Try this easy chicken tortellini soup to reset your diet for the new year

This week, "Home with the Lost Italian" columnist Sarah Nasello is serving up her Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup recipe, a comforting and low-calorie dish.

Full of nourishing warmth and comfort, Sarah's Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup is the perfect dish to kick off a healthy new year.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

FARGO — Happy New Year! As the dust settles from the indulgences of the holiday season, this Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup is the perfect dish to recalibrate your diet. Warm and soothing, this soup is a cinch to prepare and has less than 500 calories per serving, so you can enjoy the charming, cheese-filled pasta dumplings guilt-free.

This recipe calls for cooked chicken, and to keep it simple I use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. I remove enough meat to provide two and a half cups for the soup, and then I remove the remaining meat and store it to use for another meal. Make sure to save the carcass, as it can be frozen and used to add flavor and nutrition when making homemade chicken stock.

This soup begins with the classic mirepoix ingredients: onion, carrots, celery, garlic and olive oil. The onions are sauteed in the oil until soft and translucent, and then I add the carrots, celery and garlic and continue to sauté them until they are just tender. This process takes only about 10 to 12 minutes, then I add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes to flavor the soup. Dried thyme would also work well if you don’t have Italian seasoning.

Once the mirepoix is ready, I add the liquids. I use a combination of chicken stock and water for this recipe. You could also use vegetable broth or stock, or just water in a pinch. A can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes adds a touch of color and a subtle smokiness to complement the creamy tang of the cheese tortellini (Hunt’s is the brand I have found regularly available in our local grocery stores).

Tortellini are thin pasta dumplings stuffed with a filling, and Sarah uses a cheese-filled variety for her Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Once these ingredients are added, I bring the soup to a boil over high heat and then I lower the heat to medium-low and let the soup simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Next, I add one nine-ounce package of cheese tortellini (I use a refrigerated variety) and let the pasta cook in the simmering soup for five minutes, then I add two cups of fresh baby spinach leaves and continue cooking until they begin to wilt, about three to four more minutes.


I add the seasoning at the end, along with a splash of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of fresh parsley to pull all the flavors together. Grated Parmesan cheese is the perfect garnish for this soup and fresh chives would also work well.

Packed with flavor and nutrition, this Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup is the perfect choice for busy weeknights and a great way to kick off a healthy new year. I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to more food adventures together in 2023!

Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (dried thyme also works)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 quarts chicken broth or stock
2 cups water
2 ½ cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced (I use the breast and wing meat from a rotisserie chicken)
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
9 ounces cheese tortellini
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese, to garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the carrots, celery and garlic. Stir until combined and continue cooking over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the chicken broth, water, cooked chicken and diced tomatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil; reduce to medium-low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

For added nutrition, fresh spinach leaves are added to the soup and cooked just until they begin to wilt.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Add the tortellini and cook for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes.


Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper; stir and continue cooking over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and serve immediately with Parmesan cheese to garnish.

Grated parmesan cheese adds an extra pop of tangy flavor to garnish the soup.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Sarah’s Tips:

  • Instead of spinach, you could also use kale or Swiss chard.
  • If you don’t have lemon juice, use cider or white vinegar.
  • For leftovers: the tortellini will soak up the soup’s broth over time, so you may need to add more chicken broth or water when reheating any leftovers.

Recipe Time Capsule:

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at
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