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Tortellini Soup

So…some of you may have noticed that basically every time that I make a soup, it includes kale and sausage.


That combo is really just the bomb dig, because:

  1. Kale is so healthy and chock full of good stuff that I want to eat it all the time, but only I only like it bathed in four million calories of tahini and lemon juice, baked into chip form, or cooked into soups;
  2. Kale is hearty enough to be cooked for ten hours into a soup and still maintain some semblance of texture; and
  3. Hot or sweet sausage tastes delicious in soup–fooling Fritz into eating eight thousand vegetables while simultaneously feeling like he is consuming a man food.


So really, a win-win-win.

When I was growing up, one of my friend’s mom used to make this amazing tortellini stew.  I’m not really sure what made it a stew vs. a soup, and I’m fairly certain that it was nothing like the following recipe, but it did inspire this one.  When I stumbled upon pesto tortellini at Trader Joe’s, I just knew that my next soup idea was born.


Tortellini Soup (this recipe makes a freakin’ TON of soup–probably serves 10, at least)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • artichoke hearts (I used a 12 oz bag of plain frozen ones, also from TJ’s)
  • bell peppers (okay…also a frozen bag…also from TJ’s.  I used about 6 or 8 oz), but feel free to chop up a cup or so of fresh ones!
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, minced
  • several gigantic handfuls of roughly chopped kale (I used 10 ounces…TJs…I have a sickness)
  • 1 lb tortellini, cooked according to directions
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 C chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 2 t dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

To start, sauté the garlic and onions in a (very) large pot in the vegetable oil over medium heat until they begin to brown.  I also threw in a few carrots, just because I had a couple to use up.


(Don’t forget to cook your tortellini in a separate pot according to the package directions, then set aside).

At this point, I added the frozen bell peppers and artichokes, but I would suggest that you switch the order and brown the sausage next.  I’m not really sure what I was thinking.  So add the sausage.

Then the frozen bell peppers and artichokes hearts, along with the rosemary and bay leaves.


Top with the kale, and pour the tomatoes and broth over the top.


I wanted to include this picture because you may be alarmed at how much kale there is.  It will cook down, I promise.  Stick the lid on and let the kale steam, and suddenly you’ll have a lot more room.

Add the tortellini, and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Add some Parmesan on top for a little extra somethin’ somethin’.


Fritz loved, and I mean L-O-V-E-D this soup.  Probably his favorite ever.


On the first day of leftovers, I got a text from him in the middle of the day: “I loooooooove this soup!”


And if you know Fritz at all, you know he absolutely never, ever, ever manages to send a text during the day.  I mean, ever.  Too much hassle washing hands, putting down dental instruments, maintaining infection control measures, and just plain not having any time during the day to even consider texting.  So, needless to say (though I’m gonna say it anyway! What a strange phrase!), my jaw definitely dropped when I got that one.


So yeah.  It’s good stuff.


I’m also on a “putting rosemary in soup” kick.  I saw it in a recipe somewhere, tried it, loved it, repeated it over and over and over.


I go through food phases a lot.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been fixing some things up behind the scenes of the blog.  I neglected a lot of maintenance stuff while I was graduating/going to South Africa/studying for the boards/starting my new job, so now that life has settled down a bit, I’ve been able to continue learning (mostly through trial and error) what works and how to fix things.  So please let me know if you love, hate, or have any issues with the new stuff.

Meanwhile in cat land:


Tonight is the first night that we aren’t keeping them separated, since they seem to be coexisting much better.  Right now they are sleeping next to me (Emerson on the couch and Henry on a chair), and basically not having any issues with each other.  Though they still fight pretty frequently, it seems to be much more playful and less “I want to rip out your intestines and stuff ’em in your eyeballs”.


Even though Emerson is a lot bigger than Henry, Henry has been the bully for the majority of the last two weeks–however, Emerson is starting to stand up for himself and Henry is figuring out that we still love him.

So far, two cats > one cat.

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  1. Heidi

    Beautiful soup! Hope it’s as yummy as it looks I’ve got to try this! :)

  2. Florence

    I love italian food! So thanks!

  3. Cindy

    We have a few cats, and we looked up how they fight/play to make sure they were coexisting okay. If they are playing, they will be leaning slightly forward during their standoffs. If they’re fighting and being aggressive, they will be leaning backwards. Hope that helps! :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I’ll have to check out their stance next time they fight! appreciate the advice!

  4. Brie

    This looks great! I’m going to make this over the weekend. Hope it looks as yummy as yours :)

  5. Dana

    It looks like you used dried tortellini ( probably from TJ’s) grin. I added two extra cups of stock and used frozen tortellini. Without cooking first. Worked great. Lovely soup and used up tons of stuff trim the garden. I served with cheesy bread for a main course. Thank you for the recipe!

  6. lee

    I made this tonight for my husband and me. We both loved it! I omitted the artichokes and added a couple pinches of oregano and Basil. Delish! The broth was so flavorful!

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