Tortellini Soup


Cheesy tortellini, tangy sausage, and tender kale simmer in a rich and warming tomato soup.

Tortellini Soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 to 8

Take tomato soup one step closer to delicious by adding creamy, cheesy tortellini, meaty sausage, and tender kale. Tortellini and kale both cook in the soup so you don't have to dirty up another dish for this one-pot soup.

Tortellini soup is also forgiving for making it your own. Many of the ingredients can be swapped for what you have on hand or what you prefer, so really this soup couldn't be better.

Here, learn what goes in tortellini soup, how it's cooked, and what you can do if you want to make it ahead of time.

What Is Tortellini Soup Made Of?

Tortellini soup calls on classic soup ingredients, things most folks have in their pantry like canned tomatoes and chicken stock. But for the full flavor of this soup, you'll want to turn your attention to the tortellini, ground sausage, and kale.

Here, the ingredients for this tortellini soup recipe:

  • Fresh or frozen tortellini: Our recipe calls for fresh cheese tortellini. You'll find it in the refrigerated section, usually near other ready-to-eat foods like sides and salads. Fresh pasta cooks faster, but if you can't find it or have frozen on hand, you can certainly use frozen tortellini. They'll just need a few more minutes to thaw and cook through in the soup.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatics form the base of flavor in the tomato soup. Don't skip them, and don't cut short the cooking. They need time to develop flavor.
  • Herbs and tomato paste: Like the onion and garlic, these ingredients help form the base of flavor. Tomato paste adds deep umami richness.
  • Crushed tomatoes: As the primary ingredient in the tomato base, good-quality crushed tomatoes are key. We like San Marzano, if you can splurge for them.
  • White wine: Wine helps deglaze the Dutch oven of any cooked-on, browned bits, which are truly pieces of flavor gold. If you don't have wine, use a bit of chicken stock to get those bits off the pan before moving to the next steps.
  • Kale: Many tortellini soup recipes call for spinach—and you can certainly use it if you want—but we like kale because it keeps its texture and body a bit better, even after cooking.
  • Sweet Italian sausage: The perfect meat for this soup, sweet Italian sausage is rich and flavorful without overpowering the other ingredients. If you like spicy, opt for hot Italian instead. Ground beef or pork would also work if it's what you have.
  • Parmesan rinds: Are you surprised by this ingredient? Most people would toss Parm rinds right into the trash, but if you're a soup maker, keep them. The rind is every bit as flavorful as the cheese itself, but it dissolves into the soup instead of becoming stringy and cheesy. It adds salt, fat, and a bit of acidity to the soup.
tortellini soup ingredients

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

How To Cook Tortellini Soup

A good soup is made with layers of flavor. Instead of dumping everything into a Dutch oven, you can build flavor by cooking the elements a bit at a time—and that's what this tortellini soup does.

Cook the base. Start by sautéing the ground sausage to pull out its richness. Sauté the onion—and then the garlic—in the sausage to wake them up and get them tender. Finally, add the tomato paste to finish the tangy soup base. Before you move on to the simmer, you'll deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping off those flavorful browned bits.

soup base in dutch oven

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Simmer. When the flavorful soup base is built, it's time to add the liquid and let this soup simmer. That means pouring in the can of crushed tomatoes and chicken stock, If you're using Parmesan rinds, add those here, too. You'll want them to simmer for a bit so they can dissolve.

parmesan rind in tomato soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Finish with pasta and leafy greens. After the soup has had a good chance to meld and thicken a bit, you're going to stir in the tortellini, then the kale. They need just a few minutes to cook and tenderize. If you're using frozen tortellini, add them first and cook a bit before adding the kale. If you pick spinach instead of kale, add it just before serving. It takes less time to wilt.

tortellini soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

How To Store Tortellini Soup

In the fridge: Store leftover tortellini soup in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. Reheat servings you intended to eat right away on the stovetop over medium-low heat.

If you're planning to eat leftovers for several days, it would be better to keep the tortellini separate from the soup and combine them as you're reheating. That's because tortellini can become mushy when they sit in the soup for an extended period of time.

In the freezer: This is a great freezer soup, but you'll want to keep the tortellini separate from the soup. Instead, make the base, including adding the kale. Then, freeze it. When you're ready, thaw the soup in the fridge for 24 hours, then cook fresh tortellini, and stir it in as you're heating up the soup on the stovetop.

Common Questions About Tortellini Soup

These tips can help you make the best tortellini soup possible.

Can I use frozen tortellini?

Absolutely. They'll need a few extra minutes to cook and tenderize, so stir them in and cook 5 to 6 minutes before you add the kale.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, this is a great soup to make ahead in a meal prep session and serve up throughout the week. But for the best experience, cook the tortellini separately, and store it in the fridge separately, too. Then, add the pasta to the soup as you're heating it. Tortellini that sits in the soup too long could turn mushy, a not-at-all-appealing texture for this robust soup.

Can I make in the slow cooker?

Yes, feel free to make this soup in the slow cooker. Start by browning the sausage, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven, the way you would if you were cooking on the stove. Then, move everything over to the slow-cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the tortellini and kale. Cook on LOW 3-4 hours.

When it's about 30 minutes to dinner, add the kale and tortellini so they can warm up and tenderize.

tortellini soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

  • 1 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Vermentino)

  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 2 Parmesan rinds (optional)

  • 1 lb. refrigerated cheese tortellini

  • 2 cups shredded Tuscan kale, tightly packed

  • 1 cup water (optional)

  • For serving: grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, Italian bread


  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add the sausage; break it into small pieces as it cooks until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    browning ground pork

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Add the onion, salt, red pepper flakes, ground pepper, and oregano. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften and take on a golden hue.

    sausage with onion and spices

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the color of the garlic slightly darkens.

    garlic with ground sausage in dutch oven

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stying: Torie Cox

    Add tomato paste, and thoroughly stir until the paste fully coats the sausage and vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste becomes fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.

    tomato paste in ground pork

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Use the white wine to deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping the bottom to release any flavorful browned bits. Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes.

    sausage in tomato sauce

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Add crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and Parmesan rinds (if using), and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. (The longer it simmers, the thicker the texture will be.)

    soup simmering

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  2. Add tortellini and kale, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta cooks through and the kale wilts, about 5 to 7 minutes. Use the water to thin the texture, if needed.

    adding tortellini and kale to tomato soup

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling; Torie Cox

  3. Serve with grated Parmesan, torn fresh basil leaves, and slices of Italian bread.

    tortellini soup

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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