I love a good, hearty soup this time of year. There’s no better way to warm up from the inside out, and if you choose the right recipe you can easily pack in nutrition at the same time.
And while I enjoy a good noodle soup, I often try to avoid pasta because it’s not the most nutrient dense food around. But I find noodle-free varieties to either be thick and calorie-laden or thin and lacking in comfort.
What’s a girl to do? I want a non-cream-based soup that’s relatively healthy without noodles but still satisfying.
You guys. I found a recipe online for a sausage and orzo soup and tweaked it a bit to meet my needs. And what I came up with was a savory, satisfying, broth-based soup with the comfort I craved.
Italian Sausage Soup with Quinoa and Spinach (wheat-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free)
- 1 lb Italian pork or chicken sausage, rolled into small balls (I used Isernio’s)
- 6 cups chicken broth (low-sodium is best if it’s not homemade)
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed
- ½ red onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 15-oz cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 Tb Italian seasoning
- 1 Tb oregano (dried)
- 1 Tb cooking oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage meatballs and roll them around so they brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pot.
- Add the onion and celery and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and oregano. Taste and season as necessary.
- Bring to a boil and add the quinoa*.
- Cook for 7 minutes, add the cooked sausage meatballs and continue boiling for another 8 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped spinach at the end and allow it to wilt.
- Season to taste.
*If you’re not well-acquainted with quinoa, it is delicious. But if you don’t rinse it well, it’s not. So make sure you rinse it well or else your soup will take on a bitter flavor.