Tuscan Sausage and Shells Soup

Wow. It’s 2014. I’m sure I’ll still write 2013 on my checks for approximately the next 11 1/2 months (am I the only one who still uses the archaic form of checks to pay for things??) but since time cannot be stopped, I think we should welcome in 2014 with this soup.

It’s healthy (did you see my sidebar link for 187 of my favorite healthy recipes?), hearty and so perfectly perfect for a snowy, cold January. I recognize not all of you live in a frozen tundra like I do; soup is mighty delicious in all weather, but I’m not going to lie, if you are eating this where the temperature is 5 degrees or higher, I hope you sweat profusely while you eat it. My warmer-weather-jealousy could be validated by this picture I snapped a few weeks ago on my way to church at 9:15 a.m. It pretty much speaks volumes:

I, for one, will drown my frosty sorrows in this soup and feel better about my harsh, Northern climate in no time. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I eat my way through January in order to cope with the blizzards, icy temps and general post-holiday blahs. Which basically means you’ll be getting some super awesome recipes this month (with a sprinkling of lighter, healthier food thrown in there, promise) and I’ll contemplate a rigorous exercise plan.

For a great, quick weeknight dinner, this soup cannot be beat. The simple flavors combine into a rich, hearty soup full of white beans, lean sausage, spinach and tiny little pasta shells. Something for everyone, I’d say. And talk about counting your colors; this soup is loaded with pretty vitamins. All joking* aside about drastic winter temps, this soup really is perfect for a cold, blustery night.

I hope you have a great start to the new year!

*I wasn’t really joking.

Tuscan Sausage and Shells Soup

What To ServeA really, great dinner roll (for homemade, I’d suggest French Bread Rolls or Buttery Cornmeal Crescents)
Fresh fruit or a light fruit salad like this Honey Lime Fruit Salad
Cottage Cheese

One Year Ago: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Quick and Delish}
Two Years Ago: Buffalo Chicken Bites
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup

Yield: Serves 6-ish

Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup

I prefer chicken or turkey sausage because it is lean; however, you could easily sub Italian sausage of another variety like pork just be sure to drain off the excess grease before adding the broth. Also, if you are not using low-sodium chicken broth, I would suggest decreasing the 1 teaspoon salt and adding to taste so the soup isn't overly salty.


  • 1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage (see note)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion or leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce each) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern or Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked shell pasta
  • 9 ounces spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat (remove the sausage from the casings, if needed) until browned, 3-4 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. If your sausage is really lean, you may need to use a teaspoon or so of oil so it doesn't stick to the pan.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through, 5-10 minutes. At this point, if there is excess grease, drain it before proceeding.
  3. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the soup to a boil. Add the shell pasta, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta isn't sticking.
  5. Stir in the spinach and simmer for another minute until the spinach is wilted. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe found via Pinterest, original source here

75 Responses to Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup

  1. Kristyn says:

    I can’t even count how many times I have made this recipe. I get rave reviews every time, it’s simply the BEST soup ever! I have added zucchini and squash on a number of occassions. Recently gave the recipe to my duaghter and she added mushroom and a jalepeno! Excellent recipe!

  2. Jenni Sisson says:

    Just made this – it is amazing! We used venison sausage, so it was very lean. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. Thanks for the phenomenal recipe. It’s a keeper for sure!

  3. Megan Lemon says:

    Hey Mel! I was thinking to possibly make this for my daughters baby blessing on Sunday (make Sunday Morning and put in a crockpot for about 1.5 hours before serving on warm) do you think that might work?? I just worry about the noodles getting too soggy or something.. Thanks!!

  4. Becky says:

    This was so good! I left out the pasta and added a second can of beans instead. I stirred in a splash of half and half to the bowl as I served it. So good! I’ll have happy lunch times this week 🙂

  5. Raquel says:

    This soup is so delicious! We use mild Italian sausage instead of sweet, but other than that we follow the recipe to the letter. It’s so tasty…and easy, too! Thank you so much for sharing it.

  6. Barb Filardi says:

    I stumbled on this recipe one day when I had some sausage and was looking for a soup to make with it. It is a real hit with my husband and I. I have passed it along to many friends! All of them love it too!

  7. Britt-Marie says:

    I’ve made this soup a couple times but forgot to post my thanks! It’s so easy and my husband loves it. Ever since he had some Tuscan soup at Souplantion he’s been asking me to make some. This hit the spot.

