Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

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ITALIAN SAUSAGE ORZO SOUP! A delicious and simple to make Italian sausage soup with plenty of veggies (clear out your fridge!) and orzo pasta. via chelseasmessyapron.com

Delicious and simple-to-make Italian Sausage Orzo Soup has plenty of veggies (clear out your fridge!) and orzo pasta. This hearty soup is loaded with flavor and is simple to customize.

Pair this soup with some crusty bread and a light salad like this butternut squash salad or Olive Garden salad.

 

Overhead view of Italian Sausage Orzo Soup.

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

This soup is the best kind of comfort food — it’s soul warming and it’s packed with good-for-you ingredients! It’s chock-full of all kinds of veggies and is broth based (as opposed to cream based). My favorite thing about this soup is that it’s the perfect clear-out-your-fridge kind of meal. Since we always seem to have odd leftovers of carrots, celery, onions, and peppers, this is a great soup to put those extra veggies to use so they don’t go to waste.

Another thing I love about this soup is how simple it is to customize because the veggies can be changed easily, and the spices can all be done to taste. Even more, this soup can be made with a bit of a kick (with spicy sausage and some red pepper flakes) or kept on the mild side (with mild sausage).

Top each bowl with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and have some crusty bread ready for dipping!

Process shots: sauté carrot, celery, onion, garlic and diced pepper in olive oil; stir in seasonings and Italian sausage; brown and crumble the sausage as it cooks.

Let’s talk pasta

Why not cook the pasta in the soup? We usually cook the pasta separately for a few reasons:

  • The soup actually comes together quicker (instead of waiting for the soup to come to a boil and then boiling the noodles, the noodles can already be done!)
  • Leftovers are much better. If you plan to have leftovers of Italian Sausage Orzo Soup, it’s best with the pasta stored separately. This is because the pasta will continue to absorb the soup liquid.
  • You can easily control how much pasta is in your soup. Everyone likes different amounts of pasta in their soup — I can’t get enough and my husband would prefer less. Additionally, if you’re serving someone on a low carb diet, it’s easy for them to enjoy the soup sans carbs.

If all the soup is going to be eaten in one meal, then feel free to cook the pasta in it. Add the uncooked pasta once the beef broth has come to a boil and then cook until the pasta is al dente (~8-10 minutes). You’ll likely want to increase the broth as well by about 1 or 2 cups. Alternatively, you can still cook the orzo pasta separately and then stir it into the finished soup, along with the baby spinach.

QUICK TIP

Don’t forget to salt the pasta water. Make sure the orzo pasta is well-salted as it cooks since salting is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. Read about how to properly salt your pasta water here. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt to 4 cups of water.

Process shots: add tomato paste and potato to the soup; add diced tomatoes and beef broth and simmer; cook and drain orzo; add orzo and baby spinach.

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup tips

  • San Marzano tomatoes from Italy tend to be less acidic and a whole lot sweeter than standard tomatoes. They make a world of difference in the flavor of this soup and are (in my opinion) worth the extra money. Take it one step further and grab fire-roasted tomatoes to add a subtle smokey and more intense flavor.
  • Dice the veggies evenly. The more evenly diced the veggies are, the more evenly they cook, meaning you won’t end up with some tender bites and some overly crisp bites. It’s especially important to dice the potato into small even pieces so it cooks down in time.
  • Save some chopping time. If you don’t have leftover veggies waiting to be used in this soup, and you’d like to save some time, I recommend grabbing mirepoix (also called soup starter). Lots of stores sell pre-chopped mirepoix (a French term for diced onion, carrot, and celery) in the produce section of the store. It can also be found in the freezer section with other frozen vegetables.

Photos showing the herbs being stirred into the soup; a ladle scooping up soup to serve.

Storing Italian Sausage Orzo Soup 

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup is best eaten the same day it’s made if the orzo is stirred into it. When stored, the orzo continues to absorb liquid, so it bloats and becomes overly soft (it also continues to take on the broth making the soup turn into a thick stew).

If you aren’t planning on enjoying this soup the same day it’s made, I recommend either halving the recipe or cooking the orzo separately and stirring it into individual bowls. This way, the soup stores nicely for 4-5 days in the fridge.

I don’t recommend freezing this soup — the vegetables (especially the spinach) don’t hold up well upon being thawed.

Overhead view of the finished soup.

QUICK TIP

This soup is loaded with flavor but can certainly lack that “x” factor without proper seasoning. If the soup seems at all bland, it might be as simple to fix as adding in some additional salt and/or pepper. A squeeze of lemon or drizzle of red wine vinegar can also add loads of flavor and fresh herbs add brightness and freshness. A few red pepper flakes can also add heat and flavor. And don’t forget, the Parmesan cheese on top adds that final savory, salty note to the soup.

