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Butternut Squash, Sausage and Tortellini Soup

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This butternut squash, sausage and tortellini soup recipe features a silky sweet and savory broth topped with fresh herbs and Parmesan.

Say hello to our family’s newest favorite soup. ♡

I basically want to live on butternut squash soup each year once the weather begins to cool off. And our toddler is still on a months-long streak of requesting tortellini every night (like, every single night) for dinner. So this soup ended up being a bit of a family compromise one evening for dinner. And I have to say, it actually ended up being a fabulous success.

I more or less used my classic butternut squash soup recipe as the inspiration for this broth, thinned out a bit for this version yet still featuring my favorite combination of garlicky puréed veggies, green apple, a drizzle of cream, and earthy sage for seasoning. Then to that, we added crumbled Italian sausage, lots of fresh kale, cheese tortellini, and topped things off with a generous sprinkling of Parm. It ended up being the perfect balance of savory, sweet, and slightly-spicy flavors. And of course, off-the-charts cozy and comforting on a chilly fall night. We absolutely loved it!

There are plenty of variations that you’re welcome to try with this recipe, such as swapping gnocchi for the tortellini or using a plant-based sausage to make the soup vegetarian. I also highly recommend picking up some frozen diced butternut squash if you’d like to save yourself some time chopping. But however you end up making this soup, I think you’re going to love it.

Let’s get to it!

Butternut Squash, Sausage and Tortellini Soup Ingredients

Here are a few brief notes about the ingredients that you will need to make this soup:

  • Butternut squash: This seasonal root veggie always adds a deliciously creamy and slightly-sweet flavor to soups, and purées into the loveliest velvety texture. Feel free to dice the butternut squash yourself (here’s a tutorial for how to do so safely), or I love purchasing store-bought fresh or frozen diced butternut squash as a shortcut.
  • Italian sausage: Ground Italian sausage adds a variety of savory seasonings and amazing flavor to this soup! I used a traditional spicy Italian sausage, but you’re welcome to go mild or sweet if you prefer. And chicken Italian sausage could also work well here too.
  • Tortellini: I love using fresh cheese tortellini in this recipe because it cooks quickly and adds an extra bit of cheesiness to each bite. That said, feel free to use whatever tortellini filling that you prefer.
  • Veggies: We’ll use a simple blend of yellow onion, carrot, and garlic for our base aromatics, which give the perfect sweet and savory base to our broth.
  • Apple: I love adding a tart Granny Smith apple to this broth (inspired by my classic butternut squash soup) for a hint of sweetness to balance out the savory notes in the sausage and tortellini.
  • Greens: Chopped fresh kale or baby spinach can be stirred in just before serving to add some greens to the soup.
  • Chicken or vegetable stock: Feel free to use either chicken or vegetable stock as the base for the broth.
  • Cream or coconut milk: For an extra bit of creaminess in the broth, I recommend adding in either some unsweetened coconut milk or half and half (or a splash of heavy cream).
  • Seasonings: I recommend using fresh sage to season the soup, along with some crushed red pepper flakes for a hint of heat.
  • Toppings: Finally, don’t skip the toppings! Freshly-grated Parmesan and finely-chopped basil are the perfect finishing touches.

Recipe Tips

Full instructions for how to make this soup are included in the recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Use caution when blending hot liquids. As always, please use caution when puréeing a hot soup! I find it’s easiest to use an immersion blender. But if you are using a traditional blender, you will probably need to blend the broth in two batches to avoid overfilling the blender, and be sure to always tent the cap on the lid open so that the hot air has room to expand.
  • Adjust spiciness to taste. Different varieties of Italian sausage can range considerably in terms of their heat levels. So if you are sensitive to spicy foods, I recommend giving the soup a taste with the sausage before deciding if you’d like to add extra crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add more broth if needed. The tortellini will naturally soak up more of the broth the longer that they sit in the soup. So if you need to thin out the broth for leftovers, simply add in some extra stock and re-season the broth if needed.

Recipe Variations

Here are a few more variations on this butternut squash soup recipe that you’re welcome to try:

  • Add pesto: Add a drizzle of basil pesto to finish the soup, instead of sprinkling on fresh basil.
  • Add different herbs: Use different earthy herbs, such as fresh rosemary, marjoram or tarragon, in place of (or along with) the fresh sage.
  • Add extra veggies: Add extra soup-friendly vegetables to the soup, such as bell peppers, carrots, celery, mushrooms, squash, or tomatoes.
  • Use gnocchi or pasta: Use gnocchi in place of the tortellini. Or you could also use a traditional pasta (orecchiette would be great!) in place of the tortellini — you’ll just need to add extra broth to the soup to compensate and cook it longer until the pasta is al dente.
  • Make it vegetarian or vegan: Use your favorite plant-based Italian sausage and vegetable broth to make this soup vegetarian, and use plant-based tortellini additionally to make it vegan.
  • Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free tortellini to make this soup gluten-free.

More Tortellini Soup Recipes

Looking for more easy and comforting tortellini soup recipes to try? Here are a few of our faves:


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This butternut squash, sausage and tortellini soup recipe features a silky sweet and savory broth topped with fresh herbs and Parmesan.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 Granny smith apple, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock (use more if you’d like a brothier soup)
  • 1 pound diced butternut squash
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or half and half)
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) fresh cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups finely-chopped kale, tough stems removed
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • toppings: Parmesan and finely-chopped fresh basil

  1. Brown the sausage. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sauté until browned and cooked through, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausage to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of grease in the pot. (If there is no grease remaining, add 1 more tablespoon olive oil.)
  2. Sauté the veggies. Add the onion, carrot and apple to the pot. Sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
  3. Simmer. Add the chicken stock, butternut squash, sage and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low (or whatever temperature is needed to maintain a low simmer), cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash and carrots are completely soft.
  4. Purée. Remove and discard the sage. Add the coconut milk. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until smooth.
  5. Finish. Add the cooked sausage, tortellini and kale to the soup and stir to combine. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the tortellini are al dente. Taste and season the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with your desired toppings, and enjoy!

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