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Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup) is one of the best recipes for soup that I’ve ever eaten. Ever. The ingredients are simple enough~ and there’s nothing fancy about the way you cook them. But when they come together magic happens in your mouth. Even thinking about it now causes some cravings; I’m probably going to have to make up another batch after I write this post!

Zuppa Toscana is a copycat recipe from the Olive Garden restaurant

This recipe originated from ‘The Olive Garden’ restaurant. It was so popular people started to experiment at home to see if they could come close to cooking up a batch that tasted like the original. In doing research for this recipe, I came across a few variations. This one I’m sharing with you in my opinion is the most accurate.

The ingredients for this soup are simple, yet lovely together. Italian sausage, bacon and minced onion are sauteed and combined with chicken stock, potato slices, coarsely chopped kale and cream (half and half). I will admit: I don’t eat kale very often, but this is one recipe that it is perfect for. Don’t leave it out! All these flavors combine to create a savory and flavorful soup that you just can’t get enough of. Seriously.

A few tips: I have written the recipe instructions so that you slice the potato while the meat is cooking on the stove top. I noticed that if I did it before I started cooking, during recipe prep, that the potatoes had started to turn brown before I got them in the pot. Just remember while slicing the potato, to take some time to stir your sauteing meet around frequently, so it cooks evenly.
Also a word about olive oil: In this recipe the olive oil called for is not Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or EVOO). The label should just say ‘olive oil’ on it. There is a difference. When a recipe calls for olive oil and you’re not sure which one to use, check to see if it’s going to be cooked. You don’t want to cook/heat EVOO. Yep Rachel Ray, I said it. EVOO is untouched from the press (hence the name) and is made to be served at room temperature. It burns at a much lower temperature that regular (refined) olive oil.  If you’d like to use olive oil to saute your meats or veggies~ that’s great. Just make sure you’re using the right oil. The smoking point is higher (the point at which it’s the correct temperature to add your ingredients to saute) and it’s made for cooking. EVOO is best in vinaigrettes, salads, bread dipping, or drizzled over your Italian entree just before serving for an extra dimension of flavor.
Whew. I’ll get of my soap box now :0)
If I could jump out of the screen and tell you to try this soup today, I would! I love it and it’s my new favorite. I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Give it a try!
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Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Super delicious soup made with Italian sausage, Kale, potato, chicken broth and cheese. Tastes just like the real deal at the restaurant!


Units Scale
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, hot or mild
  • 4 oz bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, skins washed
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup packed kale chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup finely shredded Romano cheese for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Crumble sausage (remove casings) and cook, breaking large clumps apart, until sausage is fully cooked and browned. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate or bowl. Remove all but 1 teaspoon fat from the pan.
  2. Add diced bacon and saute for about 5 minutes. Add onion and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Saute until the bacon is cooked through (not crunchy) and onions are soft, about 5 minutes more.
  3. While the sausage and bacon cook, slice the potatoes lengthwise, and slice each half lengthwise again. Slice each portion crosswise into thin slices approximately 1/8 inch thick and set aside.
  4. Add the chicken broth, water, sliced potatoes, sausage, kale, sugar, salt and pepper to the bacon/onion mixture. Bring soup just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender. Remove excess fat from the surface with a large spoon or ladle. Stir in the half and half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cheese over individual servings. Garnish with seasoned croutons if desired and serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Italian

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  1. mmm- this sounds so good! Excited to add it to my dinner menu. I've always wanted to try kale, this sounds like a safe way to do so 🙂

  2. You are absolutely right! Thanks for clarifying that. I had read about it a long time ago and my brain must have switch around the info. Hence the name 'Virgin' because it hasn't been messed with! Ha ha ha :0) Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Hi, thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try the soup as this is one of my husband’s favorites.

      I just want to say that it’s nice that you acknowledge that you were mistaken about the olive oil, but shouldn’t you also remove that part of the post as it’s inaccurate and misleading? Not everyone will scroll down to read the comments and discover the misinformation.

      1. Hi Paloma! Thanks so much for your comment. You are right~ thanks so much for bringing that to my attention and I will update that post. I appreciate readers like you that help me be a better blogger!

  3. We LOVE this recipe and have made it many times. Delicious with homemade croutons floating on top!

    1. Sure Ruth! You may need to cook the potatoes a couple minutes longer than what the recipe calls for, depending on what size you cut the potatoes, but Yukon Gold’s will work just fine :0)

  4. I added the half and half in right away before the potatoes were cooked I hope it still turns out I have in a slow cooker on high?

    1. Hi Cheri!
      I just saw your comment; how did it turn out? I’m thinking it would still turn out fine, but I’d love to know!

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