Orzo Butternut Squash and Spinach Soup is the perfect one-pot comfort food for fall! Loaded with hearty ingredients like sausage and white beans, this cozy soup will have you ready for the cold weather!
We love soups loaded with all the good stuff! With veggies, meat, beans and pasta, my mom would have called this a "stick to your bones" soup in the 80's. It's packed with nutrients, and a pot simmering away on the stove just makes you feel good!
If you love all things butternut squash this season, check out this Creamy Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sausage and Kale, Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup with Lentils and Coconut, and this Maple Butternut Squash Carrot Soup.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This vegetable orzo soup is full of healthy ingredients, including protein, greens, and lots of butternut squash, making it a well rounded dinner!
- Italian Sausage - I used bulk mild sweet Italian sausage for this recipe, but you can use any you like. I only used half a pound, which seemed like plenty. Extra sausage can be frozen and used in this Baked Tortellini or browned for a topping on Homemade Pizza.
- Onion and Garlic - The aromatic base flavors for the soup.
- Butternut Squash - We love butternut squash in the fall and winter! It's so nutritious and gives this soup its beautiful orange color. I used one whole smaller squash for this recipe. If you cube up more than 4 cups, the extra can be kept in the fridge for 2 days or be frozen. You can also use precut squash from the store, just cube it into bite sized pieces if it's too big.
- Salt and Pepper - Super simple seasonings here, the sausage is also heavily seasoned so not much is needed.
- Chicken Stock - You can use store-bought or Homemade Chicken Stock. And if your soup gets too thick, you can always thin it out with a bit of water. Vegetable stock could also be substituted.
- White Beans - This butternut squash and white bean soup is super hearty and packed with protein. The white beans also give the broth a creamy consistency, even though the soup is dairy free. You can use any kind of white beans you like, great norther, navy or cannellini.
- Orzo Pasta - That tiny rice shaped pasta is so nice to throw into soups! You could also substitute small shells or ditalini, which is what I use for Pasta Fagioli Soup.
- Fresh Spinach - A big handful of greens just takes a few seconds to wilt into the soup. I used about half a box, so 2 or 3 ounces, but you could easily add as much or as little as you like. This spinach orzo soup could also be substituted with kale, something to give it that green pop of color.
- Fresh Sage or Thyme - I always like to finish soups with a bit of fresh herbs for garnish. Sage or thyme add great warmth of flavor to compliment the sausage and squash.
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1 - Prepare your Vegetables - Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut off the ends (freeze them for homemade chicken stock!), and remove the seed cavity with a spoon or portion scoop.
You'll want to chop the squash in small cubes to be bite sized, about ½ inch. Cut the squash in slices, then stack the slices and cut into strips, and then cubes.
Dice your onion and mince the garlic.
Step 2 - Cook the Sausage, Squash and Onion in a large soup pot. Keep the veggies separated from the sausage as best you can. This will allow the sausage to be in contact with the hot pot so that it can brown nicely.
Break it up with a wooden spoon while occasionally giving the squash and onion a stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3 - Add the Garlic when the sausage has fully browned and cooked through. You can stir it all together at this point, letting the garlic cook for just another minute.
Step 4 - Add the Stock, Beans and Orzo - Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer about 10 to 15 minutes until the orzo is cooked through.
Give it an occasional stir so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom.
Step 5 - Add the Spinach - When the pasta is cooked through, the soup is ready. Stir in the greens, they will wilt into the soup in a few seconds, and it's ready to serve.
Step 6 - Garnish with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese shavings. I like to use a vegetable peeler to peel big pieces from a block of Parmesan, then crumble them over each bowl.
- Storage - Store extra Orzo Butternut Squash Soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a bit of water when reheating, the soup will thicken as it cools.
- Freezer - You can freeze this soup for up to 4 months, although the pasta may make the soup a bit mushy when reheating. If you do freeze it, thaw it overnight in the fridge and add a little water when reheating.
- Spinach - Add as much or as little spinach as you like. You can keep the leaves whole or give them a rough chop if you want smaller pieces.
- Step by Step - The most important thing to keep in mind with this recipe is finishing one step completely before moving on to the next. Make sure the sausage is fully browned and cooked through before adding the liquid. You can't go back! Make sure the pasta is done before adding the spinach.
What to Serve with this Soup
This butternut squash bean soup is a complete meal on it's own! It's great with crusty bread with butter and Parmesan cheese.
Butternut squash can vary greatly in size. The best thing to do is peel and cube the entire squash, then measure out 4 cups for this recipe. If you're very close to 4 cups, like 4.5 or 5, you can throw it all in. The rest can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for another use.
Yes, you can definitely make this soup without the pasta. It will be plenty hearty without it, and will also make it gluten-free.
If you have sausage links, I would simply remove the casings and use it like ground sausage. If you have leftover already cooked links, you could chop them and use them in this soup. Follow the recipe the same, you just won't need to do the initial saute for quite as long.
More Favorite Soups
If you made this recipe, I'd love to hear how you liked it! Be sure to leave a star rating by clicking the stars in the recipe card, or leave a comment below!
Butternut Squash Sausage Soup with White Beans and Spinach
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- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ pound bulk Italian sausage mild
- 1 onion chopped (1 cup)
- 4 cups butternut squash cubed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 grinds fresh black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 15 oz cans white beans drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup orzo pasta
- 2 to 3 ounces fresh spinach a large handful
- fresh sage or thyme to garnish
- Prepare the vegetables. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut off the ends, and remove the seed cavity with a spoon or portion scoop. Chop the squash in small bite sized cubes, about ½ inch. Cut the squash in slices, then stack the slices and cut into strips, and then cubes. Dice your onion and mince the garlic.
- Preheat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the sausage to one half of the pot and the onion and squash to the other. Season the squash side with salt and pepper. Cook about 15 to 18 minutes, breaking up the sausage until it is fully browned and stirring the squash and onions so they soften. Try to keep them separated as best you can, this will make it easier to brown the sausage.
- When the sausage is fully cooked, add the garlic and cook another minute. Everything can now be mixed together.
- Add the chicken stock, beans, and uncooked dry orzo pasta. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot, and stir occasionally. Continue to cook about 10 to 15 minutes until the pasta is done.
- Add the spinach, taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with fresh sage, Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
- Don't stir the sausage too often as it's browning. Keeping it in contact with the hot pot is what will help it caramelize and get brown and crispy.
- Make sure the sausage is fully browned before adding the liquid.
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel big pieces from a block of Parmesan cheese. Then crumble the peelings over each bowl.