Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup is hot and hearty enough to warm you up on the coldest days of the year!
Hidey ho turkey eaters! How was your Thanksgiving? Have you been up since 4am braving the black Friday crowds? Are you spending time with friends and family today? Working? I’m doing a little bit of everything – shopping later tonight with my Mom, visiting the local festival of trees with some girlfriends and our kids this afternoon, and of course working away to bring you some delicious healthy eats next week!
I’ll have my Thanksgiving recap up for you on Monday too, including details on who won my family’s first ever gumbo cook off. Here’s a picture of Ben’s little brother blind (aka paper towels stuffed under his glasses then secured with a rubber band around his hand) judging the competition to tide you over. HAHAHA! I cannot. Even.
Anyway, if you’re anything like me you stuffed yourself to the gills with delicious food yesterday and are looking to bounce back with some healthy eats throughout the weekend. Start with the Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup recipe I’m sharing with you today!
Honestly I am obsessed with this soup, which I created for Progresso using their tasty, naturally gluten-free chicken broth. This is the first of four recipes I’ll be developing over the next few months using their delicious broth and I could not be more excited because you guys? It is unbelievably cold outside – we had a high of FOUR yesterday – which makes Lincoln’s new favorite travel activity of ripping off his shoes and socks 30 seconds after being strapped into his car seat so I have to put them back on with the wind blasting us before getting him back out of the car even more infuriating. I mean, come. on!
That said I am constantly looking for ways to warm up these days. Vanilla lattes in the middle of the day: check. Car seat warmer on full blast: check. Baby blue, penguin-clad cuddle duds all damn day: CHECK!
Plus lots and lots of soup! Especially this Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup which is packed with good for you fall and winter vegetables like leeks, carrots, celery, and baby red potatoes, plus the warming flavors of parmesan cheese and Italian sausage. Sometimes Ben will argue – well, argue might be too strong of a word, how about suggest – that soup doesn’t qualify as a meal, but each hot and hearty bowl of this soup is squashing that stereotype. It’s warming, just a touch spicy, and incredibly filling.
This vegetable soup goes from cutting board to soup bowl in under 30 minutes and, like most soups, tastes 50% even more delicious the day after it’s made. That’s good news because it means you can whip the recipe up after the kids have gone to bed, or while your sweetie is watching Castle (…) then simply reheat it the next night for a nearly instant supper. I loved each spoonful even more than the previous one. This will definitely become a winter soup staple in our house!
Start by prepping your veggies including 2 large or 3 small leeks. Leeks can appear to be really intimidating – which is why I avoided them for nearly 30 years – but truly they’re super simple to use and add so much flavor to soups, risottos, and even dips. They’re kind of a cross between celery, an onion, and garlic. They caramelize beautifully – I just love ‘em!
Trim the ends and dark green parts off then slice the leeks in half and check for any dirt between the layers. Rinse off anything you find then thinly slice.
Next chop the rest of the veggies including 1 large or two medium-sized carrots, 1 large celery stalk, and 1lb baby red potatoes (about 6 baby red potatoes.)
Time for some heat! First brown 3/4lb ground Italian sausage in a large Dutch Oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. I used mild and the soup still had a nice, warming kick. Scoop the sausage onto a plate then set aside for a bit.
Turn the heat down to medium then heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in the pot. Add the leeks, carrots, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until the vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning then continue to saute until the garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Next add 6 cups Progresso Chicken Broth.
As I mentioned I developed this recipe using Progresso Chicken Broth which is not only gluten-free but MSG and preservative-free too! I find that can be hard to come by in a chicken broth that doesn’t cost $4+ for a carton.
Add the chicken broth to the pot along with a 15oz can crushed tomatoes, the baby red potatoes, and cooked sausage. The tomato sauce is great in this soup as it adds a richness that makes it taste like it’s been simmering for days.
Turn the heat to high to bring the soup to a boil then add a 3-4″ parmesan cheese rind. This is my secret ingredient for making brothy soups taste rich and decadent. Whole Foods sells just the rinds for pennies which I buy then store in the freezer until I need one. Try this trick – I promise you’ll notice a difference!
Turn the heat back down to medium then place a lid on top and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 5-7 minutes. I love using red potatoes because of the pretty color, of course, but also because they don’t fall apart and turn to mush in this soup – even a few days later!
Ladle the soup into bowls then top with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese, if you please, and then dig in!
Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup
3/4lb ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 small or 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped in half then sliced
2 medium-sized carrots, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 celery stalk, sliced (1/2 cup)
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1lb baby red potatoes (about 6 baby red potatoes,) chopped
6 cups Progresso chicken broth
15oz can crushed tomatoes
parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- Brown Italian sausage in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Transfer to a plate then turn heat down to medium. Add extra virgin olive oil to the pot then add leeks, carrots, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and Italian seasoning then saute until garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add potatoes, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, parmesan cheese rind, and browned sausage to the pot then turn heat up to bring soup to a boil. Turn heat back down to medium then cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 5-7 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary then serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Hearty, warming, cozy – as I like to say, feel good food!