’ll store and I may make Ali’s No Knead Bread to eat with it. Saving this one to my pinterest board to make it again in the future!

  9. It’s a perfect dish to try during the lockdown and its much healthy too. Definitely ill make this and send you the feedback.

  10. Great recipe will make again. I used hot Italian sausage as they were out of the other. Very good

  11. Great, hardy soup! Don’t skip the salt or pepper. A nice crusty bread would be great with it.
    Thank you! Love your recipes :)

  12. Just made this last night. One of the best soups I’ve ever had!!!

  13. I made this with hot Italian sausage, whole wheat orzo and skipped the celery since that’s what I had on hand because #quarantine! This will definitely be added to my rotation regardless of lockdown restrictions. Really delicious and simple to make with ample room for substitutions.

    • Tried this tonight, soo good!! Perfect for a cold rainy May day in Newfoundland! Will definitely make it again :)

  14. A wildly delicious soup the entire family enjoyed. Another great recipe I found on this site.

  15. Wonderful! Tasted like what you would get in a restaurant. We didn’t have orzo, so used ditalini pasta. I also used just 3 cloves of garlic as 6 seemed a bit much. Will definitely make again!

  16. Loved this recipe. Even the kids enjoyed the soup. Thank you.

    • I used a combination of beef bullion cubes and Better Than Bullion beef flavor, in water for a hearty beef flavor. I also used larger pasta because I did not have orzo. It turned out really well. My grown son wants me to teach him to make it.

  17. Wow – once I realized I had all of the ingredients (okay, I used small shells instead of orzo), I had to make this soup. Where has it been all my life? I did not add salt or pepper (not even when sauteeing the vegetables) and am so glad I didn’t, as the soup was perfectly seasoned. Between the sausage, tomatoes and stock, it was unnecessary. This soup will definitely get me through another Chicago winter. I can see adding white beans, butternut squash and other goodies in future attempts.

  18. Delicious soup and very easy to make! My boyfriend and I loved it!