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tomato italian sausage and fennel soup

Tomato, Sausage, and Fennel Soup

dairy free gluten free low carb main course paleo recipes soups vegan
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This aromatic and hearty recipe is an oldie-but-goodie, originally inspired by “Tomato Soup with Two Fennels,” from Molly Wizenberg’s foodoir, A Homemade Life. After so many incarnations and additions, I think I can safely claim this version as my own. Still, I think of Molly's wonderful, well-tested recipes every time I make it.

Fennel, with its crisp licorice perfume, is like a flavor cousin to basil (another tomato lover). It’s also a key ingredient in my Sweet Italian Sausage, which is featured in this tasty pot. In essence, there is a hat-trick of fennel in this recipe: from the tender bits of fresh fennel bulb to the infusion of ground fennel seed, and finally, the fennel-laced Italian sausage.


Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights:



Tomato, Sausage, and Fennel Soup

Tomato, Sausage, and Fennel Soup

Yield: 6
Author: Ginny Mahar
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Low-Carb, Keto. Includes Vegan option (see notes).


  • 1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion or large shallot, diced small
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 4 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place Italian sausage in a large (5-quart) soup pot over medium-high heat. Cook until browned and most liquid has evaporated. Remove from pot, drain and discard drippings, and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to pot over medium heat. Add fennel, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery, and cook 10 - 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Feel free to add a splash of chicken stock to speed the process along by creating steam.
  3. Add ground fennel and fresh thyme and stir to combine. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a blender and process to your desired consistency ("crushed" style recommended). Add to soup pot along with cooked sausage. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until flavors have melded. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.


  • Optional garnishes: Wispy fennel fronds, chopped fresh parsley, basil ribbons, or fresh thyme leaves.
  • Vegan version: Omit sausage. Replace chicken stock with vegetable broth. Add one 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, during last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Hearty version (non-Paleo): Add one 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, during last 5 minutes of cooking. 

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