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Italian Peasant Soup

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Put this Italian peasant soup on your meal plan! It’s easy to make, nutritious, fills you up, and keeps you warm. Perfect with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top!

Italian Peasant Soup Recipe

As a mom, one of my favorite meals to make is soup. It’s such a great way to easily make a lot of food, but more than that, nutritious food. 

How else can you easily get your kids to eat tomatoes and spinach? 

Soup is the best way. In fact, that’s a large part of the appeal of soup for me. Our Summer sausage and zucchini soup is the easiest way to get them to eat zucchini (not counting desserts like gluten free zucchini bread. 

I think it’s funny that such a rich, nutritious soup is labeled Italian peasant soup. 

But peasants would be the kind of rural people who depend on what they can grow. So when you think about it, the ingredients actually make a lot of sense. 

So lets take a look at the ingredients

“Soup season” is kind of a winter tradition. That means Italian peasant soup would be something that would be made mostly in cold weather. 

Pork sausage

While you can also use turkey sausage, January is when most peasants or homesteaders would be processing their hogs. This way it’s cold enough to keep the pork cold as it hangs and you work on processing it. In some areas, the pork would be hung in a storage shed or attic to freeze,  and used throughout the winter. In other areas, it would be salt cured, or in  modern times, canned. Italian sausage links removed from their casings are a popular choice, but you can make your own sausage with this recipe.

So definitely a good soup ingredient. 

kettle of peasant soup

Chicken is a little more tricky. 

Typically, chicken is a summer protein. Why? Because they’re small, which makes it easy to process one bird for a meal without worrying about using up the leftovers before they spoil. 

However, even in the winter you’ll have a rooster that’s causing problems, or a hen that isn’t laying and needs to go. 

So in the end, boneless skinless chicken breasts are also a logical ingredient for our soup. 

For a modern homesteader, you probably have home-canned chicken, and chicken broth in your pantry to use in this soup.

Beans make total sense. 

As a type of homestead family – one might even say peasants – as we lived on very little in an Amish community, we ate a lot of beans. Not only that, but we grew most, if not all of them ourselves. 

They’re one of the most low input, high output garden crops you can grow. An easy source of nutrition. 

Plant them in early spring, and they get a good head start on the weeds. Then you can spread them out in the pods to dry, shell them, and store them all year with no worries of spoilage. 

And if you are buying ingredients? They tend to be very cheap. 

Onions and garlic. 

Presumably if you’re a peasant living in the 17-1800s, you grew onions and garlic in your garden – or perhaps you lived in the southern United States, and harvested wild garlic. Either way, now they’re hanging from braided stems in your attic or woodshed, waiting to be used.  

bowls of peasant soup with bread

Potatoes

These would have been grown in the spring, harvested in the summer, and cured in the late summer for storage to use throughout the fall and winter. But it’s hard to grow enough potatoes to last the whole year. This is why most of our carbs are going to come from the beans in this soup. 

Spinach is very cold hardy

In many areas you can start your spinach in the fall, and if it does get too cold for it to keep growing, it will at least sit there, ready for you to harvest as you need it. It’s one of the easiest veggies you can grow!

You can help keep it nice by protecting it from snow and hard frosts with light bedsheets or fabric at night. Tunnel cover is also awesome for this, and can help keep it warm enough during the day to keep growing, but that might be a little too costly for a peasant. Either way, spinach is a green you’d likely find in any organized peasant’s garden during the winter. 

Tomatoes

In modern day homesteading, you’d likely find rows and rows of jars of canned diced tomatoes from the summer garden in the food pantry. 

Perhaps in a time before jars and canners were widely available, tomatoes would have been dried, then rehydrated for soup. 

Dried herbs

Of course if you’re a peasant, or pioneer homesteader, you’d likely make a point of growing herbs during the summer to dry and store for making food flavorful in wintertime. We use Italian seasoning because it makes things easy, but that’s just a combination of basil, oregano, and thyme

In short, all the ingredients for Italian peasant soup could easily come from your small homestead or hobby farm, or the farmer’s market down the road, and that’s really fun to think about. 

Another great winter soup for those of us who homestead and/or try to eat somewhat seasonally is stuffed cabbage soup. Another great way to get your kids to eat vegetables! It’s definitely one of my favorite cabbage recipes. 

How to make Italian Peasant soup

It really couldn’t be any simpler. 

First, gather your ingredient.

ingredients for peasant soup in bowls 

Then you’re going to combine your sausage, chicken, and onion in a large soup pot with a little bit of olive oil, and being to sauté it .

sauteing chicken, sausage, and onions in a soup kettle

Once the meats have been browned, add minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds

Now add your remaining ingredients including whole beans, except for the spinach, stir it together, cover, and let simmer until potatoes are tender. 

Italian peasant soup cooking in a soup pot

Uncover and add the spinach, stirring until the spinach is wilted. Slat and pepper to taste, and ladle soup into soup plates, and serve. 

adding spinach to peasant soup

This soup is great with gluten free cornbread! We also love peasant bread with it, or sourdough bread. 

Print

Italian Peasant Soup

  • Author: Elise New

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 8 ounces chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
  • 2 15.9 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped (I also like to remove stems)

Instructions

  1. Sauté sausage, chicken, and onion in the oil until sausage and chicken are done through
  2. Add garlic, stir, and cook another 30 seconds
  3. Add potatoes, beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, and seasonings
  4. Stir together, cover, and bring to a simmer
  5. Simmer until potatoes are tender
  6. Remove lid and stir in spinach
  7. Continue cooking until spinach is just wilted
  8. Remove from heat and serve

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