Love the Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana? It's so easy to make it at home. This creamy sausage, bacon, potato, and kale soup is total comfort food!
This post was originally published on September 23, 2015. I've updated it with new photos, text, and a better written recipe.
Easy Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe
If you haven't tried this soup yet, now is your chance. It's popular for a reason. It's easy to make, very satisfying, and feels like a treat. Probably because it has bacon. And sausage. And cream. And potatoes. The kale totally cancels out the calories from the sausage and bacon so you can feel good about eating this. I wish.
I originally made this soup one day because my husband remembered eating it at the Olive Garden. I searched out copycat recipes probably back in 2013 or 2014 and then adapted it to make it more my own. I then published the recipe on my blog back in 2015, which feels like a lifetime ago. I still have yet to actually try the Olive Garden's version, but I do know one thing - my version tastes amazing. 🙂
We hadn't made this soup in a while, but I can tell you that my husband was ecstatic to eat all the leftovers again from the latest batch of photos. We're on day three as I write this up, and he's still excited to have a bowl of this for dinner.
I don't make a lot of copycat recipes, but this one's definitely a keeper.
What is Zuppa Toscana?
"Zuppa Toscana" literally means "Tuscan soup", but from an American point of view, it commonly refers to the soup found at the Olive Garden restaurant. It's a fairly brothy (not too thick) soup.
What kind of potatoes to use in Zuppa Toscana?
I typically use red potatoes, but Russets (or even other varieties) will work just fine. I don't peel the potatoes, but you definitely can. This soup is pretty forgiving on the quantity of potatoes. I typically use four medium-to-large red potatoes, which I know is really subjective. I'd aim for around 1.5 pounds of potatoes if you're looking for weights.
How to make Zuppa Toscana
- Sauté the bacon in your soup pot. I like to give it a few minutes head start prior to adding the sausage pieces. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the sausage is browned.
- Meanwhile, I like to prep the remaining ingredients.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken stock and water to the pot, followed by the potatoes and Italian seasoning. Bring the soup to a boil and cook until the potatoes are done.
- Stir in the cream and kale. Cook another 5-10 minutes or so until the kale is nice and tender. Season to taste.
Zuppa Toscana recipe notes:
- I like to use thick-cut bacon and Johnsonville mild Italian sausages. Feel free to use spicy sausage if you want some more kick.
- Substituting spinach for kale works fine.
- To lighten the recipe up a little bit, you could definitely drain some of the fat from the bacon and sausages. I admit I don't do this. It just makes the soup way more flavorful.
- If you need to, replace the cream with half-and-half. With recipes like this, I prefer to go all out haha. You can't beat real cream in my opinion.
- This is not a thick soup.
- This soup makes yummy leftovers. If you freeze the soup, it can separate a bit when reheating, though, so reheat on a low temperature and stir it well.
Own an Instant Pot? Try my Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe.
Have you tried Zuppa Toscana? Leave a comment below.
Questions? Let me know!
Zuppa Toscana Copycat Recipe
- 1 (17.6 ounce) pack Italian sausages
- 5 strips of bacon (thick cut works best)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups chicken broth (beef works too)
- 4 cups water
- 4 large red potatoes roughly cubed (leave skins on)
- 1 dash Italian seasoning
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1 small bunch of kale torn into bite-size pieces (remove stems)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Using kitchen shears (or a knife), cut the bacon into small pieces and add it to the pot. Cook the bacon for a few minutes over medium-high heat. I like to give the bacon a bit of a head start so it gets nice and crispy.
- Take the sausages out of their casings. I lightly slice the sausages length-wise with a sharp knife to make a slit in the casings, and then it's really easy to get them out. I then use my fingers to break the meat into bite-size pieces and add them to the soup pot as I go.
- While the sausages and bacon cook, I chop the onion and potatoes, making sure to give the pot a stir occasionally.
- When the sausages and bacon are nicely browned and getting crispy, stir in the onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, water, potatoes, and Italian seasoning to the pot.
- Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes and onions are tender.
- Add kale, cream, and salt and pepper and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until the kale is soft and wilted.
- If you're worried about calories, you could probably use fewer sausages than I do without changing the taste of the soup too much. You can drain some of the fat too if you wish. I keep it in for flavor!
- Adapted from one of the many copycat Zuppa Toscana recipes out there. I can't remember which one (I did try to find it) - I memorized it and adapted it quite a while ago.
- I use a 5-pack of Johnsonville Mild Italian sausages in this recipe.