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Kalyn's Kitchen

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with (or without) Whole Wheat Orzo

I love this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo. If you don’t have orzo, use some broken pieces of whole wheat spaghetti! Or omit the pasta completely for a low-carb and gluten-free soup. Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Italian Sausage and Kale Soup!

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with (or without) Whole Wheat Orzo found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’d probably never heard of Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta in 2010 when I first made this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup using broken pieces of whole wheat spaghetti, but orzo is such a perfect soup ingredient that when I decided to update the recipe with better photos, it seemed like a perfect switch. So now I have to rename the recipe to Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo, don’t I? But no worries if you don’t have orzo (or don’t want to buy it), go ahead and break up some spaghetti into short pieces to add to the soup.

Or if you’re someone who’s wanting to avoid or limit carbs, you could absolutely make a delicious lower-carb soup using this recipe by leaving out the pasta completely. You might want to simmer the soup a bit longer to thicken it if you’re leaving out the pasta.

Sausage, kale, tomatoes, and whole wheat orzo or spaghetti; doesn’t that sound like a combination that could inspire a lot of good recipes? When I updated the photos for this soup, I increased the amount of kale so the soup is even more nutritious, but no matter how you make it, this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup is definitely a winner.

(Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo was updated January 2015 with better photos and instructions.)

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Saute the onions in a heavy pot big enough to hold all the soup, then add garlic, ground fennel, dried basil, and dried oregano and saute a few minutes more. While the onions are cooking, squeeze the turkey Italian sausage out of the casings and brown it in another pan, breaking up with the back of a turner. Deglaze the sausage pan and add that liquid to the soup with the browned sausage, chicken stock, and beef stock and start to simmer.

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Let the soup simmer about 20 minutes while you chop up the kale. Then add the chopped kale and simmer about 20 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes and simmer 20 minutes more. Then add 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo (or broken spaghetti) and simmer about 20 minutes more, or until the pasta is tender. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan to add at the table.

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo (or broken spaghetti) found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Delicious Soups with Kale:

Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup ~ Simply Recipes
Sausage and Red Russian Kale Soup with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Herbs ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Kale Soup ~ Mountain Mama Cooks
Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Tuscan Kale and Chickpea Soup ~ Three Many Cooks

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with (or without) Whole Wheat Orzo

This Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo is a warm meal for a cold day, and delicious too!


  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 1 T + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 5 links sweet Turkey Italian Sausage (about 20 oz.)
  • 8 cups chicken stock (or use 4 cans plus 1/2 cup water)
  • 4 cups beef stock (or use 2 cans plus 1/4 cup water)
  • 5 oz. baby kale or one large bunch of kale
  • 1 can petite dice tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz.)
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta (or broken whole wheat spaghetti pieces)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Heat 1 T olive oil in a heavy pan large enough to hold all the soup; add onion and saute until it starts to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic, ground fennel, dried oregano, and dried basil and saute 1-2 minutes more.
  3. While onions are cooking, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan, then squeeze turkey Italian sausage out of the casing and cook until it’s well browned.
  4. Use the back of the turner to break the sausage apart as it browns. (I like to use an old-fashioned Potato Masher to break the sausage apart.)
  5. Add the chicken stock and beef stock to the onion mixture and start to simmer.
  6. When sausage is well browned, add it to the stock mixture.
  7. Deglaze the sausage pan with 1/2 cup water, scraping off any browned bits in the bottom of the pan, and add that to the soup pot.
  8. Let the stock, sausage, and herb mixture simmer about 20 minutes to build flavor.
  9. While the stock mixture simmers, coarsely chop the baby kale. (For regular kale, cut away the center rib from each kale leaf and discard the rib.
  10. Cut the leaf part of the kale into small pieces and rinse well with cold water.)
  11. After 20 minutes, add kale to the soup pot and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  12. Then add petite diced tomatoes and juice and simmer 20-30 minutes more.
  13. Measure 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta or break whole wheat spaghetti into small pieces and measure until you have 1/2 cup broken spaghetti.
  14. Increase heat slightly so the soup mixture comes to a gentle boil, then add orzo or spaghetti and cook about 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. (If you’d like a lower-carb soup that would also be gluten-free, you can completely omit the orzo.)
  15. Serve soup hot, with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Recipe created by Kalyn.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Made with turkey Italian sausage and whole grain pasta, this Italian Sausage and Kale Soup would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. If you omit the orzo or spaghetti, this would be a delicious low-carb soup, suitable for Phase One of the South Beach Diet and most other low-carb diet plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with (or without) Whole Wheat Orzo  found on KalynsKitchen.com

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34 comments on “Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with (or without) Whole Wheat Orzo”

  1. I love your recipes!! But your website is so overwhelming difficult to navigate with all the ads and pop-ups. Its been awhile since I visited, but I don't remember it being this bad.

