Easy Zuppa Toscana
This popular and tasty soup is loaded with Italian sausage, potatoes, and kale, some bacon for good measure, all in a rich and creamy broth. There’s a good reason this tasty version of Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana is so popular! It’s normally brothy but if you prefer you can easily thicken it up - more details below. This soup’s Italian name implies Tuscan flavors and the traditional Zuppa Toscana usually consists of kale, zucchini and other veggies, cannellini beans, potatoes, and tomato or tomato puree and sometimes bread like a Ribollita, but this popular Americanized version is made with a cream based savory broth that gets a lot of flavour from the sausage and bacon - likely more indulgent than the classic but no less delicious! There are plenty of recipes out there for this version and they are fabulous - I tried to keep this one simple - hope y’all enjoy!!
Easy Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe Ingredients
- Bacon & Italian Sausage - both add so much flavour to the soup - after the bacon is crispy and the sausage is browned I like to remove a ¼ of it to a paper towel lined plate reserving them to top the soup when it is served - feel free to do this or just remove all of the bacon after its crisp before adding the sausage so all of it stays crisp - reserving some of the sausage is optional - or leave them both in the soup. Feel free to use thick cut bacon or regular and sweet Italian sausage or spicy Italian sausage
- Onion & Garlic - they both add to the flavour base of this soup - add as much or as little as you like
- Spices - I use Italian seasoning and chili flakes but feel free to add in any other spices you might feel go with the flavours of this soup or leave as is and adjust amounts to taste
- Flour - this is to thicken the broth slightly - for a thicker version of this soup you will need a little more or you can use cornstarch for a gluten free version - see notes below about thickening the soup further. You can omit if you prefer this soup quite brothy or gluten-free
- Broth/Stock - I like to use chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Potatoes - Yukon gold potatoes or red skin potatoes are a good choice for soups. The waxy potatoes have thinner skin and are lower in starch which helps them hold up more in soups. You can also use use russet potatoes in this recipe as they help thicken the broth slightly.
- Kale - Kale is a vegetable that is a member of the cabbage family. Even if you don’t like kale, I still think you will like this soup. You could also use spinach too if you prefer. I used curly kale for this recipe but you could also use a darker lacinato kale or Tuscan kale to keep with the theme
- __Heavy Cream - this adds loads of richness to the soup - feel free to use heavy cream or half and half or evaporated milk for a lighter version
- Parmesan Cheese - I like to stir some right into the soup but feel free to save it all for topping the soup with when you serve it
- Fresh Herbs - I like to garnish with either fresh chopped parsley or fresh torn basil
- Extra Add Ins - feel free to toss in some Cannellini beans for some added protein or even cooked shredded chicken or orzo, or other veggies if desired (like chopped carrots and celery while you sauté the onions)
- Variations - For a dairy-free version use a plant based creamer or coconut milk or coconut cream
Instructions For Making This Easy Zuppa Toscana Recipe
- Crisp the Bacon and Brown the Sausage - remove and reserve ¼ of the bacon and sausage onto paper towel lined plate for garnishing top of soup when serving if desired
- Add the onion, garlic and seasoning and sauté until onion is softened
- Add remaining ingredients except for the cream - the potatoes and broth and simmer until potatoes are tender.
- Add cream and kale and simmer a few minutes more. Then stir in the parmesan cheese
- Ladle soup out and garnish with crumbled bacon and sausage along with more grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley or torn basil
How to Make Zuppa Toscana Thicker?
The soup is traditionally a broth’y soup but I like to sprinkle flour over the sausage and bacon before adding the broth sort of like making a roux or béchamel (there is enough fat from the sausage and bacon to not have to add butter) Stir and cook for a minute then stir in the broth and cook as directed in recipe. The amount of flour I add in the recipe gives a little more body to the soup but it’s still not super thick - you will need to add more or….
If you want it even thicker you can mash some of the potatoes in the soup, or mix 2 Tbsp of cornstarch with 2-3 Tbsp of additional heavy cream or broth or water. Drizzle into the simmering soup while stirring until soup reaches desired consistency. You may not need all of the cornstarch mixture.
Storage & Freezing
- STORAGE - Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and is easily reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- FREEZING - Soups with dairy don’t always freeze well - they have a tendency to separate. So if you’d like to freeze this soup, I suggest not adding the cream or the kale to it - allowing it to cool then freeze in an airtight container for up to one month. Thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat stovetop - then stir in the cream and the kale and simmer for 5 min or until kale is wilted.
More Cozy & Hearty Soups You Will Love:
- 4-6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 lb ground spicy or mild Italian sausage
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes / chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons flour for thickening (optional)
- 4 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
- 4 large red potaoes (Yukon Gold or russet potatoes), peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ bunch kale (a couple of handfuls- approx 3 cups ) de-stemmed and torn into bite sized piece
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh chopped Parsley or torn basil for serving
- In a large pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add chopped bacon and sauté until browned (5-7 mins). Add Italian sausage, breaking it up with wooden spoon and sauté until cooked through (5 min).
- Remove ¼ of the bacon and sausage to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside for garnishing soup later. (optional)
- Spoon out all but 2 tablespoons of the oil or grease in pot if needed or use a paper towel to dab it away or drain off if that is easier
- Stir in the onions and garlic, Italian seasoning and chili flakes and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are softened
- If you are adding the flour sprinkle it over the meat and veggies in pot at this time and stir well
- Add the potatoes to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to release all the brown bits.
- Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Lower the heat to medium heat, add in the cream and kale, and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the kale is softened and wilted.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Ladle soup into bowls then sprinkle over remaining bacon and sausage along with more parmesan cheese and torn or chopped fresh basil or parsley
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and is easily reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- The video and the photos show the soup brothy without the addition of the flour to thicken the broth - feel free to add the flour for a thicker version - see below
- How to Make Zuppa Toscana Thicker?
The soup is traditionally a broth’y soup but I like to sprinkle flour over the sausage and bacon before adding the broth sort of like making a roux or béchamel (there is enough fat from the sausage and bacon to not have to add butter) Stir and cook for a minute then stir in the broth and cook as directed in recipe. The amount of flour I add in the recipe gives a little more body to the soup but it’s still not super thick - you will need to add more or…
- If you want it even thicker you can mash some of the potatoes in the soup, or mix 2 Tbsp of cornstarch with 2-3 Tbsp of additional heavy cream or broth or water. Drizzle into the simmering soup while stirring until soup reaches desired consistency. You may not need all of the cornstarch mixture.