  8. Kathleen says:

    Made this tonight, great soup. I have a minestrone recipe that is similar, but I think this recipe will be replacing it!

  9. Brian says:

    Made this tonight for dinner. Only mod was Kale instead of Spinach. Tasted great and kids asked for more. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Linda Welch says:

    I made this for dinner. My husband is Type 2 Diabetes, so I only used 1 can of beans and no pasta. It was delicious. He loved it!

  11. Hilary says:

    This soup was UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! The only thing I did differently was to purée the veggies, tomatoes and beans (so my picky children couldn’t pick them out 🙂 ) Everyone loved it!! Oh, and instead of using canned beans, I used some leftovers from your ham, white bean and sweet potato soup (which was equally delicious)! Perfect for tonight, as we are expecting snow, yet again! Ugh!

  12. Tiffany says:

    THIS SOUP WAS AWESOME!!! I loved dipping some french bread in all the soup. Om nom nom nom.

  13. Teresa says:

    Hey Mel, I would like to make this for our Celebrate Recovery group on Thursday. I’m responsible for healthy soups once a month. We have around 30 we are cooking for, could you help me with the addition? Like do you think I need 5 lbs of meat or could I cut out a lb or two? How about the rest. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Teresa – if it were me, I’d quadruple all the ingredients in the soup except the meat – I’d only use 3 pounds of meat. Good luck!

  14. JennyP says:

    Made this tonight – I have been looking forward to it since you posted the recipe. Delicious! I added a bit more pasta than it called for, but other than that kept everything the same. Thanks again for yet another wonderful recipe!

  15. Susan P says:

    I made this last night and it was so delicious! My family loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

  16. Miss Laurie says:

    Made this recipe last night for supper and it turned out really delicious! I doubled the broth by adding tomato juice and marinara sauce, also used mild Italian sausage. Cooked gluten free shell pasta separately and added it in as gluten free pasta doesn’t last long and I wanted to get two meals out of the pot. Thanks so much for this great recipe, it is definitely a keeper for my family!

  17. Jordan says:

    Just made this soup for my husband and we LOVE it! I made some minor adjustments to make it a little spicy – used one can of fire roasted tomatoes and spicy Italian sausage. This recipe is a winner. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Nicole says:

    Mel, I just made this soup and it was delicious! (I wasn’t expecting anything less based on all the other great recipes I’ve made from your posts.) It is perfect for a weeknight or to serve to company in my opinion. Thanks for the wonderful recipe to kick off the new (freezing cold) year!

  19. Tifani says:

    Absolutely delicious!!! I just used pork sausage and drained off the fat and I only had frozen spinach… still was amazing!!! Incredible! Thank you!

  20. Vanessa says:

    I made this soup a few days ago…so healthy and tasty! It was even better the next day after it had time to sit and “marry” the flavors. Great choice for a negative temperature kinda day!

  21. Barb says:

    Mel, this recipe is another KEEPER! Love, love, love this soup! Whole fam enjoyed it & hubster went back for a giant 2nd helping. I used chicken sausage & forgot the beans & spinach…but the soup was still soooo yummy! Can’t wait to make it again the “right” way 😉 Thank you!

  22. Kelly says:

    I made this recipe for dinner this week. The store didn’t have sweet Italian sausage, but they did have spicy sausage. Turned out great! My husband loves spicy food, so it was perfect.

  23. Kim in MD says:

    Mel- I made this soup last week and it was so delicious and yet so easy to make! I knew I would have leftovers, so I cooked the pasta separately and added it to each individual bowl. I took some to my MIL and she raved about it! I think I may add some halved, sliced zucchini when I make this again. I think it would be a nice addition to this absolutely amazing soup!

  24. Jenn says:

    Made it and loved it- even the picky one ate it. Thanks!

  25. nurunnahar amily says:

    I just love your recipe, its look yummy ,I must try it.Thank you.

  26. Joanna says:

    I made this today and we loved it. I added some tortellini and used less ditalini than the 1-1/2 cups. It was perfect. Thanks so much!

