This Italian sausage minestrone soup bridges the gap between summer and fall. It uses a few summer ingredients like leftover grilled Italian sausages and some end of summer produce–zucchini and summer squash. But it’s also rolling into soup season, so it’s perfect for those first grey, slightly chilly days of not-quite-Autumn weather.
- Explore: Lasagna Soup
Italian sausage is always a super-hero in disguise because it’s an easy way to add so much flavor without any extra work; but using grilled sausage ups the anti with a bit of smoky char (especially if you used a charcoal grill.) And I love how the zucchini and summer squash cook down lending a great texture to the finished soup.
I added chickpeas to the mix, because they’re delicious, nutritionally dense, and I had them in my pantry. But feel free to use whatever canned beans you like. Kidney beans or cannelloni beans would also be great here.
I think pasta is delicious in soup recipes like this, but it’s optional. If you choose to add a pasta anything small will work: small shells, elbows, ditalini, or acini di pepe are all great choices.
Italian Sausage Minestrone Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil or fat of your choice, see note
- ½ medium onion diced small
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced small
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced small
- 2 tsp kosher salt or more to taste, divided
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium zucchini diced medium (1/2 inch chunks)
- 1 medium summer squash diced medium (1/2 inch chunks)
- 28 oz canned whole tomatoes
- 4 links Italian sausage cooked and cut into 1/2-inch half moons
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 1 quart beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained, see note
- 8 oz small pasta cooked al dente, see note
- parmesan cheese grated, to taste
- Heat a 6-8 quart soup pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and let the oil heat up for a minute or two. Then add the onion, carrots, and red bell pepper with 1 tsp of kosher salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened and the onion turns translucent. Add the garlic, zucchini, and summer squash. Cook for another minute or two.
- Dump the canned tomatoes in a small bowl and use a potato masher to break up the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces. Add the tomatoes, Italian sausage, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Stir. Add the stock and drained chickpeas with the second tsp of salt. Stir.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Cook, covered, for 45-minutes to an hour stirring occasionally. The long simmer will break down the vegetables and soften the chickpeas–and the starch in the beans will help thicken the soup just a bit.
- Taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Add ~1/2 cup pasta to a bowl with a couple of large ladles of soup. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Olive oil works perfectly well here but if you have something in the fridge with more flavor, like bacon fat or beef tallow, it will add an extra depth of flavor to the soup. I recently used some beef tallow rendered from homemade beef stock and it was a wildly delicious addition to this soup.
- Use any canned bean you have available in your pantry. I like the chickpeas but red kidney beans or cannelloni beans would also work well here.
- Pasta is optional but certainly welcome. This is a pretty hearty soup without the pasta.
- Use any small pasta you have on hand: small shells, ditalini, elbows, or acini di pepe work really well for this soup.
- If you’re storing leftover soup, keep the pasta and soup separate so that the pasta doesn’t absorb all of the broth.
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