I love this soup. What began as a make-it-because-I-have-all-the-ingredients-meal has quickly become one of our favorite family soups. Full of flavor and vegetables and all things good and soupy, we could eat this every week and never tire of it (but thanks to the million other soup recipes I want to try, we don’t eat it that often).
Healthy and hearty, this is a great one to keep in mind as you are frantically cooking bigger, time-taxing meals for the holiday season. It’s super easy to put together and offers a warm, wonderful meal on busy nights (and is a delightful contrast to the heavier, decadent fare of the holiday season).
It’s a fun one to serve in our family because each person has their favorite “thing” to try for when scooping out a ladle for their bowl. It might surprise you (not!) that the carrots and zucchini aren’t the first things sought after by the boys but thanks to their small size (the veggies, not the boys), they end up in their bowls anyway and get gobbled up as the boys search for the sausage and tortellini.
Have a great Thanksgiving! If you are in need of turkey leftover ideas, check out this post (or if you are like me, hoard all the turkey to eat on leftover rolls smothered in mustard). Otherwise, I’ll see you next week!
Note: If zucchini isn't in season, you could easily sub chopped spinach or frozen peas here. Also, if you absolutely can't find apple cider, try apple juice and in a last ditch effort, leave it out (although it does add a delicious hint of unique flavor). Even in my little town, I have been able to find Italian chicken sausage. It is lean, healthy and delicious. You want to look for sausage that is in a casing and is uncooked.
- 3 links Italian sausage (the kind that is uncooked in casings - see note above)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 medium zucchini, grated (no need to peel)
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 8-10 ounce package refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
- Remove the casings by slicing down one side of the sausage and peeling the casing back from the sausage. In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until it starts to brown, using a wooden spoon to crumble as it cooks. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked through. Drain any excess grease, if needed (alternately, if your sausage is extra lean, you may need to add a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking).
- Stir in the chicken broth, apple cider, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, oregano, and basil. Bring the soup to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and parsley simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook until tender (usually only a couple of minutes, even when the packages call for 7-9 minutes cooking time, I only cook the tortellini for 4-5 minutes so it doesn't fall apart). Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.