  27. Sheree L says:

    I made this soup this week and we loved it! I used reduced-sodium broth and no-salt-added tomatoes AND left out the teaspoon of salt. It still tasted awesome! Also, I used 1.25 lbs of turkey sausage & added some extra carrots (but kept everything else the same) and we had 9 servings. 🙂 I had leftovers for lunch 3 days in a row – yum…

  28. Amy J says:

    Mel, I made this last night. It was a hit with the kids and delicious with Parmesan cheese. I doubled the carrots and onions and made it with pork sausage. I also added 2 c. chicken broth and 8 oz. tomato sauce. just reminds me why your blog is a “go-to” for fabulous recipes. Thank you! Thank you!

  29. Kim in MD says:

    Our temp here in Maryland was about 6 degrees yesterday, and it was miserable. I can’t imagine -31 degrees! And I’m sure that didn’t factor in the wind chill! Thankfully, this Article Vortex is getting out of here and our temps are on the rise. I think I have everything to mKe this soup for dinner. It looks so delicious, Mel!

  30. Alicia Q. says:

    Yum! Easy and great taste! I added a little extra noodles and my family loved it. Super filling and makes enough for 2 meals, I love that!

  31. Roslyn says:

    We loved this soup! Made it for dinner tonight and it was awesome! Even my two young picky boys ate it up! I just adore your site and recipes. Keep em coming girl! You rock!

  32. Susan says:

    I loved this soup! It made a huge pot and I shared with a neighbor couple.

  33. Angela says:

    Delicious! And came together so quickly. I just used some bulk Italian sausage that I had on hand and it was great. Took longer to defrost the sausage than to cook the whole soup – my kind of dinner! Thank you!

  34. Amber says:

    Fantastic! Simple to make, not too time consuming and excellent flavor! I faked the sausage with a pound of ground turkey cooked with 2 t fennel seed, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, 1 t oregano, 1 t garlic powder and a dash of allspice. I was just trying to use what I had on hand! Thanks for the great recipe!

  35. Heidi says:

    Wonderful soup! I put some barley in instead of the pasta and let it simmer until it was cooked. I also used Swiss chard I had frozen from my garden in place of the spinach. Kale would have been great, too! My husband loved it!

  36. Amanda Z says:

    This recipe was just what I needed on this cold day! We had it for dinner tonight and it really hit the spot, so delicious. I am excited I have some really yummy leftovers for lunch tomorrow 🙂 thanks for another great one!

  37. Another Valerie says:

    -12 here in Indy with wind chills at -40. I made this for dinner, halving the recipe and using fire roasted diced tomatoes, and it turned out awesome! Thanks!

  38. Sheila says:

    So delicious not to mention so nutritious! We loved it. Thank you bunches!

  39. Valerie says:

    I am making this for dinner tonight. Only a high of 0 today in St. Louis. Hope everyone stays nice & warm!

  40. Kathryn says:

    What a wonderful recipe! Great for a quick and easy dinner. I used kale instead of spinach and my daughter said it actually tasted “not bad” (the kale, not the soup overall, which she liked). For anyone with celiac, I used Tinkyada pasta in it, and it held up well.

  41. crystaltune says:

    Oh, so good! I used Sweet Italian sausage, half the amount of spinach, and it is great! Oh yeah, a few splashes of Tabasco were added. This is a keeper!

  42. Kathleen says:

    I made this today but only used half of the chicken stock to make more of a stew/casserole and it was awesome! Great dish for a day of cold rain and fog.

  43. Edith says:

    Just made my family the Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup, It was delicious and it is another keeper! Thank you for sharing all the wonderful recipes with us all.

  44. Jenine says:

    I made this today. It was quick, tasty, and filling! I used ditalini rigati instead of shells and went with onion instead of leeks. I think I would stick with that (despite loving leeks). I was cooking just for two and we have 5 large servings left – they’ll make great lunches this week. Thanks!

  45. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen says:

    This soup sounds incredible! The temperatures tonight are supposed to dip down to -45 with the windchill…I’m thinking this soup would warm us right up! Pinned!! 🙂

  46. bluebaker says:

    I’m looking forward to making this today- nice way to transition out of the sugary and rich holliday foods back into more reasonable meals. My area of southwest Michigan is being hit with a severe snowstorm right now so it is a great time for homemade soup, and homemade bread.

  47. Cindy says:

    Oh my goodness! Just the right amount of spiciness to warm you on a cold night. We will definitely make this again!

  48. Stacey says:

    This is as good as it looked. My husband really loved it and a friend asked for the recipe! Thanks for another great one, Mel.

