Making the Olive Garden’s famous Zuppa Toscana at home is so easy, and you only need SIX ingredients! This creamy sausage and kale soup with potatoes is gluten-free, it takes only about a half an hour to make, and it’s kid-friendly.
I made mine with kale, since I have more kale than I know what to do with growing in my garden. But spinach (baby or adult), or other random greens, such as beet greens, will work.
It’s a great way to use up any greens you have lingering around your fridge about to go bad.
You can use any kind of Italian sausage you want. I prefer spicy, so I usually make this with hot Italian sausage. Sweet or mild work very well too.
Having traveled in Italy more than once and being somewhat of a self-proclaimed food snob, I like to think I 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 so it’s 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, wholesome ingredients? Methinks not.
And so, I present to you a copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana, a very popular soup from their menu meaning a “Tuscan-Style Soup,” made with 100% clean, unprocessed ingredients.
It’s oh-so-much-better than the restaurant. Seriously.
As my friend said after eating this, “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!”
This soup is on the decadent end of things, since it’s made with pork sausage and half and half. You can get even more decadent if you want and use heavy cream instead!
Or, you can lighten it up a bit. Use whole milk instead of half and half. Or, for a dairy free/paleo/whole30 version, you can use a can of unsweetened coconut milk.
You could even make this Zuppa Toscana vegan by using a vegan “sausage” and coconut milk!
This soup is creamy, but not thick. The half and half gives it a super rich flavor, that is enhanced because you add it at the end and don’t boil it.
If you want it to be thick, you can add a little flour to the sausage and onions before adding the stock, like in this easy chicken and dumplings recipe. Try 1/4 cup- that should do it!
Here’s the printable recipe! Enjoy!
Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)
- 1 lb. Italian sausage sweet, mild, or hot is fine, casings removed if in links
- 1 lb. baby red potatoes thinly sliced to about 1/4" (or larger potatoes, quartered, then sliced)
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup half and half whole milk or cream can also be used
- 1 cup roughly chopped kale spinach or other greens, like beet, can also be used
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 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.
- This soup reheats well if you want to make it in advance, or enjoy it as leftovers. But I would not recommend freezing it, as it will affect the texture of the potatoes.
- For a dairy free version, use a can of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk instead of half and half.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.