Minestrone Soup with Spicy Sausage

Minestrone Soup with Spicy Sausage

Adam and I set out to make a really healthy and tasty soup.  I think we succeeded with this one.  First of all, it looks wonderful with all the colors from the vegetables and with the addition of a little spicy sausage the soup tastes great too.  My favorite part of this soup is the fennel, the cooked fennel gives the soup a slightly sweet and mild licorice flavor that really complements how light the rest of the soup is.  I found the key to getting a vegetable soup like this right is to carefully time the order in which you add the vegetables.  I sautéed the fennel, onion, celery and carrot in the beginning since they are great when cooked for a while, the onions and celery sort of “melt” into the background of the soup and the heartier fennel and carrots still maintain some texture.  I only add the yellow squash at the same time as the pasta since I really hate mushy squash (or pasta).  Then, the spinach is added at the very last minute to maintain its bright green color.

I really wanted to keep the soup as light as possible, so I have only used a very small amount of sausage just to give a little depth.  I also went light on herbs only using one bay leaf for more background flavor and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  You will find that the thyme leaves fall off the stalks and at the end of the cooking process so you can just take out the leftover stalks, leaving the thyme flavor in the soup.  This recipe makes a lot of soup, enough for 4-6 people.  Adam and I could not finish it the first night, so we just refrigerated it overnight.  I still kept the spinach separate from the soup until the last minute and it was just as great as the day before, if not better.

Minestrone Soup with Spicy Sausage
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This soup took us about 40 minutes to make and makes enough soup for about 4 people.
Created By:
Yield: 4
You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spicy Italian sausage link
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Cannelloni Beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 yellow squash
  • ¾ cup pasta
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat a large soup pot to medium heat then add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Remove the sausage from it's casing and then make small meatballs from the sausage, about ½ inch in diameter.  Drop the sausage into the soup pot and brown on all sides. While the sausage is browning, dice the fennel, onion, celery and carrots into ¾ inch cubes. Then, once the sausage is browned, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, diced fennel, onion, celery and carrots. Lightly season with salt and pepper in order to build flavor and bring out some of the sweetness of the vegetables (about 3/4 teaspoon of salt). Continue to saute for about 6 minutes.  Next, after the 6 minutes, add the minced garlic and continue to sauté the vegetables until soft, another 10 minutes.  (By adding the garlic later, we will prevent it from burning).
  2. After 10 minutes, Pour the diced tomatoes into the pan and use and stir. Add the beans, bay leaf, sprigs of thyme and the chicken stock and then bring to a boil.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer the soup for 15 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, dice the squash into ¾ inch cubes. Then, add the squash and the pasta to the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs then salt and pepper to taste. To serve, place about 10 spinach leaves in the bottom of an individual soup bowl, pour the desired amount of soup into the bowl and stir, the spinach will wilt into the soup within 20-30 seconds.

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