[Instant Pot] Tortellini Soup with Sausage & Greens

Instant Pot with tortellini soup, made with sausage, spinach and tomato broth.

This hearty Instant Pot tortellini soup recipe is made with crumbles of Italian sausage and fresh leafy greens in a savory tomato broth.

You know you want to enjoy spoonfuls of tender, cheesy pasta puffs – and this recipe is the best way to turn them into a balanced one-pot weeknight meal with protein and plenty of veggies.

Take advantage of your electric pressure cooker to make quick work of dry tortellini pasta and marry all of the flavors together into the perfect soup you’ve been dreaming about!

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Why to Use Instant Pot for Tortellini Soup

Cooking tortellini soup in your pressure cooker is a simple way to gain deep, slow-simmered flavor in less time and with less hands-on attention.

An electric multi-cooker like Instant Pot makes it especially convenient to get a quick dinner like this on your family’s table. All in the same pot, you’ll begin with Saute mode to develop flavor by browning the sausage and onions, then lock down to Pressure Cook the rest of the ingredients, and then can even rely on the Keep Warm function to hold it hot until you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients

Ingredient collection: dry tortellini, raw sausage, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, broth and Parmesan cheese.

Cheese tortellini is the star of the show. Everyone loves these rich, pillowy pasta pouches. See the next section for more details on dried vs. frozen vs. fresh tortellini products.

Sausage makes the soup heartier, and provides lots of seasoning without needing to raid your whole spice rack. I prefer the taste of chicken sausage when I can find it at the market, but traditional pork Italian sausage works just as well. You can use hot or sweet Italian sausage; I love spicy food, so if I can only find mild sausage at the store, I add a few dashes of red pepper flakes. It is easiest to use ground/bulk sausage – but if you only have links available, just slice through the casing and crumble the filling into your pot.

Onion and garlic are fundamental flavors for any good soup.

Canned diced tomatoes give the soup more savory body. Smoother tomato sauces can be substituted, but I prefer the texture that chunky diced tomatoes add to this recipe.

Broth, of course – it is soup! I make lots of homemade chicken stock with Instant Pot – it gives my soups exceptional flavor and lots of nutrition. Use low sodium broth because sausage is often very salty. The recipe does not call for any additional salt, but be sure to taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serving.

Leafy greens, because we need more veggies. A mountain of greens will wilt right into the soup like magic. Use fresh baby spinach, kale, chard, or any other green you love.

Fresh parsley and basil are the secret weapon that set this recipe apart from others – adding a handful of each right before serving gives the soup so much flavor and aroma!

Parmesan cheese… I can’t bring myself to serve a bowl without a little sprinkle on top!

Dried vs. Frozen vs. Fresh Tortellini

Dried tortellini is my top choice for this recipe – I like being able to keep it handy in my pantry, and take advantage of Instant Pot to cook it up quickly. It also releases some starch into the broth, naturally making the texture a little bit creamier. When pressure cooking dry pasta, I check the boiling time on the package and cut it in half to determine the time under high pressure. The pasta I bought called for 10-11 minutes, which means 5 minutes under pressure.

Frozen tortellini is another convenient choice. Because it is cooked before freezing, it only takes 1 minute under pressure. The rest of the soup will still be fully cooked with this shorter cook time.

Fresh tortellini are very delicate, so it’s best to wait until after releasing pressure to add them. Throw them in at the same time as the leafy greens, and just simmer for a minute or two until tender.

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Creamy Tortellini Soup is a popular variation on this dish – I have seen similar recipes featured on super-viral posts on Facebook and Reddit (“The Soup”, they like to call it!)

To make it creamy, simply add 1/4 of heavy cream to the soup after pressure cooking, the same time that the greens and fresh herbs are stirred in. It’s important to wait until this step to add any cream; if pressure-cooked, the creamy flavor and mouth feel will be much duller and less fresh.

Step By Step: How to Cook Instant Pot Tortellini Soup

Saute Sausage, Onions and Garlic

Instant Pot with raw ground sausage, onions and garlic.

To begin, we fire up Instant Pot’s Saute function to start cooking our sausage crumbles, onion and garlic. This step builds flavor by browning, and concentrates it by evaporating water from the ingredients. The soup will be much more flavorful this way, compared to a simple dump-and-go recipe.

Add Tomatoes, Broth and Pasta

Instant Pot with dry tortellini pouring into tomato broth.

After the meat is lightly browned, we can mix in the canned diced tomatoes, broth, and dry cheese tortellini.

