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Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach comes together quickly and satisfies so many cravings. It’s packed with nutrients but also feels just a touch indulgent. Here’s how to make it.

Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach in a pot with a ladle
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Why we love this recipe

When you’re in the mood for a savory, satisfying meal to warm you inside and out, Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach is just the ticket. This easy recipe:

  • Is hearty and veggie-packed — win win
  • Has a savory, gently tomato-infused broth
  • Feeds a small crowd or a family for a couple of weeknight dinners
  • Is quick to make and make-ahead friendly

I first published this recipe here back in 2017. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You can buy sweet Italian sausage in bulk (which is easier and usually less expensive) or buy sausage links and remove it from the casings if that’s what you can find. If you’d like a spicier soup, you can use hot Italian sausage. Scroll down for more variations, too.
  • Small (conchigliette) and medium (conchiglie) pasta shells work equally well. I’ve pictured medium ones in the photos of the finished soup and small ones in the video.
  • I’ve called for cannellini beans, but you can use any small to medium-sized canned or cooked white beans that you like.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a beautiful pot of Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

  1. First you’ll brown the sausage in a nice big, heated pot. Heating the pot first means you won’t need to add any additional fat. When browned and cooked through, remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. If there’s more than a tablespoon or two of fat in the pot, remove that too.
  2. Then you’ll cook the onion, carrot, and celery for a good 10 minutes to soften and develop a bit of browning.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. (The acid in the tomatoes helps release the browned bits.) Then pour in the broth, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. While the soup simmers, cook the pasta shells in a separate pot and toss with the olive oil.
  4. Back in the soup pot: Stir in the beans, reserved sausage, and spinach, and simmer for a few minutes more, until spinach is wilted and beans are warmed through. To serve, ladle some soup into each bowl and stir in some of the pasta shells. Sprinkle with grated cheese if you like.

Expert tips and FAQs

Why cook the pasta separately?

This is actually a great tip for anytime you make soup with pasta in it. Consider cooking the pasta separately and tossing it with a little olive oil. Then, when you’re ready to serve, stir some pasta into the soup in each individual serving bowl.

That way the pasta won’t slurp up all the broth before you have a chance to. This is an especially good idea when you might have leftovers.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You sure can. Like most soups, this one only gets better as it sits in the fridge for a couple of days. It will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, and you can freeze it for up to a year.

Store the pasta separately — and if you plan to freeze the soup, it’s best to make a fresh pot of pasta for the portion you’ll serve later.

Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach in a bowl

A few easy variations

Vegan Italian sausage soup

You might think that a soup based on sausage would be hard to veganize, but in fact this recipe lends itself beautifully to an easy vegan variation. Simply swap in a vegan Italian sausage for the pork version and use a good veggie broth or stock instead of the chicken broth. That’s it!

Gluten-free

It’s also super-easy to make a gluten-free version. Just make sure your sausage is gluten-free (it should be, but you never know), and use a GF pasta.

Lightened up

To lighten up the soup a bit, you could use an Italian sausage made of chicken or turkey rather than pork. Just check the label for nutritional info if it’s important to you. Chicken and turkey sausages are frequently lower in fat and calories, but they’re not always.

More favorite hearty soup recipes

Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach in a pot

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Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach in a pot
4.48 from 101 votes

Italian Sausage Soup with Beans and Spinach

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Italian sausage soup with white beans and spinach comes together quickly and satisfies so many cravings. It's packed with nutrients but also feels just a touch indulgent. Here's how to make it.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ pounds (680 grams) sweet Italian sausage meat
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 large carrots, diced small
  • 2 large ribs celery, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 cups 1(900 ml) lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 26.5- ounce 750-gram box (or similar size can) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pound (454 grams) small or medium pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 2 15.5- ounce 440-gram cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) baby spinach
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino, for serving

Instructions 

  • Remove sausage from casings (if any) and crumble it into a very large pot. (I use a 9-quart Dutch oven.)
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and cooked through.
  • Remove sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and spoon out and discard all but about one tablespoon of fat from the pot.
  • Lower heat to medium. Add onion, carrots and celery, along with the salt, and stir to coat with fat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are fairly tender and veggies are lightly browned in spots.
  • Add garlic and cook, stirring, one minute more.
  • Stir in tomatoes and their juices, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour in stock.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer for ten minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta shells to al dente in a separate pot of well-salted water. Drain and toss with the olive oil.
  • Back in the big soup pot, add beans, reserved sausage, and spinach.
  • Simmer until spinach is wilted.
  • Off the heat, stir in parsley and black pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls, stirring some pasta shells into each. Serve with cheese to pass at the table.

Notes

  1. You can buy sweet Italian sausage in bulk (which is easier and usually less expensive) or buy sausage links and remove it from the casings if that’s what you can find. If you’d like a spicier soup, you can use hot Italian sausage.
  2. Small (conchigliette) and medium (conchiglie) pasta shells work equally well. I’ve pictured medium ones in the photos of the finished soup and small ones in the video.
  3. I’ve called for cannellini beans, but you can use any small to medium-sized canned or cooked white beans that you like.
  4. Like most soups, this one only gets better as it sits in the fridge for a couple of days. It will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, and you can freeze it for up to a year. Store the pasta separately — and if you plan to freeze the soup, it’s best to make a fresh pot of pasta for the portion you’ll serve later.

A few easy variations

Vegan Italian sausage soup

You might think that a soup based on sausage would be hard to veganize, but in fact this recipe lends itself beautifully to an easy vegan variation. Simply swap in a vegan Italian sausage for the pork version and use a good veggie broth or stock instead of the chicken broth. That’s it!

Gluten-free

It’s also super-easy to make a gluten-free version. Just make sure your sausage is gluten-free (it should be, but you never know), and use a GF pasta.

Lightened up

To lighten up the soup a bit, you could use an Italian sausage made of chicken or turkey rather than pork. Just check the label for nutritional info if it’s important to you. Chicken and turkey sausages are frequently lower in fat and calories, but they’re not always.

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal, Carbohydrates: 61.5g, Protein: 13.6g, Fat: 11.5g, Fiber: 8.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soups
Cuisine: Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.48 from 101 votes (101 ratings without comment)

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22 Comments

  1. This was quite tasty. Five stars. I halved the recipe for my family of three and it was still a ton of food. I’d guess the original recipe could serve 12.

  2. The calorie count per serving would be more useful if you gave us the amount of servings per recipe.

    1. Hi Toni, it’s six servings, as it says right at the top of the recipe card.

    1. Hi Judy, thanks for the question. You’ll need about 4 cups cooked beans, which comes from about 1 1/3 cups dried.

  3. Made the soup for third time and just as big a hit as the first! I’ll be looking at more of your recipes. Love it!

  4. Hello,

    This soup looks delicious and I’m getting ready to prep ingredients. Does it actually require 2 stalks of celery, or two ribs? Based on your “what you’ll need” picture, it could go either way.

    Thanks!!

    1. Hi, Leonor, thanks for the question, and I hope you love the soup. It’s two ribs. I’m used to using “stalks” in the more colloquial modern sense, but thanks for pointing out the ambiguousness. I’ll be more careful about it in the future.