This Zuppa Toscana is a homemade copycat recipe of the Olive Garden favorite, yet so much better! Make it easy with Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, and bacon.
One of my favorite restaurant soups is this right here, Zuppa Toscana. Now I can make it easily at home, in my own kitchen, with fresh ingredients and adapt to our likings. This famous Tuscan soup is packed with Italian sausage (I used mild, but you can go for spicy), potatoes, kale, and bacon. it’s not only filling and perfect for the cold winter months, but delicious. I serve it with crusty bread or biscuits, to dip in this rich and flavorful soup!
- Italian sausage (I used mild)
- golden potatoes
- Italian seasoning
- vegetable stock
- half and half
Step 1: the flavor base
- Start by cooking bacon in a large soup pot. Once crispy, remove it onto a plate.
- Add onion and garlic to bacon grease and saute until the onion is translucent. Add seasoning and saute, stirring often, for 1 minute. It will become very fragrant.
- Add sausage and cook until done.
Step 2: add liquids and potatoes
- Add water and vegetable stock and deglaze the bottom of your pot (scrape any cooked on flavor bits with a wooden spoon).
- Add potatoes and cook on medium-low heat until tender.
Step 3: the finish
- Add kale and sausage back to the soup. Simmer just until the kale is wilted.
- Stir in half and half and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Can I make this soup in the Instant Pot?
Absolutely! Saute bacon, onion, garlic, seasoning and sausage in the Instant Pot, the same way as you would in a soup pot. Once you add liquids and potatoes, close the lid, press “manual” setting and set the timer to 3 minutes. Once the timer is done, wait 2 minutes, then release the pressure. Add kale, sausage and stir in. Wait at least 5 minutes, then add half and half and stir it in. Season with salt and pepper.
Can I make this soup in the slow cooker?
Yes! Cook bacon, onion, garlic, seasoning and sausage in a pan. Add to your slow cooker. Add liquids and potatoes. Cook on low for 3 hours. Add kale, sausage and half and half. Stir in. Season with salt and pepper.
If you know ahead of time you will freeze this soup, do not add half and half or cream. Place completely cooled soup in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. If you are freezing leftovers (with cream), make sure to whisk well while reheating.
How long does it last in the fridge?
Store leftovers in a container with lid, in the fridge, for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stove or in a microwave.
Is this recipe authentic?
This version is simply a restaurant copycat. If you want to make it classic style, add cannellini beans, celery, carrots, and even zucchini. Serve it with toasted bread.
More soup recipes:
For more recipes like this one, feel free to browse our Soup Category.
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- 16 oz Italian sausage I used mild
- 4 slices of bacon
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
- 4 yellow or golden potatoes sliced thin
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large soup pot, cook chopped bacon. Once crispy, remove it onto a plate. Set aside. If your bacon is very fatty and there is a lot of grease in the pot, remove half into a bowl and set aside. You can always add more later if needed.
- Add onion to bacon grease and saute until the onion is translucent. Stir in garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Add seasoning and saute, stirring often, for 1 minute. It will become very fragrant.
- Add sausage and cook until done. Remove onto a plate.
- Add vegetable stock and water to pot and scrape any cooked on bits from the bottom of the pot. This is called deglazing. You want all the flavor in your soup.
- Add potatoes and cook over medium-low heat until tender. It should take about 12 to 15 minutes. Check the potatoes with a fork often.
- Once the potatoes are done, add sausage and bacon back to the soup and stir in.
- Add kale and stir in. Simmer until wilted.
- Add half and half (with cornstarch if you want to thicken the soup) and stir in.
- Season soup with salt and pepper before serving.
- You can use spicy Italian sausage for more kick or add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes along with Italian seasoning.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
- You can use heavy cream in place of half and half. The nutrition value will change.