Every year, I tell myself I’m going to make a concerted effort to be less busy. Every year, I seem to find my schedule even more overwhelming than the last. With our current world circumstances keeping me at home, I’m taking the opportunity to slow down, appreciate the little moments, and relish comforting recipes like this easy Crockpot Tortellini Soup.
A warming, hearty soup made in the slow cooker, this easy and healthy crockpot recipe (and this similarly satisfying Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup) is allowing me not to be less busy but to be a different busy.
I’ve realized that what I really want right now isn’t for my time to be less full. Instead, I want it to be full of the activities that I enjoy: trying bucket list recipes, spending time with loved ones (virtually, if needed), baking, reading, helping my community however I can, watching movies.
This list of what I can do can be just as lengthy as the list of what I can’t do if I choose to frame it that way.
You know what’s not on my list? Stressing over dinner.
Enter Tuscan tortellini soup with sausage! It has all the warming comfort and indulgent touches we’re craving right now, done in a lighter, healthy way.
How to Make the Best Crockpot Tortellini Soup
This easy tortellini soup with sausage is high in lean protein and loaded with veggies.
The ingredients are simple and adaptable for what you have on hand at the moment.
It’s also rich and satisfying, thanks to the addition of cheesy tortellini pasta noodles.
Said plainly, it’s the soup we could all use a big bowl of right now.
- Cheese Tortellini. What could be better than soft, pillowy cheese-stuffed tortellini? Absolutely nothing. Tortellini holds up nicely in the soup and brings easy, cheesy flavor. Plus, it cooks directly in the slow cooker with the other ingredients, no separate pot required. It’s a victory for easy prep and fewer dishes,!
- Ground Italian Turkey Sausage. The sausage adds zesty flavor and rib-sticking protein. Turkey sausage is super flavorful and much lower in fat than regular pork sausage. You can use spicy Italian sausage or sweet Italian sausage depending upon your and your family’s preferences.
- Onion + Fennel. Onion is classic. Fennel is unexpected and deeply delicious, especially with the sausage. Common in many Italian recipes, fennel gives the soup a note of subtle sweetness. It doesn’t overpower; rather, it will be the somethin’ somethin’ that makes you pause, try to put a finger on what makes this easy tortellini soup special, and then go back for more.
- Tomato Paste + Fire-Roasted Tomatoes. Two of my favorite stealth flavor builders. Both the fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste give the soup a depth that will fool everyone into thinking you spent hours lovingly simmering it on the stove, instead of tossing everything into the slow cooker and walking away. Your secret is safe with me.
- Garlic + Carrots. These two ingredients bring flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits to the soup. Both garlic and carrots are low in calories and rich in vitamins. Carrots bring Vitamin-A and garlic brings Vitamin-C.
- Red Wine Vinegar. A splash makes the soup lively, bright, and balanced. Don’t skip it. (Also adds a pop of acidity to Pasta Fagioli).
- Chicken Broth. The main source of liquid for our tortellini soup.
- Italian Seasoning. A perfect powerhouse of flavor for this slow cooker Tuscan tortellini soup.
- Kale. For added nutritional benefits, I tossed in some kale, just like in my Minestrone Soup. Kale is packed with antioxidants, and it’s high in Vitamin-C. The kale softens and becomes almost imperceptible amongst the other ingredients in the soup. If you prefer, you can make the tortellini soup with spinach instead. (Kale is also the star in this Kale Soup!)
- Parmesan Cheese + Parsley. I suggest topping the soup with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley. You will not regret this move.
- Brown the sausage. Add the onion and fennel, cooking until softened. Add tomato paste and garlic.
- Add all of the ingredients but the kale and tortellini to the slow cooker. Set it on LOW for 3 hours and forget it.
- Stir the kale and tortellini directly into the crock pot with the other ingredients, let cook on LOW until tortellini is al dente.
- Serve, sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley, and enjoy the experience of a hearty, homemade meal that took you fewer than 15 minutes of active effort to prepare!
Tortellini Soup Recipe Variations
Feel free to use this slow cooker soup as a base for other flavor options. Here are a few I have on my list to try:
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tortellini Soup. Omit the sausage, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. If you like, you can stir in a can of rinsed and drained white beans, such as cannellini or great Northern, into the soup for extra protein.
- Tortellini Soup with Spinach. For a cheese tortellini soup with sausage and spinach, swap the kale for several big handfuls of roughly chopped spinach. For a creamy tortellini spinach soup spin, add a splash of half and half at the end.
- Crockpot Creamy Tortellini Soup. For an extra hit of indulgence, stir in a splash of half and half just before serving.
- Easy Spinach Tortellini Soup. Swap the regular cheese tortellini for spinach-stuffed tortellini. (See note above to swap the kale for spinach for a double spinach hit.)
- Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Soup. For chicken tortellini soup, use chicken sausage instead of Italian turkey sausage. You can also skip the sausage altogether and add cooked, shredded chicken into the slow cooker with the sautéed veggies (you can make shredded chicken on the stovetop or try this Crock Pot Shredded Chicken; for the ultimate shortcut, you could even use shredded, store-bought rotisserie chicken). Since sausage has more flavor than shredded chicken, you may want to stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes, black pepper, or even fennel seeds at the end.
Crockpot Tortellini Soup Make Ahead + Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Chop all vegetables up to 2 days in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Place leftover soup in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm the soup in a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth as needed to thin the soup. You can also rewarm this soup in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store tortellini soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Other Cozy Crockpot Soups
- Crockpot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Crockpot Beef Stew
- Crockpot Potato Soup
- Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Crock Pot Tomato Soup
- Crockpot Lasagna Soup
- Or check out all my delicious Crockpot Soups!
Recommended Tools to Make Tortellini Soup
- Slow Cooker. This one is programmable, so you can truly set it and forget it!
- Ladle. The best way to transfer tortellini soup to bowls and storage containers.
- Garlic Press Rocker + Leaf Herb Stripper. This wonderful little tool has multiple functions and comes in handy when prepping this soup.
On a night at home soon, try this easy sausage tortellini soup. It will fill your tummy, and then allow you to fill your evening with the activities that mean the most to you.
Crockpot Tortellini Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground Italian turkey sausage look for it sold ground in a package, or you can also squeeze it from the casings if links are your only option
- 1 large yellow onion chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 large fennel bulb chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste I like to buy the kind in the tube so I can use it for several recipes over time
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 large carrots chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth plus additional as needed
- 1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 4 cups chopped stemmed curly or dinosaur kale about half of an 8- to 10-ounce bunch
- 1 (9-ounce) package Buitoni 3-Cheese Tortellini
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the turkey sausage, onion, fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until it is browned and the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 additional minute.
- Lightly coat the inside of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add the browned sausage mixture. Next, add the carrots, 6 cups chicken broth, diced tomatoes in their juices, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 3 hours, until the carrots are nearly tender.
- Stir in the kale and tortellini. Cover and cook on LOW for 30 additional minutes, or until the kale is wilted and tender and the tortellini is al dente. If your slow cooker runs hot, check the slow cooker a little early to ensure the pasta does not overcook. Stir in the red wine vinegar. If you would like a thinner, brothier soup, stir in additional broth until your desired consistency is reached. Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan and parsley.
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