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  • Writer's pictureRock Rousseau

Italian Christmas Tortellini Soup

Updated: May 25, 2020

Bring the colors and warmth of the holidays right into your favorite soup bowl. Italian sausage, garlic, onion, bacon, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, spinach, and tortellini - this soup combines flavorful and colorful ingredients from an Italian kitchen that will warm you from the inside out. Perfect for tailgating or football games out in the snow! You can use sweet or hot sausage, depending on your tastes, and fresh herbs if you have them on hand. It’s the perfect cold weather soup-- it's healthy, delicious, and it's freezer friendly!

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced

  • 2 TBSN garlic, minced

  • 164 oz Chicken broth (Vegans: Use Vegetable Broth)

  • 2 TBSN Italian seasonings

  • 10 oz. cheese tortellini

  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes, drained

  • 6-8 ounces fresh baby spinach

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • (Optional) 1 lb. ground Italian sausage

  • (Optional) 4 ounces bacon, finely diced

large pot or Dutch oven, mixing spoon, measuring spoons, measuring cups, colander

Prep: 10 minutes prep

Cook: 30 minutes on stove top   Ready: 40 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Before you handle any food, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Clean your kitchen work area and pull back your hair or wear a cap. You want to avoid contaminating your meal with harmful bacteria that could cause food illness.  

To make Italian Christmas Tortellini Soup:

1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.

2. Add diced bacon  and cook  for a couple minutes until crisp. 

3. Add sliced onions and stir; cook 3-4 minutes until translucent. 

4. Add minced garlic and stir; cook 1 minute longer.

5. Add chicken broth and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. While the soup is simmering, cook both the ground sausage and tortellini according to package directions; drain. Add cooked tortellini and sausage to soup mixture.

7. Stir in diced tomatoes; simmer for 5 minutes longer. 

8. Add spinach; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

9. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

1 serving: 530 calories, 25 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 80 mg cholesterol, 2250 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate (5 g sugars, 5 g fiber), 25 g protein. 

Spinach is very low in calories and fats (100 g of raw leaves provide just 23 calories). Also, its leaves hold a good amount of soluble dietary fiber. Fresh 100 g of spinach contains about 25% of daily intake of iron, one of the highest for any green leafy vegetables. Iron is an essential trace element required by the human body for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for an oxidation-reduction enzyme, cytochrome oxidase during the cellular metabolism. Fresh leaves are a rich source of several vital antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-A, vitamin-C, and flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a healing role in aging and various disease processes. Vitamin-A is required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin and is essential for night vision. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids are also known to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Spinach leaves are an excellent source of vitamin-K. 100 g of fresh greens provides 402% of daily vitamin-K requirements. Vitamin-K plays a vital role in strengthening the bone mass by promoting osteoblastic activity in the bones. Additionally, it also has an established role in patients with Alzheimer's disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain. This green leafy vegetable also contains good amounts of many B-complex vitamins such as vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, folates, and niacin. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the newborns.

The health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of nutrients and vitamins. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, tomatoes contain an impressive amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as significant amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and thiamine.  They are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They have dietary fiber and protein, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that contribute to their health benefits. Tomatoes are rich sources of antioxidants that have been proven to be effective against many forms of cancer. 

Tomato contains a large amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that is highly effective in scavenging cancer-causing free radicals. This benefit can even be obtained from heat-processed tomato products like ketchup. The lycopene in tomatoes defends against cancer and has been shown to be effective in fighting prostate cancer. It also protects against breast, cervical cancer, cancer of the stomach and rectum as well as pharynx, esophageal and mouth cancer. A single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement. [1] Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which prevents cancer-causing free radicals from damaging the body’s systems. It also contains abundant vitamin A and potassium, as well as iron. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining nerve health and iron is essential for maintaining normal blood circulation. Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and controlling bleeding, is also abundant in tomatoes. The lycopene in tomatoes prevents serum lipid oxidation, thus exerting a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. [6] A regular consumption of tomatoes or tomato juice decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

 Cheese tortellini and Italian sausage pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Veggie Celebration Tortellini Soup

Replace Chicken Broth with Vegetable Broth. Replace sausage and bacon with diced mushrooms and red pepper.  

Keto Tortellini Soup

Replace cheese tortellini with beef or sausage tortellini. 

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