Comforting bratwurst soup with pasta and beans, sure to keep the family full and happy. Perfect to serve as a main meal with just a slice of bread on the side.
Brats Soup with Beans and Pasta
I haven’t posted a soup recipe on the blog in several weeks, so it was time again. I haven’t counted but I have the feeling that I have more soups on my blog than anything else… No wonder, we eat soup at least twice a week. Lots of bean soups too. The Romanian bean soup is still my number one, I grew up with it, but this bratwurst soup comes close to the top spot.
I mean, not only the beans, which I so love but those bratwurst meatballs… so hearty and full of flavor and then the little pasta shapes.
I’ve been making a version or another of this bratwurst soup for years now. In Germany, we eat a lot of brats and we grill lots of them in summer. But whenever I buy sausages for a grill party, I always buy too many. And then you have an opened package in your fridge and you wonder what to do with them.
You can always freeze them and defrost them again when needed. You can even learn How to Cook Frozen Sausages. But when I only have a few and I don’t want to be bothered with freezing, I make this brats soup. Mostly the version presented here today, but often, with potatoes instead of noodles, with other sorts of beans, with barley or buckwheat. Whatever I happen to have…
Ingredients for sausage soup
- Fresh brats will allow you to make the quickest meatballs ever! There will be no need for any seasoning at all.
- All you have to do is to form the meatballs. And if you can’t be bothered with that either, no problem at all. Just squeeze small chunks of meat out of the casings and throw them into the soup. The dish will have more of a rustic look, but that should not be an issue, it will taste amazing nonetheless.
- You can make the meatballs with ground meat as well. To make the meatballs with ground meat, season the meat generously with salt, pepper, sweet or hot paprika (to taste), fresh or dried herbs likes parsley, oregano, or thyme. Form the meatballs and continue with the recipe.
- I had kidney beans, but I often make the sausage soup with other beans. I prefer to cook my own beans. You will need 400 g/ 14 oz cooked beans, a little more or less is fine. If using canned beans, 2 cans will be fine.
- To get about 400 g/ 14 oz cooked beans, you will have to cook about 200 g/ 7 oz dried kidney beans.
- To cook the beans, rinse them and soak them overnight in plenty of water. Drain the beans, place them into a large pot, and cover them with fresh water.
- Bring to a boil, let boil for about ten minutes, turn the heat down and simmer the kidney beans for at least 45 minutes or until tender.
- Most packages of dried beans state that the beans should be ready in 45 to 60 minutes. Well, I never managed to cook beans that quickly unless they were tiny. I always need longer, so do check your beans after the initial 45 minutes, but give them as much time as they need. Keep checking and cook them until tender.
- Don’t overcook them either or their skin will break and the beans will become too mushy and disintegrate when added to other dishes.
- The fastest method of cooking beans remains the pressure cooker, use it if you have it.
- Use small pasta shapes like ditalini, orecchiete or even orzo.
- If cooking your own beans, you can use the cooking liquid of the beans with 1-2 additional chicken or vegetable stock cubes, to taste.
- Otherwise, I use homemade chicken stock.
- Dried herbs like bay leaves, dried thyme, and dried rosemary. I added 2 teaspoons of homemade pesto (in my case wild garlic pesto, but regular pesto is just as good) at the end of the cooking time. It’s optional, but it tastes good.
- I finished the dish with some chopped parsley and a little Parmesan.
How to make bratwurst soup?
- If using red kidney beans, rinse and soak them overnight. Drain, cover with water again, add the spices, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, lower the heat and simmer the beans until tender, at least 45 minutes and longer if needed. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Blend half of the cooked beans. Set aside.
- Cook the onion and the garlic for about 2 minutes. In the meantime, puree the tomatoes (you can use the same amount of tomato puree/passata di Pomodoro from a jar. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add pureed beans, the whole beans, and 1 liter/ 34 fl. oz/ 4 1/3 cups of the beans’ cooking liquid or chicken stock. Add the thyme, rosemary, and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook gently for 20 minutes. If using bean stock, you might want to add 1 or 2 cubes of chicken or vegetable stock to give it more flavor.
