Italian Sausage Soup with Pasta, White Beans and Kale

This flavorful, broth-y, homemade Italian sausage soup has been a family favorite for years. Made from everyday ingredients and pantry staples, like hot Italian pork sausage, canned white beans and kale with a few handfuls of dried pasta, it’s a simple, hearty soup that’s ready to eat in about an hour.

I use Tuscan white beans (Cannellini, a.k.a. white kidney beans) and diced canned tomatoes in this one pot meal. Small pasta like macaroni, shells, ditalini or orecchiette and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese add Italian flair to the sausage kale soup. Best of all this Italian white bean and kale soup is quick and easy to make; it’s ready in about an hour.

removing casings from the sausages and browning the spicy sausage in a dutch oven.
Remove the casings from the spicy Italian sausage and brown in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.

You know those go-to recipes we all have? I’m talking about those tried and true favorites that EVERYONE loves? This Tuscan sausage soup with pasta white beans and kale is one of THOSE.

Deeply flavorful, super quick and easy and it feeds a crowd… The best part are the everyday ingredients. Ones we usually have on hand in the fridge and pantry. Consequently, you can have a hearty bowl of spicy sausage and vegetable soup any night of the week. Here’s what you need:

 Italian sausage soup ingredients

  • Olive oil – No need to use a fancy extra virgin olive oil.
  • Italian Pork Sausage – I use spicy, but you can also use mild.
  • Mirepoix – a traditional mix of onions, celery and carrots is the base for most soups.
  • Garlic – for an even more flavorful broth.
  • Chicken Broth from Rotisserie Chicken or low-sodium broth.
  • Dried Basil – a traditional Italian herb, dried is better than fresh for this soup.
  • Dried Oregano – don’t use fresh oregano as it’s too potent for the Italian sausage soup.
  • Dried Bay Leaves – bay laurel adds a hint of menthol flavor, which seems odd, but is a mainstay for soups and stews.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes – use the juices too.
  • Canned Tuscan White Beans a.k.a. Cannellini or white kidney beans. Use the beans and the bean liquid in the Italian Sausage Soup.
  • Fresh Kale -I recommend buying whole kale leaves and removing the stems. It’s easier than trying to remove the tough stems from bagged chopped kale.
  • Small Pasta (Elbow Macaroni, Mini Shells or Orecchiette)
  • Parmesan Cheese – best if freshly grated.
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Why this sausage white bean kale recipe works:

  • It uses everyday ingredients and pantry staples.
  • It’s basically a dump and go recipe.
  • No need for a long simmer time.
  • Italian sausage soup is an immediate family favorite.

This quick and easy recipe is based on a recipe my friend, Nola shared with me years ago.  I love it because it’s such a simple, throw together dish and it REALLY delivers on flavor. The key is the spicy Italian pork sausage. It infuses the broth with a rich, tingly flavor that’s irresistible.

(Note: If you don’t have the hot variety of sausage, you can use sweet Italian sausage and augment it with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for zing.)

Start by removing the casings from the hot pork sausage, then brown the meat with a little olive oil in a large dutch oven breaking it up into bite sized chunks with a wooden spoon.

adding mirepoix and spices to the browned Italian sausage.
Add the aromatics to the browned pork sausage and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Layering soup with aromatics

When we speak of aromatics in cooking, we’re talking about vegetables, (like onions, ginger, chiles, garlic, etc.). They add moisture, flavor and roundness to overall dishes. Without them, so many soups, stews and braises would taste flat — like something is missing.

Aromatics I use for Italian white bean kale sausage soup

For this easy Italian sausage soup recipe, start by sweating the chopped veg with the browned sausage. This deepens the flavors and also provides an olfactory punch that makes the whole house smell delicious and inviting. Traditional dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil and bay leaves) add to the soup’s vibrant flavor and aroma.

adding tuscan white beans, tomatoes and broth to the pot.
Add the canned tomatoes, Tuscan white beans and broth to the pot.

Italian sausage soup is very popular with my daughter, Emily, because of the “dump and go” nature of it. She loves the idea of opening up a few canned goods and emptying them into the pot. To her, it’s cooking… without the commitment. I agree. These short cuts save time and the flavors are amazing.

Dry and canned goods from the pantry

Canned Tomatoes – Use a can of petite diced tomatoes in their own juices. No need to drain, just open the can and dump it into the soup.

