Large Family Spicy Bean & Sausage Soup

Thanks to the Arctic Vortex spinning its sub-zero wind chills all around us, we’ve been soup-eaters quite a lot this week. I love making soup for dinner, because usually it involves throwing things in a pot and forgetting them until dinner time In other words, soups allow for lazy cooking. Yay! Also, soup is generally a cheap and delicious way to feed a crowd.

When I was grocery shopping this week, I had in mind to make this yummy Spicy Sausage Tortellini Soup, but I hadn’t looked at the recipe before hitting the store, and apparently forgot all of the ingredients for it except some beans, sausage, and spicy tomato juice. Also, I put my husband in charge of finding the spicy tomato juice, and when I got home, I learned he had picked up regular tomato juice. Sigh.

Never fear! I can invent a soup out of just a few humble ingredients! So that’s what I did, and honestly, I think my family liked this one better than the tortellini version I had planned to make. Seriously, though – how did I come home from the store without tortellini for a soup that has tortellini IN THE NAME?

My new version uses a base of regular tomato juice and chicken broth spiced up with some Tabasco sauce. That means you can control the level of spice to your family’s liking. Then there’s some sweet Italian sausage to give it a little contrast from the heat. Navy beans make the soup very filling, plus they add a boost of protein, fiber, iron and folate. Throw in some shredded spinach or kale to get a veggie serving for the day, along with vitamins A & K. This soup has just about everything you need to fight off the cold winter wind!

Please take a look at my recipe disclaimers if you’re not familiar with my unprofessional kitchen adventures.


Large Family Spicy Bean & Sausage Soup Recipe


  • 1 pound bag of dry navy beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 large bottle of tomato juice
  • 2 cartons chicken broth or powdered stock base
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 Tbsp original Tabasco sauce
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 bag leaf spinach or kale


1. Soak the navy beans according to the instructions on the bag.

2. Dice the onion. Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Crumble Italian sausage into skillet and cook until it begins to brown, chopping into small pieces as it cooks.

3. Drain soaking water from navy beans. Return the beans to a large stock pot. Add chicken broth (or similar amount of water plus broth base) and tomato juice. Heat to a low boil over medium.

4. Add meat and onion mixture to the stock pot. Stir in seasonings and pour in Tabasco sauce. If you want the soup to be spicier, add more Tabasco to taste. The 1 Tbsp is pretty mild. I use a lot more than that because we love spicy heat.

5. Allow the soup to simmer for about an hour. Taste-test a bean to see if they’re done to your liking. When the beans are done, add the shredded spinach or kale and let it soften a bit. Kale will hold its crunch and texture better, but tiny bits of soft spinach are harder for picky eaters to detect.

Serves 10-12.


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