Warm up your soul with this comforting and delicious Slow Cooker Creamy Sausage & Tortellini Soup. Bursting with Italian flavors, tender tortellini, and creamy goodness, this soup is the ultimate comfort food for chilly days. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends, this easy-to-make recipe will become a family favorite in no time. Let’s dive into the details and learn how to whip up this hearty soup in your slow cooker.
- 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups carrots, sliced
- 1 ½ cups celery, chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup white wine (optional, or extra chicken broth)
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 20 oz. cheese tortellini, refrigerated or frozen
- 8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
- 3 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- Cook the Sausage: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the Italian sausage, breaking it apart with a spoon, until browned and cooked through. Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess grease.
- Prepare the Vegetables: In the same skillet, add the diced onion, minced garlic, sliced carrots, and chopped celery. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened.
- Combine Ingredients in the Slow Cooker: Transfer the cooked sausage and sautéed vegetables to the slow cooker. Add the chicken broth, white wine (if using), dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cook on Low: Cover the slow cooker and cook the soup on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
- Add Tortellini and Cream Cheese: About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the cheese tortellini and cubed cream cheese until the cream cheese is melted and the tortellini is cooked through.
- Add Spinach and Cream: Stir in the chopped spinach leaves and heavy cream (or half-and-half) until the spinach wilts and the soup is heated through.
- Adjust Seasoning and Serve: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Ladle the creamy sausage and tortellini soup into bowls and serve hot.
Cook Notes and Variations:
- Vegetarian Option: Omit the Italian sausage and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian version of this soup. You can also add extra vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms for added flavor and nutrition.
- Spice it Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the soup for a spicy kick.
- Cheese Variation: Instead of cream cheese, you can use shredded Parmesan cheese or grated Asiago cheese for a different flavor profile.
- Herb Substitutions: Feel free to use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs for a brighter flavor. Simply use 1 tablespoon of fresh basil and oregano instead of dried.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Q: Can I use frozen tortellini in this recipe? A: Yes, you can use either refrigerated or frozen tortellini. If using frozen tortellini, you may need to add a few extra minutes of cooking time to ensure they are heated through.
Q: Can I make this soup ahead of time? A: Absolutely! This soup actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Simply store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving.
Q: Is there a dairy-free alternative for the cream cheese and heavy cream? A: Yes, you can use dairy-free alternatives such as coconut milk or cashew cream instead of cream cheese and heavy cream. Just be aware that the flavor and consistency may be slightly different.
Keto and Low-Carb Version:
For a keto-friendly or low-carb version of this soup, you can make a few substitutions:
- Replace Tortellini: Substitute the cheese tortellini with zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles to reduce the carb content.
- Cream Replacement: Use full-fat coconut milk or almond milk instead of heavy cream to keep the soup creamy without the added carbs.
- Watch the Wine: If you’re following a strict keto diet, you may want to omit the white wine as it contains carbs.
Warm, creamy, and packed with flavor, this Slow Cooker Creamy Sausage & Tortellini Soup is the ultimate comfort food for any occasion. Whether you’re craving a cozy dinner on a cold winter night or hosting a casual gathering with friends, this hearty soup is sure to impress. With just a few simple ingredients and minimal effort, you can create a satisfying meal that will keep you coming back for more. Give this recipe a try and treat yourself to a bowl of pure comfort and deliciousness. Enjoy!