Meatballs made from brats:
- Remove the sausages’ casings and form small meatballs, about the size of a cherry. Wet your hands when rolling the meatballs, this makes the rolling easier. Add the meatballs to the soup.
- Or squeeze small chunks of meat out of the casings and add them to the pot.
- See “Ingredients” if you want to make the meatballs with ground meat.
- Add the pasta. Read the packet’s instructions and cook the pasta shapes accordingly. My pasta needed 7 minutes, so the meatballs had enough time (9-10 minutes) to be cooked through. If your pasta shapes need a shorter cooking time, give the meatballs a few minutes more before adding the pasta.
- Add the pesto and adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Add lots of chopped parsley and a grating of Parmesan just before serving.
- Serve immediately with some crusty bread, if desired.
Variations for making brats soup
- Use other kinds of uncooked sausages instead of brats, for instance, Italian sausages.
- Should you have leftover grilled/fried brats, slice them and add them to the pot at the end of the cooking process. They should only be heated through. In this case, you will not need the meatballs anymore.
- Replace the sausage meatballs with slices of smoked sausages like Cabanossi or kielbasa.
- Use any other beans you like or have, either dried and freshly cooked or from a can.
- Choose any other kind of pasta shape, preferably short. If you only have spaghetti, break them into smaller pieces before adding them to the pot.
- Replace the pasta with cubed potatoes, barley, buckwheat, rice. Add them to the soup considering the time they need to be cooked through, all of them will need longer than the pasta. The potatoes will need about 20 minutes, the rice between 12 (Basmati) and 40 minutes (brown rice). Be sure to check the package’s instructions if using rice, buckwheat, or barley.
How to store?
The bratwurst soup will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days. It will thicken slightly because the pasta will absorb the broth. If you want to make it runnier again, add some stock when reheating it.
More bratwurst recipes:
- Brats in the Air Fryer
- How to Cook Brats on the Stove
- How to Cook Brats in the Oven
- Halloween Spider Meatloaf
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1 1/8 cups dried red kidney beans (Notes 1 and 2)
- 2 medium onions, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ about 2-3 smaller tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 liter/ 34 fl. oz/ 4 1/3 cups of the beans' cooking liquid or chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 450 g/ 1 lbs brats
- 80 g/ 2.8 oz/ generous ¾ cup ditalini
- 1-2 teaspoons pesto
- a small bunch of fresh parsley
- fine sea salt
- ground black pepper
- If using dried beans, soak them overnight in plenty of water. Drain, cover with water again, add the onion, bay leaves, and black peppercorns, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or longer until the beans are tender.
- Check after 45 minutes and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Drain the beans, but reserve the cooking liquid. Discard the onion and spices. Blend half of the cooked beans. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Finely chop the second onion and the garlic and cook them for about 2 minutes. In the meantime, puree the tomatoes or use some pureed ones from a jar.
- Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste to the pot, stir well and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the pureed beans, the whole beans, and the beans' cooking liquid or chicken stock. Add the thyme, rosemary, and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook gently for 20 minutes. If using bean stock, you might want to add 1 or 2 cubes of chicken or vegetable stock to give it more flavor.
- In the meantime make the sausage meatballs. Remove the sausages' casings and form small meatballs, about the size of a cherry. Add them to the soup and simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Add the pasta. Read the packet's instructions and cook the pasta shapes accordingly. My pasta needed 7 minutes, so the meatballs had enough time (9-10 minutes) to be cooked through. If your pasta shapes need a shorter cooking time, give the meatballs a few minutes more before adding the pasta.
- Add the pesto (1 or 2 teaspoons to taste) and adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Add lots of chopped parsley and a grating of Parmesan just before serving.
- Serve immediately with some crusty bread.
- You can use 2 cans of beans instead (each weighing 400 g/ 14 oz).
- Other kinds of beans can be used instead.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 of the soup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 561Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1414mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 12gSugar: 20gProtein: 29g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.