Cannellini Beans – Many times when I use canned beans, I rinse them first — but not in this case. The saucy bean liquid actually adds body to the spicy Italian sausage soup. Again, just open and dump! You’re welcome.

Chicken Broth – I’m a BIG proponent of homemade chicken stock and would definitely recommend it in this soup, however, if you’re fresh out, don’t fret. This soup works beautifully with store-bought broth (just be sure to use a low sodium broth because the Italian sausage adds a fair amount of salt to the mix).

Pasta – I’ve made this soup with all sorts of small-ish pasta, from macaroni to orecchiette to shells, ditalini to orzo and even mini pastina.

If you add pastina or orzo, use about 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount of pasta called for as it swells up quickly.

I’m sure there are other pasta shapes that would work equally well, however, I’m particularly fond of the shells because the vegetables, sausage and Tuscan beans will tuck themselves inside the curved-cup of the shell pasta. It’s a perfect match.

Simmer the Tuscan sausage soup and then add the pasta followed by chopped kale.

What’s the best type of kale to use?

It’s up to you. Use Lacinato (a.k.a. Tuscan or dinosaur) kale or regular curly kale in this soup.  

There’s no special preparation other than removing the tough stems and giving the dark green leaves a rough chop.

I recommend kale for this soup because it’s sturdy and holds up well to the other players in the spicy sausage, pasta and white bean soup.

What are the best substitutions for kale in the Italian sausage soup?

If you don’t have kale (or don’t like it), you can substitute other greens. Chopped escarole lettuce is rugged as well and would make a good stand in. Collard greens are another option. You can also use fresh spinach, however, if you do, follow these steps…

  1. Wait until you’re ready to serve the soup, because spinach wilts very quickly and will lose its vibrant color and flavor if it sits too long.
  2. Add small handfuls of spinach and stir completely into the tuscan sausage soup before adding another handful. This allows it to more evenly distribute throughout the pot, otherwise, it will tend to clump together  and that’s not what we’re going for.

Avoid any greens with a strong flavor or aroma, like turnip greens which might overpower the other flavors.

It looks like a lot of kale, but it will wilt into the soup in a matter of minutes.

Variations & additions

  • For a lighter, healthier soup, you can swap the Italian pork sausage for Italian style turkey sausage. It doesn’t have the same depth of flavor, but will still taste great.
  • For a richer, creamy soup, substitute 2 cups of the chicken stock for heavy cream.
  • Just before serving, try adding fresh chopped herbs like basil or thyme for a bit of lightness.
  • I always add a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano to my Italian sausage soup for a richer umami flavor.
You won’t believe how good this Tuscan sausage soup is.

How long will the soup last?

It should keep refrigerated for up to one week, however, the pasta tends to continue to absorb the liquid as it rests, which does two things. 1. The pasta gets soft and 2. there’s less broth in the soup. To avoid this, you can either cook the pasta separately and add it to the soup as needed or (if you don’t mind softer noodles) just add more broth to the leftover soup as you reheat it.

Can I freeze the soup?

Theoretically, yes. I’ve never done it because it never lasts long enough to freeze with my hungry family. If you do freeze it, I would definitely recommend cooking the pasta separately and add it to the individual bowls just before serving. This will keep the soup at its optimum. Thaw before reheating.

Sprinkle on some grated Italian cheese.

The best spicy Italian sausage soup

Every spoonful of this hearty Italian sausage white bean and kale soup is filled with tasty little morsels. A bit of carrot here, chewy greens there, chunks of Italian sausage, creamy Cannellini beans and perfect al-dente pasta shells. The broth is rich, spicy and utterly mouthwatering. Get ready, friends — this one will be your new favorite too.

This soup has long been a favorite with my readers and very popular with the Pinterest crowd. Here’s what some of them have to say about it:

Reader comments:

From Rachel: “This Italian sausage soup is fabulous!! I’ll make it again . . . And again . . . And again . .”

Via Connie: “Delicious! Perfect on this cold and snowy day. I’ll make it often.”

From Diane: “Excellent. I didn’t have spicy sausage so I used mild and a pinch of hot pepper flakes. Used baby kale. Followed exactly. Loved it.”

Via Debbie: “Delicious sausage kale soup – definitely adding this to my regulars!”

Leah says: “Great spicy sausage soup! I will be making this again!”

From Sandy: “This is delicious….”

This recipe makes a big pot of soup to feed the whole family.

