Easy to make and wonderfully cozy, this Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Soup is full of veggies and high in protein. It has similar flavors to the classic favorite Tuscan Chicken but in a healthy soup that’s perfect for family dinners. This recipe is also great to meal prep for your lunches during the workweek because it reheats so well.
After many requests for more creamy soups, I’m back with another one! We started with my creamy Chicken Broccoli Soup and today I have another cozy option inspired by Italian flavors.
You’ll find several shortcuts below in the tips section for how to make this recipe even faster. But even if you prep everything from scratch, it’s very easy to make.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Italian sausage – I like to use mild Italian sausage, but you can also use spicy if you enjoy a little heat. Bulk Italian sausage is the easiest for soup, but if yours comes in casings, simply remove the casings before sautéing the sausage.
- Butternut squash – diced up and simmered until tender for a touch of sweetness and another veggie. You can also use peeled diced sweet potatoes or any other orange-fleshed squash you enjoy, like kabocha.
- Italian seasoning – is a simple way to add lots of flavor to the soup, and Italian seasoning in particular really compliments these flavors.
- Onion & Garlic – make up a good base of flavor for any soup!
- White beans – Navy beans, Cannellini beans, and Great Northern beans all work here. I used canned beans for convenience, but if you cook your own as part of meal prepping, they will work as well.
- Diced tomatoes – I like to use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for more flavor, but you can use regular ones if you can’t find them. Just be sure to check the labels to make sure you don’t end up with fire-roasted tomatoes with other ingredients like chilis added!
- Kale – or chopped baby spinach both work in this soup. I used the dark green kale called Lacinato, but regular curly-leaf kale works well too.
- Chicken broth – look for low-sodium chicken broth so you can add salt to your taste. If you have Homemade Chicken Stock made, definitely use that because the flavor is unbeatable.
- Cream – I’ve used both heavy whipping cream and coconut cream in this soup and they’re both good. I haven’t tested it with my Cashew Cream Sauce, but it would work as another dairy-free option.
- Thickener – either cornstarch or tapioca starch both work really well in this soup. You can also leave it out altogether for a thinner soup.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 3: Then sauté the Italian sausage over high heat breaking it up into small bite-sized bits. When the sausage is broken up, add the onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the onion begins to turn from bright white to opaque.
Step 4: Add the butternut squash, diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed white beans, and chicken stock.
Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the butternut is tender about 15 minutes.
Step 5: While the soup is simmering, wash and remove the stems from the kale, then thinly slice it.
Step 6: When the butternut squash is tender, add the thinly sliced kale to the soup and stir to combine.
From here you can season to taste and serve as is or proceed with the creamy options.
Step 7: If you love creamy soups as we do, it’s time to add heavy whipping cream or coconut cream for dairy free. Stir to combine, season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and serve.
Ways to serve this
- Any kind of crusty bread or biscuit is a natural paring of this soup, although it holds its own just as it is.
- Add a side salad with my Apple Spinach Salad or my Caesar Salad without the grilled chicken.
- Serve a homey dessert like my Healthy No Bake Cookies or the Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars. My mom often served a dessert after a light meal like soup and we always looked forward to it.
Peeled and diced sweet potatoes will work well in place of the diced butternut squash. You can also use any orange fleshed squash or hard squash you’d like. Kabocha is a nice choice as well.
Yes, the peel is quite tough and it’s better to peel it away with a sharp vegetable peeler before dicing it up.
Both cornstarch and tapioca starch work well to thicken a thin soup. You want to mix a few tablespoons together with water until smooth, then add it to your simmering soup stirring well until it’s the right amount of thickness. You’ll find exact measurements in the recipe for this Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Soup.
- To store – place any leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- Make ahead – you can make this soup ahead and reheat it when you’re ready to serve it. Just remember the leftovers won’t keep as long if you make it ahead. You also want to make sure it cools quickly, so place it in smaller containers and spread it around in the fridge to cool as quickly as possible. If it’s cold enough, I use my garage or the inside of my grill to quickly cool down my food without taking up space in the fridge!
- Reheating – place any leftovers into a saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring until heated through.
- To freeze – This soup freezes ok, the butternut squash thaws a bit mushy and mealy, but everything else freezes well. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating as directed above.
Dietary Options & Substitutions
- Dairy-free – be sure to check the labels for the Italian sausage you buy, some brands contain cheese. Also, use the coconut cream option. Kite hill cream cheese would be another great creamy option here for dairy free. Check the Italian seasoning as well, surprisingly it sometimes has dairy added to it. Look for a brand that has just herbs in it.
- Paleo – like dairy free, but be sure to check the labels closely and use the coconut cream option. You’ll also want to leave out the beans. You’ll have a bit less soup, but it will taste fine without the beans.
I really hope you enjoy this Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Soup! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 pound Italian sausage - mild, bulk
- 1 onion - fine dice
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 small butternut squash - diced 1/2"-3/4" cubes, 5 cups, 2 pounds
- 14 ounces diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 14 ounce can white beans - Cannellini, Great Northern, Navy, drained and rinsed
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 piece parmesan rind - 4"x2" optional to add for flavor
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream - or unsweetened coconut cream
- 4 cups kale - stems remove and thinly sliced, 6 large leaves
- 2 tbsp cornstarch - or tapioca mixed together with 3 tbsp water
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Start by prepping the ingredients. Then preheat a large pot over medium high heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add the Italian sausage and break it up into small bite sized pieces.
- When the sausage is broken up, add the onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cook just until the onion begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cubed butternut squash, fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed white beans, and chicken stock.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the butternut squash is tender, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes.
- When the butternut squash is tender, add the kale and simmer 1-2 minutes or until tender.
- Add the heavy cream or coconut cream and stir to combine. Remove the parmesan rind if you're using it and season the soup to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- If you'd like to thicken the soup, mix the cornstarch together with just enough water to be smooth.
- Then drizzle the cornstarch mixture into the simmering soup stirring well. Add the mixture just until your desired consistency is reached and serve.