Sicilian Sausage Soup

A hearty and warming gluten-free soup, perfect for pre-trick or treating.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I had this soup at a local restaurant, thought about making my own even better and checked on line what people thought Sicilian sausage soup should be. Most used pasta. And I felt rough the day after having this supposedly gluten free soup.

Feel free to play with the recipe. The more you add the thicker, less is thinner. Note that I ask for the vegetables to be finely chopped.  That’s because I like to have a selection of vegetables etc on my spoon. However, if you decide to chop your vegetables in the food processor, take care or your vegetables will be far too finely chopped. There is a difference in taste from different tomatoes, pasta sauces, Italian sausage, nothing bad, just different. I made this first time with quinoa as I’d run out of arborio rice.  Both go really soft when cooked in soup.  Cook arborio rice separately if you want rice to be firmer.

Remember that quinoa plus spinach or kale and veg etc are all high in fiber and can put your body into overdrive.  You have not been cross contaminated.  When you cook rice, quinoa or pasta in soup, you need more water as they all absorb water as they cook.  If you have leftover cooked rice etc to add at the end, then use 2 cups less stock. Remember that left in the fridge the rice etc will absorb more liquid and soup will be thicker.

Gluten-Free Sicilian Sausage Soup 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 lb (500g) bulk gluten-free Italian sausage, sweet, hot, with fennel or turkey. They all taste different. You can also buy raw sausages, slice open and peel like a banana
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs/stalk of celery, washed, quartered lengthwise and cut into small slices.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1″ squares
  • 2 cups (16 fl oz, 480 ml) gluten-free marinara/pasta sauce. Both Paesana, Classico and Barilla sell 24 oz jars labeled gluten-free. I like Paesana low sodium Marinara as the salt doesn’t catch the back of my throat, but Classico or Barilla are much cheaper, or you can use homemade marinara. Some recipes use just canned tomatoes.
  • 1/2 c arborio rice, quinoa or small gluten-free pasta
  • 6 c (48 fl oz, 1440 ml), gluten-free chicken stock, or beef stock for deeper flavor
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Italian herb seasoning, or fresh basil and parsley added at the end of cooking, or spoonful of basil or sundried tomato pesto stirred in at end
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika or Arizona dreaming spice (from Penzeys), they add just a bite of heat, increase if you like spicy or use hot Italian
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 c (4 oz, 112g) fresh spinach, or same quantity by weight of chopped frozen spinach. I keep 1lb bag of loose, chopped frozen spinach in the freezer and can add it by the handful. Or kale or Swiss chard, your choice. This is a good time to use up the fresh spinach that’s not nice enough for salad.

Note: I don’t normally add extra salt as sausage, stock, marinara sauce already contain salt. But I am a low salt person. Feel free to add salt if you feel it’s necessary. 

 Directions:

 1.  Heat olive oil over gentle heat in large pan, add sausage crumbling it in your fingers, and frying until sausage starts browning.

2. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bell pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until softening.

3. Add marinara sauce, stock, arborio rice (or substitute), freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes until veg is soft, (5 minutes in my electric pressure cooker).

4. Add spinach and cook for a few minutes. Spinach wilts almost instantly.

5. I like to add fresh chopped basil and parsley, or some basil pesto or sun dried tomato pesto for boost of flavor.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning. If too thick for you, add more stock or milk.

6. Serve with a sprinkling of cheese on each bowl, crusty gluten-free bread, or gluten-free homemade croutons (see note below on croutons).

Note: I like to heat a skillet, add olive oil and small dices of whatever gluten-free bread/bagel/roll I have on hand, dust with garlic powder and fry until crispy. Fresh garlic in oil is great, but burns too easily if you pan fry. You can also oven roast croutons. My husband eats these croutons like candy.

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