Lasagna Soup

While I do enjoy the flavor of lasagna (and my recipe is delicious!), it is very heavy in my stomach, it feeds a small crowd, and I feel overly stuffed when I'm done eating. This lasagna soup recipe has many of the flavors of traditional lasagna while not filling me up too much. It is light and yet warming. I believe it is a perfect substitution for pasta- and cheese-heavy lasagna.

Lasagna Soup

(serves 4)

1 cup mini penne or farfalle pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian or sweet pork sausage, casings removed
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
32 ounces reduced sodium broth (chicken or beef)
15 ounce can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 small zucchini, chopped small
large handful of spinach, torn  into pieces
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup cream or half & half
prepared basil pesto (either store bought or use my Basil Pesto recipe)
ricotta cheese for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (use a Dutch oven so that you can reuse the same pot later). Add the noodles and cook them for two minutes less than package advises. Drain the noodles through a colander, drizzle them with olive oil, and set them aside.
Using the same Dutch oven, place over medium heat and add the sausage. Break sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon; cook until just a little pink remains. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook for one more minute.
Add tomato paste, broth, crushed tomatoes, zucchini and spinach. Bring to a low boil then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for fifteen minutes.
Add noodles, parmesan and cream/half & half. Stir and simmer for two minutes.
Serve each individual bowl with a dollop of prepared basil pesto and ricotta cheese (if using).
And, obviously, you'll need a French baguette or sourdough to accompany this soup. It feels criminal to have lasagna or lasagna soup without bread. 

credit to for this recipe. I only changed a few ingredients to adjust it to my liking.