A hearty and healthy butternut squash, sausage, and kale soup made in the crockpot. This tasty soup is easy to make and perfect for chilly fall evenings!
One of my favorite things about cooler weather is making soup. Lots and lots of soup. I love that there are infinite varieties of soups and stews – you can throw almost anything in a soup kettle and it will come out delicious. I’ve recently been getting into making soups using the crockpot.
The crockpot (or slow cooker – depending on what part of the country you’re from) is an amazing contraption. I know Instant Pots are all the rage right now (and, yes, an Instant Pot is on my Christmas list) but I’ll never forget about the humble crockpot. The original ‘set it and forget it’ kitchen gadget.
Being that its fall, I wanted to utilize squash. A neighbor dropped a few butternut squash on our porch a few weeks ago and I just had to use it. Wanting to branch out from the roasted squash I traditionally make I went the soup route. And this Crockpot Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Kale Soup was born.
I love all the flavor going on in this soup. The butternut squash makes it a little sweet, the sausage gives it some spice, and the kale provides that quintessential earthiness. I still have a row of kale in the garden that the deer didn’t get to so I’ve been sort of picking away at it through the autumn months.
This soup is really easy to make. To start off, simply mince 6 cloves of garlic and 1 small onion. Peel and cube 1 large butternut squash. Roughly chop 3 or so cups of kale and cut 4 sausages into slices. You can use any kind of sausage you like but I went with a spicy Italian chicken sausage. I love the spice it adds and doesn’t make the soup too heavy.
Now, this soup does cook in the crockpot but it starts off in a soup kettle. Something like a Dutch oven works perfectly to get it started. I think that sauteing the garlic and onions releases some of their flavors and it caramelizes the sausages a bit. Heat 1 Tbsp. or so of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven to medium.
Add the sliced sausages and fry them for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. At that point remove the sausages from the pan (some of the fat should have rendered) and add the garlic and onions. Saute the garlic and onions for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, and then add 6-7 cups of the cubed butternut squash. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper and saute for about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add a little bit of chicken stock if the squash starts to stick.
Now it’s time to throw it all into the slow cooker. Add the sauteed squash, garlic, onions, and sausage into a heated slow cooker. Add 4 or so cups of chicken broth, 1 tsp. of smoked paprika, 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the lid on and let it cook for 4 or so hours on low.
Around the 3 1/2 hour mark, add the 3 cups of chopped kale. Kale has a much faster cooking time and adding it right at the end will ensure that it wilts but doesn’t get mushy. Let the kale soften for about 20 minutes and stir to incorporate. Feel free to add more chicken stock if you want to thin the soup out.
The last step (and this might seem a little weird but it really balances things out) is to add 1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar. As I was making this soup I had my husband taste it. He loved it but thought there was one little thing missing. He suggested adding some vinegar or lemon to brighten the flavors a bit. And he was totally right!
That little splash of vinegar really ties everything together. I love to serve my soups with some shaved Parmesan cheese. It adds a bit of richness and let’s be honest – it makes the soup a little fancy. This soup is perfect to mop up with some crusty bread. It’s also totally perfect for a chilly fall evening!
Crockpot Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Kale Soup
- Peel and cut 1 large butternut squash into cubes.
- Mince 6 cloves of garlic and 1 small onion.
- Cut 4 spicy Italian chicken sausages into slices.
- Roughly chop 3 or so cups of kale.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the sliced sausages and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Once the sausages are lightly caramelized remove from pan and set aside.
- Add more vegetable oil to the Dutch oven if needed and add the garlic and onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add 6-7 cups of chopped butternut squash along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 8 minutes or so, stirring often. Add a little chicken stock if the squash starts to stick to the bottom.
- Add the butternut squash, sausages, garlic, and onions to a heated crockpot. Add 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 tsp. of smoked paprika, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and another pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stir all of the ingredients together and place the lid on the crockpot. Cook on low for about 4 hours.
- Around the 3 1/2 hour mark, add the chopped kale, stir to combined and return the lid to the crockpot. After 20 minutes or so remove lid and add 1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar. Stir to combine.
- Adjust salt, pepper, and spice levels to your liking.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.