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Simple and satisfying, this spinach tortellini soup is ready in 30 minutes to warm you up without weighing you down. Easy vegetarian recipe.

spinach tortellini soup in a pot with a ladle
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Why we love this recipe

One weekend many years ago, our big kid wasn’t feeling so well and asked me to make some soup. There’s no way to really feel good when your kids don’t, but simmering a big pot of comforting, nourishing soup by special request may be about the closest you can get.

I amortized my law degree with some light negotiation and upgraded us from the requested bare-bones orzo in broth to this cozy, fortifying spinach tortellini soup. It’s been on rotation in our kitchen — and many of yours — ever since.

This pot of goodness:

  • Packs tons of flavor and nutrients
  • Into a bowl that also comes across as very simple
  • Cooks in about 30 minutes
  • Is vegetarian, make-ahead friendly, and family-friendly

What you’ll need

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

ingredients in bowls
  • You’ll start by dicing the onionscarrot, and celery nice and small (and relatively evenly), then cooking it in the olive oil until everything is tender and a bit browned. Don’t shy away from the browning, which adds tons of flavor.
  • I prefer baby spinach to its more mature counterpart for its milder, sweeter flavor and less-prominent tannins.
  • Use cheese tortellini from the refrigerator section of the grocery store, which is made with fresh pasta. Cooking times vary pretty dramatically, so if yours cooks for more than three or four minutes, you can add it first and then add the spinach with just about three minutes to go.
  • A good veggie broth makes all the difference here. If you have homemade stock on hand, by all means use that. I typically don’t, and that’s also 100% fine. Reduced-sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do. If you’re not keen on keeping the recipe vegetarian, you can use chicken broth.
  • Choose a good-quality, freshly grated parmesan cheese. It adds a ton of savoriness. If it’s important to you that this dish be vegetarian, be sure to choose a brand made without animal rennet.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great batch of spinach tortellini soup. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll cook the onion, carrot, and celery until browned and tender.
  2. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and simmer.
  3. Cook the tortellini and spinach.
  4. Stir in the parsley and pepper. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Should I cook the tortellini separately?

If you think you’ll finish the soup in one sitting and have time to make it shortly beforehand, I find it’s quickest and easiest to cook the tortellini right in the broth.

On the other hand, if you think you’ll have leftovers and/or would like to cook the soup in advance, it’s a good idea to cook the tortellini in a separate pot of well-salted water, drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil. Then add some to individual bowls before ladling in the rest of the soup. That way the pasta won’t slurp up all the broth before you have a chance to.

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

Yes. As with most soups, the flavors will only develop over time, If making in advance, cook the tortellini separately and add to individual serving bowls. If you’d like the spinach to retain its bright green color, hold off on adding it until you’re ready to reheat the soup.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

More favorite vegetarian soup recipes

4.49 from 289 votes

Spinach Tortellini Soup

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This vegetarian spinach tortellini soup has become wildly popular with Umami Girl fans everywhere. It’s quick, easy, comforting, and delicious.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 large carrots, diced small
  • 2 large celery ribs, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 cups 1(893 ml) good low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 ounces (142 grams) baby spinach
  • 9 ounces (255 grams) cheese tortellini
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino, for serving

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, carrots, celery and salt, and stir to coat with oil.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until somewhat softened and beginning to brown. Don't rush this step, as browning adds a nice depth of flavor.
  • Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid and add spinach and tortellini. (See notes 3 and 5 below for more details.)
  • Cook according to tortellini package instructions (usually just simmering for a few minutes).
  • Off the heat, stir in parsley and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve with cheese to pass at the table.

Notes

  1. A good veggie broth makes all the difference here. If you have homemade stock on hand, by all means use that. I typically don't, and that's also 100% fine. Reduced-sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do. If you're not keen on keeping the recipe vegetarian, you can use chicken broth.
  2. Use cheese tortellini from the refrigerator section of the grocery store, which is made with fresh pasta. Cooking times vary pretty dramatically, so if yours cooks for more than three or four minutes, you can add it first and then add the spinach with just about three minutes to go.
  3. If you think you'll finish the soup in one sitting and have time to make it shortly beforehand, I find it's quickest and easiest to cook the tortellini right in the broth. On the other hand, if you think you'll have leftovers and/or would like to cook the soup in advance, it's a good idea to cook the tortellini in a separate pot of well-salted water, drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil. Then add some to individual bowls before ladling in the rest of the soup. That way the pasta won't slurp up all the broth before you have a chance to.
  4. Choose a good-quality, freshly grated parmesan cheese. It adds a ton of savoriness. If it's important to you that this dish be vegetarian, be sure to choose a brand made without animal rennet.
  5. As with most soups, the flavors will only develop over time, If making in advance, cook the tortellini separately and add to individual serving bowls. If you'd like the spinach to retain its bright green color, hold off on adding it until you're ready to reheat the soup. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 11.5g, Fat: 14.7g, Fiber: 4.7g

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

Additional Info

Course: Soups
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!
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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

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.

4.49 from 289 votes (289 ratings without comment)

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11 Comments

  1. I made the tortellini soup and it was delicious!! I’m not a cook, but I want to learn how to, and I love soup..so I was surprised how easy this was! And so darn good!!

  2. I got a 20 oz package of tortellini. If I wanted to add more pasta, would I just adjust the liquid to match?

    1. Hi Madelyn, if you think you’ll finish the soup on the day you make it, you could just add another cup or two of broth to accommodate the extra tortellini. If you think you’ll have leftovers, I’d recommend cooking the tortellini in a separate pot of water, then draining and tossing it with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. You can add the tortellini to individual serving bowls and store any leftovers separately. That way the additional pasta won’t absorb all the broth as it sits.

  3. Wonderful, delicious, easy comfort soup. Next time I might add garlic to kick the flavor up a little. This is a keeper.

  4. Made this delicious, soul-satisfying soup tonight after many iterations. This time I upped the veg quantities, added cannellini beans and used Kite Hill’s almond-stuff tortellini. Soup-er good. (I’m not sorry about that.) Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  5. Made this for the second time. I had fresh spinach from the garden and frozen carrots from the garden last season. I cooked the pasta separately, simply because I knew I would have left overs and I did not want the pasta to be mushy when I reheated it.