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Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

5 from 10 votes
A delicious and simple-to-make Italian Sausage Orzo Soup with plenty of veggies (clear out your fridge!) and orzo pasta. This hearty soup is loaded with flavor and is simple to customize.
Print Recipe

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

5 from 10 votes
A delicious and simple-to-make Italian Sausage Orzo Soup with plenty of veggies (clear out your fridge!) and orzo pasta. This hearty soup is loaded with flavor and is simple to customize.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Italian Sausage Orzo Soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 357kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced (1 cup; 140g)
  • 2 large carrots finely diced (1 cup; 125g)
  • 2 large stalks of celery finely diced (3/4 cup; 85g)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup (~2) (140g) small red potatoes diced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound mild (or hot) Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups (1279g) beef broth or beef stock
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup (129g) uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups (80g) lightly packed fresh baby spinach
  • Serve with: crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, fresh basil

Instructions

  • PREP: Finely dice the onion, carrots, and celery into very small and even sizes. Mince the garlic. Dice the red potato into 1/2-inch pieces. Dice the green pepper into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • VEGGIES AND SEASONINGS: In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onion, carrots, and celery, sautéing and stirring occasionally, 7-9 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Veggies shouldn't be browning; reduce the heat if they are. Add in the garlic and green pepper and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Add in the seasonings: the 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon dried basil, and 2 teaspoons dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper (I add 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Stir for 30 seconds and then push the veggies to the sides of the pot.
  • SAUSAGE: In the center of the pot, add in the Italian sausage. Cook the sausage, crumbling as you brown it. Once the sausage is browned and crumbled, add in the 2 tablespoons tomato paste and diced potato. Stir to coat.
  • TOMATOES: Next, add in both undrained cans of tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Add in the beef broth. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all veggies are crisp-tender.
  • ORZO: Meanwhile, in a separate pan, follow package directions to cook the orzo to al dente. Make sure to generously salt the pasta water (I add 1 teaspoon salt to every 4 cups). Drain and rinse in cool water and then set aside.
  • FINISH SOUP: Remove the soup from the heat and gently stir in the spinach until wilted. If all of this soup will be eaten the same day, stir in the cooked and drained orzo. Otherwise, add orzo to individual bowls (See Note 1). Taste and adjust seasonings to preference. I add in red pepper flakes here and fresh herbs -- usually lots of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and some basil.
  • ENJOY: Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy with lots of shredded Parmesan cheese and crusty bread!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This soup is best eaten the same day it’s made if the orzo is stirred into it. When stored in the soup, the orzo continues to absorb liquid, so it bloats and becomes overly soft (it also continues to take on the broth, making the soup turn into a thick stew). If you aren’t planning on enjoying this soup the same day it’s made, I recommend either halving the recipe or stirring the orzo into individual bowls. If the orzo is stored separately and stirred into individual bowls, this soup keeps very nicely for 4-5 days in the fridge. Freezing: I don't recommend freezing this soup -- the vegetables (especially the spinach) don't fare too well upon being thawed.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 1142mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 8678IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 4mg

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37 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, Chelsea,
    This recipe is lovely! Also wanted you to know that my mother potty trained both my boys in one week when they were about 1 year old. She had raised 6 kids so it was easy for her. I was in college at the time and she watched my kids for me. Never really knew her method but it worked for me. It is a blessing to have your mother help you with it.

    1. Awe thank you so much Claudia! That is amazing, so great to have such good moms in our lives 🙂 Yes, it was a huge blessing!

  2. I saw this on FB and it looked so good. I made if for dinner last night. I changed the pork sausage for chicken sausage (from Trader Joe’s). I also added all of the veggie’s (besides the onion) about 1/2 way through the browning of the meat (I did this by mistake though). It turned out great! The other added bonus is that this makes so much soup, I froze half of it for another meal!

    Thanks so much!

    1. So happy to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for the comment Stacey 🙂 And yes, plenty for leftovers (yay!)

  3. 5 stars
    We tried this tonight and really enjoyed it! The bonus was how amazing our home smelled after letting this baby simmer a while

  4. 5 stars
    Just made this for dinner tonight. Wow! So much flavour. This was a winner with the whole family. DH had second and third helpings. I also love how easy it was to prepare. Thank you for a great recipe.

    1. Yes, but I’d brown the sausage separately and add that in and then cook the pasta and add to individual bowls or stir in the crockpot right before serving 🙂 You’ll also want to add the spinach to the crockpot like 5-10 minutes before serving.

  5. I have heard about how amazing your mom is from my sister and I wish that I had sent my son over to get potty trained form her too before she left!! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic. I made one minor modification, I added the Orzo to the soup about 10 minutes before it was ready and let it cook in the soup. I always like to cook pasta /rice/barley in the soup so it really absorbs the flavors of the dish, usually I add a bit more broth to adjust for this.

    1. I haven’t. I don’t think the pasta would freeze and thaw well; I think it would really bloat (potentially disintegrate a bit).

  7. 5 stars
    Great comfort food. Very tasty soup. I used red pepper instead of green. Everyone loved it ! Thank you !

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