Open Accessibility Menu

Fall in Love with Hearty Sausage, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

Published in Cancer Care, For the Health of It, Healthy Eating Tips Author: Clinical Dietitian Kelli Jensch, RD, LD, Coborn Cancer Center

The weather is cooling down and squash is in abundance. Roasted or mashed with salt, pepper and a little butter is a classic, but after a while it can get a little boring. This colorful fall soup is sure to become a favorite. Not to mention it cooks up in a hurry!

Ground turkey and cannellini beans provide plenty of protein in this recipe. If ground turkey isn’t for you, feel free to substitute in ground pork. Just be aware that it also will increase the amount of saturated fat in the recipe. As a general guide, the fewer legs a protein source has the better it is for heart health. Choosing beans, nuts, fish, turkey and chicken more often than beef and pork is suggested. Both the American Heart Association and American Institute for Cancer Research recommend keeping red and processed meats to 18 oz. per week or less.

What I love most about soups is how versatile they are. You can change ingredients based on what you have on hand at home. This recipe calls for a red pepper (mainly for eye appeal and more color variety), but if all you have is green, yellow or orange — that’s OK, too! Kale can be substituted out for any dark leafy green… try baby spinach or even Swiss chard. When you are preparing your plate (or in this case, bowl) be sure to get a wide variety of color.

When shopping for the week, make sure your cart has a lot of color in it — at least one or two fruits or vegetables of each color of the rainbow. That way you know throughout the week you are getting a variety of nutrients to meet your body’s needs! Contrary to what you may have heard, research shows fresh, canned or frozen are all great options and packed with vitamin and minerals! When purchasing canned produce, make sure fruit is packed in 100% fruit juice and opt for low-sodium or no salt added varieties of vegetables.

Final thought: butternut squash can be a PAIN to cube up. Use a sharp knife and watch your fingers. To make things easier on yourself, check to see if your local grocery store offers pre-cubed butternut squash to save yourself the time and hassle!

Note: The store was out of Italian turkey sausage, so the video shows it made with chorizo turkey as a substitute.


  • 1 lb. Italian ground turkey sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • 14 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)


  1. Brown sausage until cooked through.
  2. Add garlic, onion and red pepper and cook until softened — about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add squash and cook 15-20 minutes or until soft.
  4. Five minutes before serving, add kale and beans. Season with salt, pepper and grated Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.

Serves 6
Calories: 330
Carbs: 26 g
Protein: 25 g
Fat: 9 g