Sausage and Squash Soup

step 1

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil; add the ground sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

step 2

Cook the sausage until it is mostly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot and place on a separate plate; set aside.

step 3

Add onion and red bell pepper to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they are softened and fragrant. Add the minced garlic and cook for one more minute.

step 4

Stir in the diced squash, ground (or fresh) sage and red pepper flakes; cook for another 5 minutes or so, just to combine the flavors and begin to soften the squash.

step 5

Pour in chicken broth and water and give everything a stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to simmer for about 12-15 minutes or until the squash is very tender and easily pierced with a fork.

step 6

Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until completely smooth. (Or leave some larger pieces if desired.)

step 7

If you don't have an immersion blender, you can pour the mixture into a blender and blend in batches -- just be careful as blending hot liquids can cause the lid to pop right off!

step 8

Stir in the half and half or cream, cooked sausage and spinach. Heat until the spinach is just wilted, about 5 minutes.

step 9

Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Be cautious as sausage is often salty.)

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