Zuppa Tuscana Soup

Recently a dear friend inspired me with the idea of creating a mock Zuppa Tuscana recipe from the classic soup at Olive Garden. This has definitely been my favorite item on their menu for the occasions when we visited this restaurant. After experimenting with making it at home, and experiencing such wonderful results, I just had to share the recipe with you. I am sure there are many variations on the web, but this was our adaption. It is my favorite soup of all time, and my husband was quite impressed. It is a new regular on the menu now! Even with bacon (which is special occasion item at our house) and sausage, this dish cost less than $1 per serving, making it very frugal. Deliciously creamy, rich, and full of flavor, I am sure every family member will love it! Top with shredded parmesan cheese and you will be in heaven! ;)

1/2 lb bacon (preferably natural, nitrate free)
1/2 lb chicken Italian sausage or bulk sausage of your choice
4-6 potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minsed
6 cups chicken stock (you can easily replace some with water as you have available – I used 4 cups stock, 2 cups water)
2 cups whole milk, half & half, or raw cream
1 head of kale (5-6 leaves, as desired), chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese

In a small pan, cook the bacon. Save bacon grease, if desired. Cool and finely chop. In a large pot, cook the sausage, onions, and garlic (in bacon grease, if desired) until the sausage has browned. Crumble sausage as you cook it. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, turn it down to low and simmer for 20 minutes or so, just until the potatoes are tender. Add the milk, kale, and bacon and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes. Season to taste. Top with parmesan cheese for extra flavor! Enjoy! Makes 6-8 servings. Freezes well.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

66 Responses to Zuppa Tuscana Soup

  1. Mary Anne January 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    This is a family favorite. I make bulk chicken sausage. Use chicken thighs from Costco with skin and bones. Right now (1/2011) they are $.99/pound as opposed to $2.69/pound for skinless, boneless. I peel the skin, and cut the meat away from the bones and save that for making stock. Then grind the meat and add Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, fennel seed, garlic, and salt and pepper; mix thoroughly and voila! .5 pound of this sausage makes a pot of soup for the two of us for two days. My proportions are a little different and I use leftover bacon grease for sauteing the onions and herbs and spices, instead of actually cooking and adding bacon. Two potatoes, four cups liquid, same amount of kale, stuff like that. But this is really good AND very frugal. Especially since I can take the skin and bones and make delicious stock from them. It makes that $.99/pound really stretch!

  2. Jesica Ronning January 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Made this for supper tonight! My family gives it a two thumbs up! Chicken Curry is on the menu for tomorrow! :) Thank you for your great recipes!!!

  3. Robin December 13, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    We’ve been making a similar version for ages and it’s easily one of our favorite recipes. With just a little bit of red pepper flakes cooked with the sausage, this gets just a little heat (and we’re heat wimps). I actually like our homemade version much more than the OG one. The last time I was there, it was super salty and too spicy for me. And it’s SO yummy with cream!! Yum!! We’re actually making this for my mother in law next week!! Anyway, it’s an excellent recipe and I’m glad you have it for people to try!

  4. Jordanna June 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    This seems perfect, because almost all the ingredients are staples at our house. We buy the bacon ends and pieces, which makes it super affordable (we never eat strip bacon anyway.) I can’t wait to try it, the husband says he’s in a soup mood, despite the weather!

  5. Nancy March 17, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    We had this soup for dinner, served in homemade bread bowls. YUM! The only thing I did differently was instead of kale, I used spinach. Delicious!

    • Rebecca June 11, 2010 at 6:41 am #

      Where did you find the recipe for a bread bowl?

      • Jessica November 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

        You can use a large round loaf that you find at your local grocery store or see if you can find a recipe for bread that you can make at home without using a loaf pan.

        Once you have your round loaf of bread, cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the round (depending on how big it is). Then use a knife to cut a large circle in the middle of the bread being careful NOT to go too deep or too close to the edge of the loaf. Use the knife, a spoon, or your hands to pull this extra bread out to make your bowl, again, without going too deep and making sure to leave a thick enough side.

        You can use the left over bread from inside your newly formed bowl for dipping or you can cut it into small chunks of bread, place on a (lined) cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil or spray with butter or oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with spices of your choice. I LOVE garlic and basil! Bake for about 15 minutes (or just until crisp) at 350 and you have homemade croutons. SOOOO much yummier than store bought if you ask me!

  6. Stephanie March 17, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    Made this soup for dinner tonight and we LOVED it! Thank you so much! Many blessings!

  7. terri bonin March 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Thank you for your wonderful soup recipes. We are a soup loving family.

  8. Natasha March 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    My husband and I loved this soup. I hadn’t tried kale in soup, but it holds up quite nicely. Our only idea for the next time is that I may thicken the liquid so it is more of a chowder than a thin soup. But the flavor was so good!