  49. […] Kitchen recipes never ever let me down. This recipe for Tuscan Sausage soup sounds like the perfect weekend […]

  50. Stacey says:

    Made this tonight and my whole gang (5) raved about how good it was even my super picky 17yr old son! The hubby ate it at dinner and took another bowl with him to work tonight at the ice rink (he is a zam driver and is frozen to the bone by the time he gets done). Thank You for another great recipe!!!

  51. heather says:

    This was awesome! Made it exactly and seriously loved it. Perfect on a col winter day.

  52. It’s so warm in Barcelona, like no winter at all. I run around in a sweater most of the time. But I miss cold winter days when you need to eat warm soup to feel warmer.

  53. Deborah says:

    I’m drooling over this! And now I will stop complaining about 20F temperatures. 😉

  54. Lana says:

    Have you tried freezing this soup? I am not sure about the spinach or pasta quality.

  55. Katrina says:

    Looks tasty! Cant wait to try it. Think I could use frozen spinach? I already have some in my freezer…

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katrina, sure, I think frozen spinach would work ok – I would thaw it and drain it and add it in very close to the end of cooking time.

  56. Teresa says:

    This looks amazing! We moved from Oklahoma to Utah a few months ago, and it’s super cold in both places!!! I think we’ll be having this tomorrow for dinner.

  57. Chelsea says:

    Do you think this could be made in the crockpot if you don’t add the noodles/spinach til later and pre cook the sausage?

    • Mel says:

      Chelsea – definitely worth a try especially if you do as you say and add the noodles and spinach later (and precook the sausage). Good luck!

  58. Wow, as a former New Yorker now living in NC I can sympathize with the temperatures. That is super cold. Bone Chilling – literally! This soup sounds wonderful. I love tomato broth and all the veggies, beans and sausage sounds wonderful!

  59. Natalie says:

    I ran to the store to buy the ingredients for this soup and made it tonight for dinner. My somewhat picky husband declared it ‘a keeper’! Hooray! Thanks for sharing it!

  60. It’s going to be 102F where I live in summery Australia tomorrow – other places inland will be up to 122F. Even though it’s freakin’ hot, I think I could eat this soup. It looks fantastic!

  61. heather bell says:

    It was high of 6 here in Iowa today. Lots of negatives this week. For lunch I had tomato soup. Dinner your broccoli cheese soup. I feel better, for now.=)

  62. Erin says:

    I live in the U.P. of Michigan and we are having the same awful temps (it’s -4 right now..but FEELS like -18. Blech). This soup looks wonderful for this week.

  63. Laura says:

    I recently stumbled upon your site and just love it! I check it out at least once a day when I have free time to look and your older posts. I have made a few things and they all have turned out great. I can’t say that about some of the other sites I routinely visit. The Chewy Pretzel Bites were my kids favorite. I feel a little guilty reading todays post. You are freezing while I’m looking out at the Pacific Ocean complaining about it being a chilly 65 degrees. Still a good soup day for me. Happy New Year!

  64. Alexis says:

    Ugh. I live in Wisconsin and I feel the same about January (pretty much the same about Feb and March too…) This soup will be on my table for Sunday dinner! It looks so delicious, I’m thinking some crusty rolls and a salad too. Mmmm. I love your recipes and look forward to your help getting through January!

  65. Sara says:

    This looks amazing. I love to make and eat soup in the winter time!! I will make it without the pasta to make it gluten free.

  66. Just cold and wet in Seattle but we still love our soup! I for one am ready for something healthy and can’t wait to try this!

  67. I just tried a white bean soup and it is incredible! It will defiantly warm you up on a COLD day!

  68. Abbie says:

    This looks great. Can’t wait to try it. Living in Northern Alberta I know exactly how you feel about the winter weather, as it’s -29F here and has been for the last week now.

  69. Michelle says:

    This looks delicious Mel! I thought we had it cold here in Oregon but, um, I’ll shut up now. 🙂 I typically make soup without a recipe per se but many pots end up very similar to this. Subbing kale for the spinach is also delicious. Happy new year and crank up the heater!!

  70. Stacey says:

    Looks like Friday is my day for this delicious-looking soup when it will be 24 here in DC. I feel for you with -31. I miss snow, but not the Chicago cold.

  71. This looks absolutely delicious! I’m trying to get in as much soup as I can before the weather starts to heat up. Perfect for a chilly day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *