Monday, January 19, 2015

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti)

I love this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo.  If you don't have orzo, use some broken pieces of whole wheat spaghetti!

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on

I'd probably never heard of Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta in 2010 when I first made this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup using broken pieces of whole wheat spaghetti, but orzo is such a perfect soup ingredient that when I decided to update the recipe with better photos, it seemed like a perfect switch.  So now I have to rename the recipe to Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo, don't I?  But no worries if you don't have orzo (or don't want to buy it), go ahead and break up some spaghetti into short pieces to add to the soup.  You could also make a delicious lower-carb soup using this recipe by leaving out the pasta completely.  

Sausage, kale, tomatoes, and whole wheat orzo or spaghetti; doesn't that sound like a combination that could inspire a lot of good recipes?  When I updated the photos for this soup, I increased the amount of kale so the soup is even more nutritious, but no matter how you make it, this soup is definitely a winner.  (Updated January 2015 with better photos and instructions.)

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on
Saute the onions in a heavy pot big enough to hold all the soup, then add garlic, ground fennel, dried basil, and dried oregano and saute a few minutes more.  While the onions are cooking, squeeze the turkey Italian sausage out of the casings and brown it in another pan, breaking up with the back of a turner.  Deglaze the sausage pan and add that liquid to the soup with the browned sausage, chicken stock, and  beef stock and start to simmer.

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on
Let the soup simmer about 20 minutes while you chop up the kale.  Then add the chopped kale and simmer about 20 minutes.  Add the can of tomatoes and simmer 20 minutes more.   Then add 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo (or broken spaghetti) and simmer about 20 minutes more, or until the pasta is tender.  Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan to add at the table.

Original photo Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on
And just for fun, here's the original photo from this soup back in 2010.  You can tell by looking that this soup had less kale, can't you?

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on
Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti)
(Makes about 8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

1 large onion, chopped small
1 T + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp. ground fennel
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
5 links sweet Turkey Italian Sausage (about 20 oz.)
8 cups chicken stock (or use 4 cans plus 1/2 cup water)
4 cups beef stock (or use 2 cans plus 1/4 cup water)
5 oz. baby kale or one large bunch of kale
1 can petite dice tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz.)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta (or broken whole wheat spaghetti pieces)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat 1 T olive oil in a heavy pan large enough to hold all the soup; add onion and saute until it starts to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic, ground fennel, dried oregano, and dried basil and saute 1-2 minutes more.

While onions are cooking, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan, then squeeze turkey Italian sausage out of the casing and cook until it's well browned. Use the back of the turner to break the sausage apart as it browns.  (I like to use an old-fashioned Potato Masher to break the sausage apart.)

Add the chicken stock and beef stock to the onion mixture and start to simmer. When sausage is well browned, add it to the stock mixture. Deglaze the sausage pan with 1/2 cup water, scraping off any browned bits in the bottom of the pan, and add that to the soup pot. Let the stock, sausage, and herb mixture simmer about 20 minutes to build flavor.

While the stock mixture simmers, coarsely chop the baby kale.  (For regular kale, cut away the center rib from each kale leaf and discard the rib. Cut the leaf part of the kale into small pieces and rinse well with cold water.) After 20 minutes, add kale to the soup pot and simmer 20-30 minutes. Then add petite diced tomatoes and juice and simmer 20-30 minutes more.

Measure 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo or break whole wheat spaghetti into small pieces and measure until you have 1/2 cup broken spaghetti. Increase heat slightly so the soup mixture comes to a gentle boil, then add orzo or spaghetti and cook about 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Serve soup hot, with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
Made with turkey Italian sausage and whole grain pasta, this soup would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  If you omit the orzo or spaghetti, this would be a delicious low-carb soup, suitable for Phase One of the South Beach Diet.

Nutritional Information? 
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Delicious Soups with Kale:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)

Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup ~ Simply Recipes

Sausage and Red Russian Kale Soup with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Herbs ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Chicken Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Kale Soup ~ Mountain Mama Cooks

Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice from Kalyn's Kitchen

Tuscan Kale and Chickpea Soup ~ Three Many Cooks

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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  1. Italian sausage is the workhorse of my kitchen. I use it in everything from pizza and pasta, to soups. Love it!

  2. Brilliant idea to add the broken spaghetti onto the soup! I will for sure be doing this too at some point. Looks delicious

  3. This is really a great and delicious idea. I will try this recipe for sure!

  4. oh boy... so much, i am in love with all these ingredients

  5. Free Credit ScoreMarch 25, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Italian sausage comes in very handy. Good for almost every type of food. I like it spicy :)

  6. It's like a pasta dish but in a deconstructed-ish form! I love the concept.

  7. Italian sausage manages to weasel its way into many of my dishes. This soup looks chock full of vitamins and flavors. Perfect comfort meal!

  8. This looks like a terrific recipe, thank you. I like to make homemade whole wheat noodles and think they would work really well in this soup.

  9. These flavors sound great - I'm a huge fan of whole wheat spaghetti, so I would jump at the chance to work it into another course!

  10. Would you believe I never once considered using sausage in a soup. It sounds great!

  11. My family really loves soups. Yesterday it rained all day - so I decide to try this soup. It was so good they fought over the drop. I used 1 1/2 lbs. good quality Italian sausage because that's what I had. I used semolina spaghetti, again because that's what I had. I will definitely make this again. Maybe I'll add cannelini beans for extra nutrition.

  12. Kate, glad to her it was a hit!

  13. I made this soup last night, it was wonderful! Only changes I made were that I only used chicken stock and for the pasta I used Dreamfields linguine. husband kept going back for seconds. I probably wouldn't have any for leftovers if I didn't hide some in the fridge.

  14. April, good idea to use Dreamfields linguini in this. Glad to hear you liked it!

  15. I often break up spaghetti especially for soups. I wrap it in a teatowel and run it over the edge of the bench a few times - it's very therapeutic! ;-)
    Keep these ideas coming Kalyn as this sounds absolutely fantastic to me and totally what I'm craving at this time of year down here. I can't wait to make it, although as I haven't any kale I'll probably substitute Swiss-chard from our garden. xx

  16. Bron, I think swiss chard would be great. I'm just about to plant some here!

  17. looks lovely - and I am interested to see red and white wine in the soup - seems quite unusual - now I am wondering if this was the recipe or if you were using up the dregs :-)

  18. There is no wine in this recipe?

  19. This soup is an instant favorite! I made it today to take to a book club as "mystery soup", since our genre is mysteries tonight. I wanted the guests to guess what the mystery ingredients were. (Also I was going to tell them that it was a mystery to me how it would turn out, since I had never tried this recipe before.)Well, mystery no longer: the soup is DELICIOUS! We all wanted to slick it up before I even had a chance to take it to book club. You are a culinary genius, Kalyn!

  20. Lolene, you are too kind! So glad it was a hit.

  21. One question: Your recipe said ground fennel--I had fennel seed, so I blended them to a powder. Isn't that what ground fennel is? (I've never used it before!) I looked fennel up, and I wondered how fresh fennel would work. Have you ever used it?

  22. Yes, ground fennel is just crushed fennel seed. I haven't tried fresh fennel in this, but I'm thinking the fennel flavor is stronger in the seeds. I don't think the fresh fennel would be bad, but I might use some ground fennel as well.

  23. Where do you find the Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage? Could you tell me what brand it is? I have never bought it before. Thank you so much for your help :)

  24. Wendy, it's usually found near the ground turkey. I've tried a few brands, but my favorite is Jenni-O.

  25. I made this for my family's annual holiday "everybody bring a pot of soup and bread" party. It was a HUGE hit and was voted the best soup of the night. Thank you for the recipe, it is sooo delicious!

  26. Kristie, so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed it so much!

  27. What a hearty and satisfying soup! Italian sausage is one of the things my husband misses most (he's on a strict low sodium diet). I have whole wheat spaghetti in my pantry, but now I'm curious about ww orzo - will have to look for it :))

    1. that would be hard to never have Italian sausage; good for him for sticking with it. I LOVE the whole wheat orzo.

  28. Let's see...No kale but I have chard; no Italian sausage, but I have duck sausage (and fennel), no whole wheat orzo but whole wheat spaghetti..... Yup, I can get close enough. We're having serious soup weather here these days.... Love the photo

    1. Thanks Katie, sounds like you can come up with something very close. The weather here is so warm, we don't know what's going on.

  29. What a great, hearty, good for you soup. Love the new pictures.


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