    • Can you give me more information because that should not be happening? Are you on a phone or desktop, where were the ads. Also there is a link below the ad that says "Report this ad" which I encourage you to do, there shouldn't be pop-ups.

  2. What a great, hearty, good for you soup. Love the new pictures.

  3. Let's see…No kale but I have chard; no Italian sausage, but I have duck sausage (and fennel), no whole wheat orzo but whole wheat spaghetti….. Yup, I can get close enough. We're having serious soup weather here these days…. Love the photo

  4. What a hearty and satisfying soup! Italian sausage is one of the things my husband misses most (he's on a strict low sodium diet). I have whole wheat spaghetti in my pantry, but now I'm curious about ww orzo – will have to look for it :))

  5. Kristie, so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed it so much!

  6. I made this for my family's annual holiday "everybody bring a pot of soup and bread" party. It was a HUGE hit and was voted the best soup of the night. Thank you for the recipe, it is sooo delicious!

  7. Wendy, it's usually found near the ground turkey. I've tried a few brands, but my favorite is Jenni-O.

  8. Where do you find the Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage? Could you tell me what brand it is? I have never bought it before. Thank you so much for your help 🙂

  9. Yes, ground fennel is just crushed fennel seed. I haven't tried fresh fennel in this, but I'm thinking the fennel flavor is stronger in the seeds. I don't think the fresh fennel would be bad, but I might use some ground fennel as well.

  10. One question: Your recipe said ground fennel–I had fennel seed, so I blended them to a powder. Isn't that what ground fennel is? (I've never used it before!) I looked fennel up, and I wondered how fresh fennel would work. Have you ever used it?

  11. Lolene, you are too kind! So glad it was a hit.

  12. This soup is an instant favorite! I made it today to take to a book club as "mystery soup", since our genre is mysteries tonight. I wanted the guests to guess what the mystery ingredients were. (Also I was going to tell them that it was a mystery to me how it would turn out, since I had never tried this recipe before.)Well, mystery no longer: the soup is DELICIOUS! We all wanted to slick it up before I even had a chance to take it to book club. You are a culinary genius, Kalyn!

  13. There is no wine in this recipe?

  14. looks lovely – and I am interested to see red and white wine in the soup – seems quite unusual – now I am wondering if this was the recipe or if you were using up the dregs 🙂

  15. Bron, I think swiss chard would be great. I'm just about to plant some here!

  16. I often break up spaghetti especially for soups. I wrap it in a teatowel and run it over the edge of the bench a few times – it's very therapeutic! 😉
    Keep these ideas coming Kalyn as this sounds absolutely fantastic to me and totally what I'm craving at this time of year down here. I can't wait to make it, although as I haven't any kale I'll probably substitute Swiss-chard from our garden. xx

  17. April, good idea to use Dreamfields linguini in this. Glad to hear you liked it!

  18. I made this soup last night, it was wonderful! Only changes I made were that I only used chicken stock and for the pasta I used Dreamfields linguine. husband kept going back for seconds. I probably wouldn't have any for leftovers if I didn't hide some in the fridge.

  19. Kate, glad to her it was a hit!

  20. My family really loves soups. Yesterday it rained all day – so I decide to try this soup. It was so good they fought over the drop. I used 1 1/2 lbs. good quality Italian sausage because that's what I had. I used semolina spaghetti, again because that's what I had. I will definitely make this again. Maybe I'll add cannelini beans for extra nutrition.

  21. Would you believe I never once considered using sausage in a soup. It sounds great!

  22. These flavors sound great – I'm a huge fan of whole wheat spaghetti, so I would jump at the chance to work it into another course!

  23. This looks like a terrific recipe, thank you. I like to make homemade whole wheat noodles and think they would work really well in this soup.

  24. Italian sausage manages to weasel its way into many of my dishes. This soup looks chock full of vitamins and flavors. Perfect comfort meal!

  25. It's like a pasta dish but in a deconstructed-ish form! I love the concept.

  26. Italian sausage comes in very handy. Good for almost every type of food. I like it spicy 🙂

  27. oh boy… so much, i am in love with all these ingredients

  28. This is really a great and delicious idea. I will try this recipe for sure!

  29. Brilliant idea to add the broken spaghetti onto the soup! I will for sure be doing this too at some point. Looks delicious

  30. Italian sausage is the workhorse of my kitchen. I use it in everything from pizza and pasta, to soups. Love it!

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