Having traveled in Italy more than once and being somewhat of a self-proclaimed food snob, I certainly know what authentic Italian food should taste like. This being said, I have something that I need to say about the Olive Garden.
I LOVE IT, OK?! Stop judging me, all of you!
OK it is not the most “authentic” Italian in the world, but it is certainly a comforting place to eat. As soon as we learned how to drive my high school friends and I would go there for “fancy” dinners on the weekends. Zach and I may or may not have gone there on the first day of our honeymoon on our drive up to Quebec City. Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks for $5? Yes, please.
But does Olive Garden use the freshest, healthiest, real food ingredients? Methinks not. And so, I present to you a copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana, a very popular soup from their menu, made 100% clean/unprocessed.
It’s oh-so-much-better than the restaurant. Seriously. As our friend Nikhil said after eating this the other day, “I have a happy food baby in my tummy!” Which is very different from the famous post-Olive Garden lament of “Good LORD! I feel like a beached whale! Somebody roll me out of here!”
Seriously, of all the differences Zach and I have noticed from switching to eating clean food, this is the biggest. After eating, even if it is a large portion, we never feel “gross” after. You all know what I’m talking about. No need to bust out the old maternity pants or unbutton your jeans after eating real food!
This six-ingredient recipe is SOUPer easy (see what I did there?!) and takes about a half hour total time to make. I made mine with spinach, but you can use kale as the Olive Garden does, if you wish. I also used hot Italian sausage, but sweet can be used as well. Make sure you check that the sausage you buy doesn’t have any horrible ingredients like nitrates or nitrites!
|Better-Than-Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana|| || |
- Brown sausage in a large pot over medium heat
- When cooked, add onions and saute until softened (about 3 minutes).
- Add stock and potatoes; cook for approximately 20 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked)
- Add milk, spinach, and pepper and heat until spinach wilts and soup is heated through, approximately 5 minutes.