Thick, rich, and hearty, this vegetarian soup is the perfect comforting end to a cool day. Tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese - what could go wrong?! Just add sausage for the meat-eaters.
1/2medium yellow oniondiced (about 1 cup)
2medium carrotspeeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2medium cloves garlicminced (about 2 teaspoons)
1teaspoonkosher salt + more to taste
1/2teaspoonblack pepper + more to taste
128-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4cups1 32-ounce box vegetable broth
112-ounce package dry cheese tortellini
4cupsabout 4 ounces packed baby spinach
1/2cup2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4cup1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
If adding sausage:
Ground sweet Italian sausage3/4 pound if adding to all; use about 1/3 pound if adding to half
Add the carrots, onion, garlic, spices, tomatoes and broth to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low until the carrots are tender, 3-6 hours (time varies depending on your slow cooker. If you cook it for longer - say, 8 hours - it won't hurt).
Add the tortellini to the slow cooker, stir to combine, cover, and cook on high 20 minutes.
Add the spinach, stir until wilted, cover again, and cook another 5 minutes.
Warm the half and half in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the cream, mozzarella, and Parmesan to the slow cooker. Stir until thoroughly combined and turn off the heat.
Remove bay leaf. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
If adding sausage, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add sausage to the pan and brown, breaking into small pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks. Add cooked sausage to individual servings.
* Can substitute 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning for the oregano and basil
Add cooked Italian sweet sausage to individual portions.