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Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe

If you’ve ever craved the rich, comforting flavors of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, you’re in the right place.

Making this iconic soup at home is easier than you might think.

This one-pot wonder combines Italian sausage, crispy bacon, kale, and tender potatoes in a creamy broth that’s sure to be a hit at your dinner table.

I particularly love how the spicy sausage pairs perfectly with the earthy kale and smooth potatoes.

A key trick is to cook the bacon and sausage first, using their rendered fat to sauté the onions and garlic for added depth.

Grab your ingredients, and let’s get started on making this delicious soup a staple in your household.

How to Make Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe

olive garden zuppa toscana recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 4 slices Bacon
  • 5 cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups Kale (chopped)
  • 5 medium Potatoes (sliced)
  • 1 large Onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1:

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until it is crispy.

Remove the bacon from the pot and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.

Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot.

Step 2:

Add the Italian sausage to the pot.

Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it is browned and cooked through.

Then remove the sausage from the pot and set it aside.

Step 3:

Add the chopped onion to the pot and sauté until it becomes translucent.

This typically takes about 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional minute.

Step 4:

Pour in the chicken broth and add the sliced potatoes.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Step 5:

Add the cooked sausage back into the pot.

Also, crumble the crispy bacon and add it as well.

Stir to combine.

Step 6:

Add the chopped kale and let the soup simmer until the kale is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.

Step 7:

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the heavy cream.

Let the soup heat through, but do not let it boil.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tips and Tricks for Making This Recipe

two bowls tuscan soup

Use Fresh Ingredients

For the best flavor, use fresh kale, potatoes, and garlic. Fresh ingredients can make a large difference in the final taste.

Adjust the Spice Level

You can make the soup spicier by adding more crushed red pepper flakes. If you prefer a milder soup, you can leave them out entirely.

Prepping Ahead

Chop all your veggies and prepare ingredients in advance. This makes the cooking process smoother and faster.

Letting it Simmer

Let the soup simmer at a low temperature after adding the cream to meld the flavors without curdling the cream.

Variations

Feel free to switch out the kale with spinach if you prefer. Spinach will cook faster and give a slightly different texture to the soup.

This guide should give you all the confidence you need to make delicious Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana at home.

What to Serve with Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Fresh Green Salad

A crisp, fresh green salad pairs wonderfully with the hearty and creamy Zuppa Toscana.

You can keep it simple with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette.

This adds a refreshing contrast that makes for a balanced meal.

Garlic Bread

Classic garlic bread is a must-have when serving Zuppa Toscana.

The crunchy exterior and soft, buttery interior complement the rich soup.

It’s perfect for soaking up the flavorful broth.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are an unexpected, but delightful side dish option.

You could go with bell peppers, zucchini, and asparagus for a colorful and healthy addition.

The slight char from the grill adds a nice depth of flavor.

Caprese Salad

A Caprese salad offers a fresh and vibrant contrast to the hearty soup.

With ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze, it’s light yet satisfying.

This option brings an Italian flair to your meal.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

For something a bit out of the ordinary, try serving roasted sweet potatoes with your Zuppa Toscana.

The natural sweetness and caramelization from roasting add a unique element to your meal.

They’re easy to prepare and offer a pleasant twist.

Variations and Substitutions

Dairy-Free Options

You can make Zuppa Toscana dairy-free by substituting the heavy cream for coconut milk or almond milk.

Be sure to use the solid white cream portion of the coconut milk for a creamier texture.

Alternatively, you can use other plant-based milk, but the soup might be a bit thinner.

Low-Carb/Keto Options

If you are following a low-carb or keto diet, replace the potatoes with cauliflower florets.

Cauliflower gives the soup a similar texture while keeping the carb count low.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets to mimic the size of sliced potatoes.

Different Greens

If kale is not to your liking, you can use spinach or beet greens as an alternative.

These greens will still give the soup a nutritious boost and a slightly different flavor.

Remember to add the greens at the end to avoid overcooking them.

Protein Variations

Instead of Italian sausage, you can use turkey sausage, or even chicken sausage, to vary the protein.

If you prefer a less spicy soup, opt for mild sausage or use a mix of half spicy and half mild.

Try adding crispy bacon bits for an extra layer of flavor and crunch.

How to Store Leftover Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Use Airtight Containers

To keep your leftover Zuppa Toscana fresh, store it in airtight containers.

Keep the soup in the refrigerator and it should be good for 3-4 days.

Freeze for Longer Storage

If you don’t plan to eat the leftovers soon, you can freeze the soup.

Pour the soup into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some room for expansion.

Label the containers with the date, and you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thawing Frozen Soup

When you’re ready to eat the soup, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

This will help maintain the texture and flavor of the Zuppa Toscana.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overcooking the Potatoes

You want your potatoes to be tender, but not mushy.

Check on them frequently as they cook, and pull them off the heat as soon as they are fork-tender.

Overcooked potatoes can turn your soup into an unappealing, starchy mess.

Using Too Much Red Pepper Flakes

It’s easy to get carried away with red pepper flakes.

Start with a small amount and taste before adding more.

Too much spice can overwhelm the flavors, so adjust cautiously.

Using Low-Quality Sausage

Avoid using low-quality sausage, as it can negatively affect the overall flavor and texture of your soup.

Opt for high-quality Italian sausage for the best taste.

If possible, choose sausage that is freshly made from a trusted butcher.

olive garden zuppa toscana recipe

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe

Making this iconic soup at home is easier than you might think.
This one-pot wonder combines Italian sausage, crispy bacon, kale, and tender potatoes in a creamy broth that’s sure to be a hit at your dinner table.
I particularly love how the spicy sausage pairs perfectly with the earthy kale and smooth potatoes.
A key trick is to cook the bacon and sausage first, using their rendered fat to sauté the onions and garlic for added depth.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Ingredients
  
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage mild or spicy
  • 4 slices Bacon
  • 5 cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups Kale chopped
  • 5 medium Potatoes sliced
  • 1 large Onion diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes optional
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
Instructions
 
  • Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until it is crispy.
  • Remove the bacon from the pot and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot.
  • Add the Italian sausage to the pot.
  • Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it is browned and cooked through.
  • Then remove the sausage from the pot and set it aside.
  • Add the chopped onion to the pot and sauté until it becomes translucent.
  • This typically takes about 5 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and add the sliced potatoes.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked sausage back into the pot.
  • Also, crumble the crispy bacon and add it as well.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Add the chopped kale and let the soup simmer until the kale is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the heavy cream.
  • Let the soup heat through, but do not let it boil.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Passionate chef, in love with everything related to food and cooking it to perfection!
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