You may notice that some Instant Pot recipes advise to pour tomatoes on to without stirring then into the mixture. The reason is because thick tomato sauces can sometimes burn on the bottom of the pot when pressure cooking. However, in this case we don’t need to worry about that problem – the broth will dilute the soup enough that there will not be a risk of triggering a burn error.

Pressure Cook

Instant Pot with cooked tortellini in broth.

Next, we close the lid and select Manual mode to customize a pressure cook time. Because the sausage is already mostly cooked (and doesn’t easily overcook), the cook time should be designed to accommodate the pasta.

In a pressure cooker, pasta takes about half the time that it would in a pot of boiling water. I set the cook time to 5 minutes because when I checked my package of tortellini, it called for 10-11 minutes for al dente pasta.

After the cook time is finished, immediately open the pressure valve for a quick release to avoid overcooking the pasta. The volume of soup is low enough that we shouldn’t have to worry about liquid spurting out of the valve, but be watchful (especially if you scale up any ingredients) and if you get any eruption, quickly and carefully shut the valve with a potholder and give it a few minutes to cool down before attempting another release.

Wilt Greens & Add Cheese

Instant Pot with finished tortellini soup, sprinkling with shaved cheese.

After opening the pressure cooker, throw in the greens and fresh herbs. They cook very quickly and only need a minute or two to wilt into the hot soup. This is also the time to add your heavy cream if you’re looking to make a creamy tortellini soup.

Before serving, scatter a spoonful of shaved or grated parmesan cheese over each bowl for a finishing touch. Enjoy it!

Storage & Make Ahead Meal Prep Tips

This soup tastes its best when it is freshly cooked – the tortellini tend to continue absorbing liquid when stored, leaving them softer on the second day. The leftovers can certainly still be enjoyed; when reheating, add an extra splash of broth or water to replace some of the absorbed liquid.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator safely for up to 4 days (per USDA food safety guidelines).

Long term storage in the freezer is not recommended; the pasta will become especially soft and gummy when thawed.

Nutrition Insights

Food for thought, from your friendly neighborhood Registered Dietitian Nutritionist + food science buff!

When I’m craving a bowl of cheesy tortellini, I feel good about balancing out the meal with plenty of vegetables, protein, and nourishing broth.

A bowl of soup (one sixth of the recipe) supplies 25 grams of protein and clocks in at only 420 calories, leaving room in most meal plans for another healthy side dish of your choice.

This soup also welcomes the addition of lots of extra veggies. I kept the main recipe simple for the sake of busy cooks, but  if you’re interested in a real “Veggie Lover’s” version of the soup, add plenty of chopped sweet peppers, celery, zucchini, or whatever favorite vegetables are in your crisper!

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes

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[Instant Pot] Loaded Potato & Cauliflower Soup

I must declare, this loaded potato and cauliflower soup is a marvel of cozy cold-weather cooking. Before it goes in the pressure cooker, the veggies are roasted in the oven for authentic baked potato flavor. Then, while that hot oven is warming up your kitchen, you can use it to make roasted broccoli and bacon to pile up your bowl with all the fixings!

bowl of broccoli cheddar soup garnished with roasted broccoli and cheese

[Instant Pot] Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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[Instant Pot] Roasted Tomato Soup

[Instant Pot] Roasted Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes

If you like magic tricks, you need to try letting your Instant Pot conjure a basket of fresh tomatoes into a rich, roasted tomato soup… It will also make your grilled cheese sandwich disappear πŸ˜‰

Instant Pot with soup made with cheese tortellini, tomatoes, sausage and greens.
Instant Pot with soup made with cheese tortellini, tomatoes, sausage and greens.

[Instant Pot] Tortellini Soup with Sausage & Greens

Mary Clare Fraker, MS RD
This hearty Instant Pot tortellini soup recipe is made with crumbles of Italian sausage and fresh leafy greens in a savory tomato broth. It is the best way to turn delicious cheesy tortellini into a balanced one-pot weeknight meal with protein and plenty of veggies!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Time to Build and Release Pressure 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course, Soup
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 420 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces ground/bulk chicken sausage
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 5 medium cloves garlic chopped
  • one 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 12 ounces dried cheese tortellini
  • 4 packed cups baby greens spinach, kale, chard and/or other leafy greens
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 6 tablespoons shaved or grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Using the saute function, heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker. When the oil is hot, add the sausage, onion and garlic. Cook, sitting frequently, until the sausage begins to brown and the onion is tender.
  • Stir in the canned diced tomatoes, broth and dry tortellini. Close the lid, with the valve set to sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is complete, carefully open the valve to manually release the pressure. Add the greens, parsley and basil and stir until wilted. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

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