Italian Sausage Kale Soup is my favorite fall soup recipe. Brimming with flavor and a creamy broth that is accented with red potatoes and Italian sausage to make a soup that is hearty and warms the soul. Includes Step by step instructions.
If you’ve made my Cabbage Beef Soup before or my fall-wonderful White Chicken Chili then this recipe is for you! Back in 2014, I shared this and its become one of our family’s favorite recipes that gets requested often. I updated the photos and writing this year, because it definitely deserves to shine!
The Perfect Fall and Winter Soup
I have so many good things I want to say about this soup. First, even if I loved nothing else in the fall (which I love everything about the fall), I would still look forward to the fall just for soups. This soup’s creamy, and the simple ingredients meld together in the broth to make a comforting, hearty soup to help with the chill in the air.
Second, it’s one of the easiest soups I make. You only need one herb, not an entire list. The additional oregano perfectly compliments all the flavors here. And the leftovers are wonderful for days!
This comforting, easy soup is definitely a richer, brighter version from a more traditional Zuppa Toscana (like the beloved recipe from Olive Garden). Just the right amount of spice to make you keep coming back for more! This soup is irresistible!
Ingredients and Notes
Below is an overview of the ingredients and flavors you will need along with some notes for each ingredient.
Red potatoes – This soup works best when the potato slices are bite size. If you can’t find smaller red potatoes, it is best to cut larger ones in half lengthwise before slicing,
Italian Sausage – Hot or Mild is fine, but get good quality as this provides the spicy flavor to the soup. I usually get the links because that’s what I find, but ground Italian Sausage is fine.
Kale – This hearty, leafy green vegetable keeps the heartiness of the soup strong. I much prefer it over spinach. Just make sure to cut out the center rib that is tough and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces.
Yellow Onion – Just another flavor addition. Look for onions with minimal bruising and no soft spots.
Milk/Heavy Cream – If you don’t have heavy cream, you can substitute ¾ cup half and half and 1 -½ cup milk. Any milk you have on hand will do although you might add more cream to skim milk. I try to keep this soup on the lighter side, but feel free to add more heavy cream if you desire even more creamy goodness.
Oregano – The Italian staple. It boosts the flavor of the soup and looks prettier with the little seasoning dots around the broth.
Chicken Broth – I use lower sodium, but either will work.
Make It Your Own
As a soup, I love how rich yet basic it is and serves as a great base. Since I have made it so many, many times, sometimes I have experimented depending on my mood, and there are many great ways to use ingredients you already have hand to make it your own. All of these are optional ideas!
- 1 14.5oz Can of Cannellini Beans
- ½ teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 4 slices of bacon (diced and crisped in a saute pan, then add back in at the end.)
- 1 stalk of celery, fine diced
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Step By Step Recipe Guide
The full recipe is in the recipe card below, but I include this section for my own tips and visual guide to preparing the Sausage Kale Soup.
Prepare the Potatoes. If you wish, all of this can be made in one pot, if you do the potatoes beforehand. I usually boil the potatoes as I cook the rest of the soup.
Brown the Sausage and Onions. I brown the sausage links a bit and then add the onions so they both finish at the same time.
Tip: Forget crumbling sausage by hand, I cook it nearly half way (keep the onions on one side of the pan) and then toss the sausage into a food processor like this and pulse for a few seconds. Makes it perfectly consistent and you can get just the crumble level you desire!
Make the Broth. This step blends all the flavors. Add the chicken stock, oregano and then the milk and bring up to a simmer (not boiling). While simmering for 20 minutes, stir occasionally to keep the milk from frothing or scalding.
Add the veggies. You only need to bring the soup back up to a simmer to make everything warm and to wilt the kale. Add the heavy cream and adjust seasonings to your liking.
LOOKING FOR MORE HEARTY SOUP RECIPES? CHECK THESE OUT:
- Cabbage Beef Soup
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- French Onion Soup
- Creamy Seafood Chowder Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup with Real Cheese
SERVING AND STORAGE SUGGESTIONS
Make Ahead: This recipe is wonderful for brown bag lunches and potlucks because it heats really well. Just pack the toppings separately.
Freeze: This soup cooks so fast that I don’t usually freeze it. However, I did test it for this post. The potatoes broke apart more than I, personally, would like so I would dice rather than slice. However, the fats and milk contents tend to separate during freezing. Do not add the heavy cream in until ready to serve. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, shake or blend very well, and add the heavy cream while reheating. Overall, I don’t recommend freezing.
Storing Leftovers: Sausage kale soup can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
Frequently asked questions
You can, but I am not sure how much time it would really save. The sausage still needs to be browned before putting in the slower cooker and I would add the milk and heavy cream just before serving. I would also recommend dicing the potatoes rather than making them in thin slices.
I always like a crusty bread with soup to soak up that delicious broth, but it works wonderfully with one of our generous tossed salad recipes.
You could add in some mild or spicy veggie-meat crumbles and use vegetable broth to make it totally vegetarian. The dairy products make the recipe unsuitable for vegan, unfortunately.
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Sausage and Kale Soup
- 2 lbs Red Potatoes sliced about ¼ inch thick rounds
- 1 lb Ground Italian sausage or links with casings removed
- 1 cup Diced Yellow Onion
- 5 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 5-6 pieces Kale Leaves Ribs removed and torn into bite size
- ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- salt and pepper to Taste
- In a soup pot or large Dutch oven on a stovetop, boil the sliced potatoes about 5-10 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside in a colander or bowl.
- In the same or a different soup pot, crumble the Italian sausage over medium heat. You may need to add a bit of butter if you don't use nonstick cookware. Begin to brown for 1-2 minutes. Add the onions. Cook until sausage is fully cooked and onions are translucent. Drain off excess fat.
- Stir in the chicken broth, milk, and oregano. Bring to a simmer. Cover and turn to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, heavy cream and kale. Return to simmer. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until the kale has wilted.
- Salt and Pepper to taste, Adjust seasonings and heavy cream if desired, Serve hot.