Creamy Tortellini Soup

This 5-star tortellini soup is lusciously creamy! It’s easy and under 30 minutes, with big flavor from tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan.

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Here’s a soup that will make people come flocking and might result in a few marriage proposals: this creamy tortellini soup! This is one for the books. You can make it in under 30 minutes, and the flavor that results is simply killer. Tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and cream make a lusciously flavored broth that floats with doughy orbs of tortellini. In fact, we put down our spoons in amazement at first bite. Then I made a mental note to put it on the regular rotation…stat.

Love tortellini? Also try this tomato and basil Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara.

Ingredients in tortellini soup

There are many ways to make a tortellini soup. A traditional Italian way to serve it is called tortellini en brodo, where the filled pasta floats in a simple broth. For our spin, we went for a tomato-basil-meets-tortellini vibe, where a creamy tomato broth provides the backdrop for the delightful doughy pasta. Here’s what you’ll need for this Italian soup:

  • Tortellini
  • Onion and garlic
  • Crushed fire roasted tomatoes: Fire roasted is key! See the section below.
  • Tomato paste
  • Vegetable broth
  • Olive oil and salt
  • Dried oregano and dried basil
  • Spinach
  • Fresh basil
  • Heavy cream or substitute whole milk
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
Tortellini soup

Find fire roasted tomatoes if you can!

Fire roasted tomatoes are key to getting just the right flavor in this tortellini soup. If you’ve been around for a while, you know we cook with them often. What are they and why are they so special?

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a type of canned tomato that’s cooked over an open flame before canning. It makes the flavor beautifully sweet out of the can, instead of acidic like many canned tomato varieties. It’s a cooking method, not a brand!
  • Where to get them? This type of tomatoes are becoming pretty easy to find in grocery stores in the US; they’re sold by several brands. Look in the canned tomatoes section.
  • What if you can’t find them? Substitute the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.

What makes it a creamy tortellini soup…and a substitute

Our recipes are generally on the healthy side, so you won’t often see us cooking with heavy cream. But there are always exceptions, right? And this creamy tortellini soup is one of them. Why cook with cream here? It adds an intense richness, depth, and body of the soup that just can’t be replicated by 2% milk. Worried about using cream, though?

You can use whole milk or half and half instead as a substitute! How do they compare? Well, heavy cream is 36% milkfat, whereas half and half is 10% and whole milk is 3%. So these types of dairy have significantly less fat than heavy cream. Pick whatever seems right for you!

Tortellini soup

Tortellini soup variations for any diet: vegetarian, vegan & more

This recipe is a vegetarian tortellini soup: assuming you use tortellini with no meat! It’s one of those recipes you wouldn’t think of being vegetarian…because it’s so packed with flavor. People of any diet love this one (promise!). You can also make it vegan, or add Italian sausage for meat eaters. Here are a few options:

  • Vegetarian tortellini soup: This is already vegetarian: just use a cheese or spinach ravioli!
  • Vegan tortellini soup: Buy vegan tortellini: there are some great brands out there these days! Then substitute Cashew Cream for the heavy cream and Parmesan.
  • Gluten free tortellini soup: Use gluten free tortellini. Again, there are some great options out there these days.
  • Sausage tortellini soup: Cook 1 pound Italian sausage in the pan until browned, about 3 minutes, draining the fat as necessary. Then make the remaining soup, using slightly less salt.

Let us know your favorite gluten free or vegan tortellini brands in the comments below! We’d love to know your recommendations.

Tortellini soup

Make it a meal: side ideas!

This tortellini soup is delicious and satisfying, but not quite filling enough on its own to be a meal. We’d suggest pairing it with a salad or grilled cheese to make a full meal. Here are some ideas:

Storage, reheating and make ahead tips

This tortellini soup is best hot from the stove! But if you have leftovers or want to make it ahead, we’ve got some tips.

  • Store leftovers refrigerated, noting that the pasta soaks up the broth. The pasta soaks up even more of the broth when you refrigerate, so it can become very thick. You may want to add a splash of water when reheating.
  • Make the soup ahead without the tortellini. If you make it ahead, make it without the tortellini and refrigerate. Then heat it up and cook the tortellini right before serving. 

This tortellini soup recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free or vegan, see variations above.

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Tortellini soup

Creamy Tortellini Soup (30 minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.58 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This 5-star tortellini soup is lusciously creamy! It’s easy and under 30 minutes, with big flavor from tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28-ounce fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach (or chopped standard spinach), packed
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves (about 6 to 8 large leaves)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half or whole milk)*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated tortellini, any flavor

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 to 6 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. 
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, herbs and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 8 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the spinach, basil leaves, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Bring to simmer and add the tortellini. Cook according to the package instructions: about 2 to 3 minutes for refrigerated and 3 to 5 minutes for frozen. Taste and add additional salt as desired (we added another 1/4 teaspoon). Serve immediately.
  5. Make ahead and storage: Store leftovers refrigerated. The pasta does soak up quite a bit of the broth, so you may want to add a splash of water when reheating. If you make it ahead, we recommend making the soup without the tortellini; then heat it up and cook the pasta right before serving. 

Notes

*Vegan variation: use vegan tortellini and substitute 1/2 cup Cashew Cream for the heavy cream and Parmesan, adding more to taste as desired.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Tortellini soup, creamy tortellini soup

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Ewa
    February 25, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Love your recipes. The soup is delish but I substitute milk with coconut milk and it is better for me.

  • Reply
    Ramya
    February 26, 2021 at 5:28 am

    will be making this and cashew cream soon i love pasa sooooooooo much perfect for hot and raining days in Singapore Thanks Ramya

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