What to serve with Italian sausage soup:

Of course, this hearty, sausage kale and white bean soup is wonderful with a crusty piece of French bread, but

More easy soup recipes: 

You’ll love this simple, homemade sausage soup recipe.

If you’re a fan of big, bold, hearty flavors — this soup delivers every time. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Bon appetit!

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Italian sausage soup in a dutch oven.
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4.62 from 71 votes

Spicy Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans, Pasta & Kale

This brothy Italian sausage soup is quick and easy to make with hot Italian pork sausage, fresh kale, your favorite pasta and a few canned vegetables. No need for a long simmer, this soup is ready to eat in just over an hour.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword italian sausage, shell pasta, soup
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth from rotisserie chicken or low sodium store bought
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 14- ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 19- ounce can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups kale roughly chopped, tough stems removed
  • 1 ½ cups medium shell pasta see note
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated


  • 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.
  • Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Stir over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in canned tomatoes with juice and drained beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add kale and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  • Add pasta, cooking for 8-10 minutes until desired doneness.
  • Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese.


YouTube video


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.


Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 973mg | Potassium: 781mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5260IU | Vitamin C: 38.4mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 4.6mg

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  1. 5 stars
    Had this many times. Our family loves it

  2. 5 stars
    Second time I make it. It’s delicious and don easy to make.

  3. 5 stars
    This is by far our favorite soup. Easy to make and fun to share…

  4. Maja Hofland says:

    5 stars
    Tasty. A definite keeper.

  5. 5 stars
    Such a tasty and easy to make soup! I’ve tasked myself with making a pot of soup each week (whether new to me or tried&true) and this recipe was loved by all! Instant tried&true status!
    I did use a pkg of half sweet and half hot links and the spiciness was perfect for those who were hesitant to try it because of the title. When kale looks super fresh I freeze bags of kale stripped off the stems. Sooo easy to take out what’s need to add to any simmering soup needing a ‘green’. I also used one quart each of boxed chicken broth bud one of vegetable broth. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    I love this soup and have made it several times. I prefer to use frozen chopped kale instead of fresh , which I find has too rough a texture .

  7. 5 stars
    Not sure how I came across this recipe, but I’m glad I did! It is absolutely delicious! Enjoyed every spoon of it. I’m not a spicy person, but the spicy Italian sausage gives it a nice pop! All the ingredients are inexpensive and make it hearty and filling. I can’t wait to try this during the upcoming Winter months. Thank you very much! ?

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks for a great recipe! So tasty on a cold, snowy night! Will make again.

  9. Chris Mellor says:

    5 stars
    best soup ever!! Have made it so many times already. Friends ask me to make it for them. Best leftovers!!!

  10. 5 stars
    This was delicious. A complete meal in one pot. Highly recommend!

  11. EverydayCookInDC says:

    5 stars
    This was DELISH! The weather has gotten a little chilly, and this hit the spot. I was skeptical with the short cooking time, but the flavors came out in a BIG way. Thanks for making me a star in the kitchen, the hubs loved it! It’ll be a go-to recipe.

  12. I’ve yet to make this soup (need a few more ingredients) but I just have to say thank you for the extra information you include! I love learning more about cooking and didn’t know about the German & Russian versions of mirepoix! Very cool! Thank you!

  13. 5 stars
    My husband loves soup so I plan on surprising him with this one next. Great recipe!!

    1. I’m sure he’s going to love it. My whole family does!

    2. 5 stars
      I used 12oz Oz of prewashed chopped kale and substituted 1 cup of barley for pasta. Lots of possible variations.

      Thank you

  14. Gail Montero says:

    5 stars
    I love that this very tasty soup is perfect as a meal on its own because it’s both hearty and filling!

  15. Sara Welch says:

    5 stars
    Such a hearty and flavorful dish! Served this for dinner last night and it has easily become a new favorite recipe!

  16. 5 stars
    This is one of my all-time favorite soups . Thanks so much for sharing. The sturdy kale and the creamy beans are such a great combo!

  17. 5 stars
    I’ve been including the kids more in the kitchen during quarantine. They are helping to decide what to make and helping to make it. I find they will try new things if they help make it. The perfect comfort meal! We loved it! So much flavor!

  18. Kushigalu says:

    5 stars
    Love the combination of ingredients in this soup recipe. So delicious

  19. NURUNNAHAR amily says:

    5 stars
    I just love your recipe.

    1. I’m so glad! Thank you!