  9. Shannon March 8, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    This is now one of our family favorites too. Thank you and God Bless!

  10. Gretchen February 4, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    This is an absolutely amazing soup! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  11. SnoWhite January 31, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Hi Lindsay — we made this last night for dinner and it was wonderful. Do you mind if I post our version and link back to you?

    • Lindsay February 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

      Yes, feel free to tweek and pass it on!

  12. Carolyn January 29, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    This has been MY favorite thing at Olive Garden for years, too! It is actually the ONLY reason I go there … plus the salad & breadsticks :-) I am excited to try this recipe. Thanks!!

  13. Elizabeth Ours January 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    I made this today and it was DELICIOUS! My 16 year old son said it was one of the best soups he has ever had!

  14. Natasha January 28, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    I’ve got to make this! So I linked it to my blog.

  15. Meaghan January 26, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    it was delicious – even though my husband was skeptical, and we didn’t use bacon, he absolutely loved it!! thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Kate January 25, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Just made this today…fantastic! We will be making it again!

  17. Kara January 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    I made this tonight, and neither my husband nor I really liked it at first. It was ok. However, I had also pureed some for my texture-picky daughter (she’s a year) and I liked hers. So I pureed the rest of it, and we really liked it that way. Neither of us could really figure out WHY we liked to better that way, but I really changed it and made it yummy.

  18. Erin Wilson January 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    WOW!!! Another fantastic recipe!! My husband could not stop raving about this soup and I can see it is going to be one of our new favorites!! Thank you so much!

  19. Barbara L. January 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Thank you for giving me a meal the whole family enjoys! I coupled it with a homemade foccocia bread, and what a hit! Love, love, love your blog. God bless your sweet endeavors.

  20. Rachel January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Long time loiter first time commentor. I used this recipe and made the soup on Tuesday. It was FANTASTIC tasted just like the one from The Olive Garden. Thanks so much for supplying the recipe.

  21. Amber January 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!! This is my absolute favorite soup and it’s the only thing I order on the occasion we eat at Olive Garden. Can’t wait to try making it!
    And while I’m here I just want to thank you for your blog! It has been such a blessing and encouragement to me. May the Lord bless you richly!

  22. Susan January 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    My family of 7 just had this for dinner tonight. Delicious! I substituted chopped fresh spinach as I had no kale….it was not as crunchy as kale would have been, but still added a nice dark green color and of course, the vitamins. Thanks for the recipe!!

  23. Alison @ Hospitality Haven January 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    I just love soup at this time of year. Thanks for posting a deliciously creamy one!

  24. Molly White January 20, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Wow! Thanks for your timely post! I’m striving to prepare more foods that please my dear husband, and he really enjoys this yummy soup when we eat at Olive Garden. I can’t wait to surprise him with it tomorrow night!

  25. Carrie @ Organic and Thrifty January 20, 2010 at 12:24 am #

    Oh, this sounds amazing! I am bursting at the seams with potatoes from the CSA and just got 2 bunches of kale as well! New Seasons, I just discovered, has Italian Sausage for $2.49/lb or something close to that nowadays, which is a great price for free-range, nitrate-free sausage!

    I was going to make that very dish this week, and think I will throw some navy beans in as well!

    Thanks for your blog. I’ve been SOOO blessed by implementing the morning routine and keeping my “daily scripture” in my back pocket! I think of you whenever I do it!

    Bless you,

    Carrie

  26. M.I.A in Minnesota January 19, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! I LOVE SOUP SEASON! Now, I just wish my kids were as enthusiastic about it as I am. : )

  27. crystin January 19, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    thanks for sharing this- my husband has wanted to figure out this recipe for years! I’m so excited to try this and it sounds like winner. :)

  28. Camille January 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Yummy ~ This looks fabulous! I will have to give it a try ~ thanks for sharing with us! :)

    Blessings,
    Camille

  29. Amber January 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Love this recipes, thank you! My hubby and I order this soup every time we go to Olive Garden. It’s delish! Thanks.

  30. Tiffany Clark January 19, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    I made this last night for me and my husband. We both loved it! I didn’t know the sausage was supposed to be crumbly- I used chicken breakfast sausage links. It came out really good. I like the idea of the sausage crumbling in it though. I’ll have to try that next time.

    Thanks for sharing and know that the hard work you do and in keeping this blog is the best ministry for a home-maker ever and it never ceases to inspire me. I aspire to be like you and appreciate this blog and love learning from you.

    thanks a trillion!

