spicy sausage soup with white beans, shells and kale


spicy sausage, kale, shell and white bean soup

Destined to be a family favorite in your house!

spicy sausage, kale, shell and white bean soup

perfect for a cold day!

Do you have one of those “go to” recipes?  One that ‘never-fails-to-win-praise’ and makes it a keeper?  This is definitely one of mine.  My friend, Nola deserves the credit.  It’s her recipe and one that I have followed time and again since she first shared it with me about five years ago.

 We were having a joint garage sale at her house and Nola prepared this soup for something to graze on during the day.  So, in between greeting customers and haggling over the true value of an Easy Bake oven circa 1999, we would step inside to ladle out a dish of this warm, satisfying broth.   

As I recall, Nola earned about $150 at the sale, I made around $125 and Emily, a born negotiator, raked in about $250 for her Barbie collections, books, games, and yes – her Easy Bake oven.   Go figure.

I think the reason this soup is such a constant in our house, aside from being completely addictive, is that it comes together so quickly and easily.  In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.    Usually the only things I have to pick up from the grocery store are the sausage and kale.    

With so much of the country facing temperatures in the single or even in the negative digits, this dish is just the thing to soothe your winter blues.   Be sure to serve with a flurry of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  


spicy sausage soup with white beans, shells & kale
Serves 8
a simple, yet satisfying soup
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 pound spicy italian sausage
  3. 1 medium onion, diced
  4. 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  5. 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  8. 2 teaspoons dried basil
  9. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  12. 1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  13. 3 cups kale, roughly chopped, tough stems removed
  14. 1 1/2 cups medium shell pasta (see note)
  15. 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, add sausage and break apart with a fork while browning. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Stir over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in canned tomatoes with juice and drained beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add kale and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  6. Add pasta, cooking for 8-10 minutes until desired doneness.
  7. Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese.
  1. If you are making this soup with the intention of having leftovers, prepare the pasta separately and add about 1/4 cup to individual serving bowls as you are serving the hot soup. Otherwise, I have found that the pasta absorbs much of the broth and when I'm reheating the soup, I have to add more liquid.
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