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Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup is a hearty, vegetable-loaded soup with super flavorful Italian-seasoned sausage and lots of orzo pasta. It’s lightly creamy and completely comforting on chilly evenings, without sending your healthy eating plan off the rails.

Three bowls of Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

One of the things I love about soup is that it’s such a vegetable-friendly dish: almost no matter the soup, it’s easy to add — sneak, even, if you have vegetable avoiders in your household — lots of vegetables without making anyone feel like they’ve gone rabbit for the winter.

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup is no exception.

Even though no vegetables appear in the name of the recipe (sneaky!), there are loads within, including onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, and leafy spinach greens.

The vegetables serve dual purpose, releasing both their flavorful essences and nutrition into the soup, while hanging out quietly in the background of the soup’s final texture. And a vegetable-heavy soup helps us feel great about our healthier eating goals.

Steps for making Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

How to cook the soup and build flavors

This soup gets its complex flavors by building them in layers, one by one. It doesn’t add a lot of extra time, and the result is very worth it.

First, you brown the sausage and let it render its fat.

Next — and I love this part — deglaze the pot with a generous pour of red wine.

For a few moments there, the heady fragrance of sausage and wine will make you want to stop right there and go at it with a fork. But don’t, lol. The soup is worth waiting for.

Remember to use a wine that you like to drink. Not top shelf, but good quality. Or, if you don’t like the taste of wine, like me, keep a bottle of something decent in your pantry, just for this purpose (no “cooking wine,” please).

Then, saute the aromatic vegetables, and set the assembled soup to a simmer.

Can you use something besides Italian sausage?

Yes! I found a lovely Italian-seasoned chicken sausage this weekend at Whole Foods, which was quite delicious in the tortellini soup I cooked up last night.

I’m also quite fond of the Impossible Burger vegetarian meat substitute. Buy the 12 ounce brick, and saute it up just as you would sausage. Sprinkle a teaspoon of Italian herb blend seasoning, deglaze the pot with the wine, and you’re good to go. They’re releasing a sausage version soon that I’m excited to try!

So, if you’re cutting down on red meat and pork, know that there are good options out there that are still delicious in this soup.

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup in a white Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

It’s all such a lovely, orderly process, that even if you’re cooking averse, there’s a symmetry to soup-making that’s both relaxing and energizing.

I’m an avid home cook, and I love creating all kinds of dishes, but soup is a comfort zone: on evenings when I’m tired, or just plain out of ideas, I reach automatically for the soup pot.

By the end of it all, the day’s tensions have slipped away, and I feel content and accomplished. I don’t know the reason, but homemade soup does that to you.

Three bowls of Italian Sausage Orzo Soup with a side of sliced French baguette

I think it’s also worth noting that Italian Sausage Orzo Soup is just beautiful in the bowl. It’s a very chefy thing to quote the oft-used adage, “You eat with your eyes first,” but there’s no denying the human response that is strongly attracted to foods we find visually appealing.

I would argue that we actually eat with our noses first — who doesn’t swoon at the scent of coffee brewing or breakfast sizzling, even as we are still rubbing the sleepies from our eyes. But, no need to split hairs.

Food is visceral and tightly tied to memory, place, and emotions. We’re hard-wired react to food, good or bad, like nothing else.

Whether your an eyes or a nose person, this is a soup you’ll be proud to serve, and happy to dig into.

Karen xo

Overhead view of Italian Sausage Orzo Soup in a white Dutch oven.
Print Recipe
4.74 from 23 votes

Italian Sausage Orzo Soup

A hearty, vegetable-loaded soup with super flavorful Italian sausage and lots of orzo pasta. It’s lightly creamy and completely comforting on chilly evenings.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: italian sausage orzo, italian sausage orzo soup
Servings: 4
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces mild Italian sausage (remove from casings if using links)
  • 1/4 cup red wine,
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 leek, chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots, about 1 medium
  • 1/2 cup diced celery, about 2 ribs
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb blend
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or seasoned salt
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, sliced chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
  • flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish


  • Heat the oil in a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Crumble the sausage into the pot, and saute, breaking up clumps, until browned (about 5 minutes). Pour in a splash of wine, and deglaze the pan.
  • Add the onions, leeks, carrots, celery, zucchini, and garlic to the pot. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining wine, tomato paste, herbs, and salt and stir until the wine reduces/gets absorbed into the mixture.
  • Add the can of diced tomatoes with its liquids, and the chicken broth. Increase heat to bring the soup to a light boil, then reduce to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Cover partially with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • While the soup simmers, prepare the orzo in a small pot, according to package directions. Drain, and add to soup.
  • Add the spinach leaves and dairy, and mix well. The spinach slivers will quickly wilt, as they should.
  • Top the soup with a sprinkling of the grated cheese and parsley.

Recipe Video

Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 15th of May 2024

This is SOUPER delish! I have made it multiple times to rave reviews and requests for the recipe. The depth of flavor is impressive and so satisfying. Cannot say enough good about this recipe. It easily made it to my "best of" list! Many thanks!!

Karen - SoupAddict

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Thanks, fellow Karen. I really appreciate you taking the time to feedback and I’m so happy you enjoyed it!


Sunday 26th of February 2023



Saturday 25th of February 2023

This is the best soup! Been making it for the last few months now. Love the flavours and how easy it is to make. THANK YOU for the recipe!

Anne W

Tuesday 16th of February 2021

I never rate recipes, but this was amazing! My super picky husband even loved it. Yum!

TaNisha Harris

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

My family and i tried this today and it was a major hit. I will prepare this again!! It was the first time I ever had this kind of soup. I hated veggies growing up but i'm trying to expand my view on foods.