    Tiffany Clark

  31. Kelly January 19, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    While I don’t eat at Olive Garden very often (infact, I don’t remember the last time I was there), that soup IS fabulous! Can’t wait to try that out…with some salad and crusty bread!!! Now how about a copycat nutritional recipe for their tarimisu? Then I’ll REALLY be in heaven!

  32. Shannon Hazleton January 19, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    I made the soup last night and everyone loved it! Thanks again for sharing.

  33. Jen January 19, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    We LOVE this soup; it’s my husband’s favorite. I’ve been making it for years, very similar to this recipe. The only differences are that I cook Italian sausage links in the oven for 30 minutes, saute the garlic and onion in the bacon fat, and add the crumbled bacon and sliced sausage after cooking the potatoes. This soup is SO GOOD!!! :)

  34. Brittney January 18, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    Looks so yummy!!! Thanks for sharing!

  35. nicole January 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    Wow, that looks and sounds so good. I needed a new soup recipe, as I dont want the boys in the house to get tired of my potato soup recipe that I make often. This actually has a lot of similar ingredients too, so its not like I need to change the shopping list much…and boy I cant believe how frugal it is!

  36. Julie H January 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    I saw your tweet about this and added it to my menu this week…thanks for posting the recipe! Yum!

  37. Alicia January 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Is there any other greens that can replace the kale? Like spinach?

    • Lindsay January 19, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

      You are more than welcome to try a different green, like spinach. I have not attempted it. Kale is so wonderful in this because it gives it a slightly crunchy texture and holds it shape well even when cooked. Spinach would fall apart and probably not look appealing.

  38. Erica Lea January 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    I love that soup. My friend recreated it before I had tried it a Olive Garden, and I was impresses. Thanks for sharing your version – it looks delicious!

  39. Stacy January 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing this! It looks so cozy and delicious. Also very frugal, which is my favorite!
    Thanks again!

  40. Jen January 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I love this soup at The Olive Garden and I’m excited to try out this recipe! I have one (silly?) question, though, is there a difference between chicken stock and chicken broth? Thanks so much for your blog. I love reading it and learning new ideas from your wonderful experience!

    • Lindsay January 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

      No, chicken stock and broth are the same. Sorry for the confusion.

      • Kate January 25, 2010 at 7:59 am #

        Actually they are different. Stock is made w/meat, water and veggies. Broth is made by using just bones and water.

      • Kate January 25, 2010 at 8:00 am #

        And to add, stock will always have more flavor than broth.

  41. Jenny January 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    This looks fantastic; I can’t wait to make it. When I cook anything that has crumbled bacon, instead of cooking, then crumbling, I snip the raw bacon into tiny pieces with my kitchen scissors, then cook. It cooks faster, and it’s already crumbled. Just my tip for the day!

    Love your blog!

  42. joanna January 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    when we go to OG my husband always gets this soup. he will be thrilled to be able to have this at home. it looks easy too. thanks for posting the recipe!

  43. SnoWhite January 18, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    that looks wonderful! I think this will be on our menu soon :)

  44. Andrea @ The Train to Crazy January 18, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    That looks so good! Thanks for sharing!

  45. Whitney January 18, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Zuppa Toscana is my absolute favorite soup. Every time my father-in-law comes to visit we have to go to Olive Garden and I get Zuppa Toscana and salad. I have had to eliminate dairy from my diet while I am breastfeeding my daughter. I wonder if another kind of milk would drastically change the taste. Oh, and don’t forget about the red pepper flakes! Granted sometimes when we eat there are red pepper flakes and sometimes there isn’t. Thanks for the recipe!!

  46. Patty Hicks January 18, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Thanks for the good soup recipes…one can never have enough good soup recipes for winter I think. Its funny you posted this as I just found my FoodDay version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Tuscana yesterday. I love this soup. Now I’m off to compare the two recipes.

  47. Alene January 18, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    My mouth is literally watering. Can’t wait to make this.

  48. Rebecca January 18, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    This looks really delicious, and I think the kids will like it. I just have one question (and it seems silly, but I’m going to ask it anyway) is the chicken sausage the kind that you slice? or the kind that is crumbly when it’s cooked?

    And also I read that your kids are not feeling well and I will pray for you now as I get ready for our day.
    Thanks for taking time to write your blog. I love your recipes and from you I learned about soaking grains! I received a grain mill for christmas and it’s been such a blessing. :)

    • Lindsay January 18, 2010 at 10:00 am #

      I just use the bulk chicken sausage or sausage links. It is the kind that crumbles when it cooks. Thanks for your prayers!

  49. April January 18, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    Um, yes–I will definitely be making this this week!

  50. Shannon Hazleton January 18, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    I’m so glad I checked your blog before heading out to the grocery store! I’m amending my menu for the week to add this soup. I can’t believe it’s so frugal. It looks delicious too. Thanks for sharing. ;)