This Chicken Tortellini Soup is the perfect one dish, weeknight dinner. Loaded with juicy chunks of chicken, tender tortellini, veggies and a bit of sausage, this soup is sure to please the entire family! Oh and best news, it can be prepped in less than 30 minutes!
Here’s a yummy recipe that puts a rich and creative spin on everyone’s favorite soup – chicken noodle.
This isn’t the old, trusted standby your mom served when you were sick or needing something to warm your insides after a cold day. Tortellini is the star in this dish, subbing in for plain egg noodles and bringing with it lots of extra flavor and heartiness.
The creative (sneaky) addition of greens packs the soup with texture and extra “good for you” stuff that will pass the test of even the pickiest eaters. Kids of all ages can’t get enough!
One of my favorite things about the soup is how quickly it comes together. Chicken Tortellini Soup is an easy and delicious choice for a weeknight meal or a busy weekend thanks to a simple ingredient list of things you’re likely to already have on hand.
Like chili and other hearty soups and stews, the flavors in this dish continue to marry in the refrigerator, making it even better the next day. I usually make extra for some welcomed leftovers, but if you only like your pasta al dente, you might want to skip the “extra” since the pasta, and the greens, will soften over time.
Another thing I love about this Chicken Tortellini Soup is the versatility.
First, you can name your protein – pick your favorite or whatever is handy in your refrigerator. I typically use chicken and sausage for a hearty and interesting dish, combining tender, mild chunks of chicken with some smoky company, but feel free to just use one or the other as well.
My family likes things on the mild side, so I generally use a smoked kielbasa. It’s got great flavor, full of garlic and a touch of cloves, and is readily available in most super markets. You can also experiment with a low-fat, turkey option that makes the soup a bit healthier without sacrificing any of the flavor.
If you’d like to spice things up New Orleans-style, try using Andouille. It has a similar texture to kielbasa, with a little less smoke and a lot more paprika, giving it the added bonus of warming up your taste buds.
If you’re looking for a European flair, transform the soup with an Italian twist. Use either a spicy or sweet Italian sausage instead of the kielbasa, and make a version of this chicken tortellini soup with tomatoes and a little fresh basil for garnish.
Second, you can experiment with different greens. Spinach imparts a mild flavor to the soup, but for a more complex flavor profile try using kale or Swiss chard. The latter two will hold up particularly well in the soup if you’re opting to double the recipe for leftovers.
To make a creamy chicken tortellini soup, you can omit the Parmesan and stir in 1 cup of cream for an extra rich and elegant dish. Before you know it, you’ll have created your own favorite version of this chicken tortellini soup Food Network-chef style!
Whether you use the recipe as-written or put your own spin on it, all you’ll need to round out this satisfying (and impressive!) dinner winner is some crusty bread and a green salad. I suggest keeping this Chicken Tortellini Soup recipe handy, since anyone you share it with will want a copy!
Chicken: This recipe calls for cooked chicken, and I often make it a rotisserie chicken tortellini soup if I have one to use. Leftover chicken is a great option, too. If you need to cook your own for this dish, you can also poach 2-3 boneless chicken breasts and use them. Here’s how:
- Place 3 boneless chicken breasts in a single layer in a saucepan.
- Pour in enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Add 2 teaspoons salt.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. As soon as the water boils, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and turn off the heat completely.
- Allow the chicken to sit in the liquid undisturbed (don’t lift the lid or you’ll ruin the magic) for 18-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
- Chicken is done when the thickest part registers 165 degrees with an instant thermometer.
Tortellini: Experiment with the tortellini to make this recipe even more versatile. You can use any flavor you like – spinach, chicken, cheese, or even mushroom. If you have specific dietary restrictions, you can also find gluten-free and dairy-free options.
General: A note about leftovers – The chicken spinach tortellini soup will thicken if it sits any length of time, so have extra broth available to thin the dish if you’re making it early in the day or planning on leftovers (Better than Bouillon comes in handy here).
Crockpot: If you’re really strapped for time, the dish can come together in a crockpot while you manage the daily chaos. To create a slow cooker cheese tortellini soup, simply brown the sausage and sauté the aromatic veggies as the recipe directs, then put everything except the pasta and spinach into the slow cooker for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Add the tortellini and spinach about 18 to 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve (the slow cooker should be on high for this part) to make sure the pasta retains that al-dente texture.
Better Than Bouillon: If you’re a regular reader here, you know I often recommend using Better Than Bouillon in my recipes. It’s simply a quick and flavorful alternative to making your own stock and/or an easy way to improve the flavor of a store-bought broth or stock. I LOVE homemade chicken stock, but let’s face it, it’s not something I always have time for. Especially for a weeknight meal. It’s easy to adjust the intensity by mixing in a little more or less based on your preferences and salt tolerance. When Cook’s Illustrated agrees with you, you can’t be wrong!
Aromatics: Do I need to sauté the vegetables? Yes. Subtle layers of flavor are the hallmark of a good soup or stew, and those only evolve when the ingredients are brought together in just the right way. Skipping this step can mean underdeveloped flavors and even undercooked vegetables. Science backs me up on this.
- Yield: Serves 6
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Olive Oil-Divided - 4 Tablespoon
- Smoked Kielbasa Sausage, Thinly Sliced - 12 Ounces
- Yellow Onion, Chopped - 1 Large
- Cloves Garlic, Minced - 4-6
- Carrots, Chopped Into 1/2 Inch Pieces - 6
- Celery Stalks, Chopped Into 1/2 Inch Pieces - 4
- Black Pepper - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Red Pepper Flakes - 1/4 Teaspoon
- Dried Thyme Leaves - 1 Teaspoon
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth - 96 Ounces (Plus More for Leftovers)
- Dried Bay Leaves - 2
- Better than Bouillon~Chicken Flavor - 2 Tablespoon
- Cooked Chicken, Chopped - 2 Cups
- Tortellini - 2 (9 Ounce) Package
- Fresh Baby Spinach - 2 Cups
- Italian Parsely, Roughly Chopped, Optional - 1/2 Cup
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot, over medium heat, until it begins to shimmer. Add Kielbasa and brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the stockpot and heat over medium heat, until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soften but not browned, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the sausage back to the stock pot. Add in the chicken broth, bay leaves, and Better than Bouillion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add the chicken, tortellini and simmer just until pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes. Stir in the baby spinach. Ladle into bowl and garnish with parsely and serve.