Just one pot and 30 to 40 minutes is all you need for this rich and comforting Zuppa Toscana. It’s loaded with flavor and will have everyone craving seconds!
What is Zuppa Toscana?
When the cold weather hits, what’s more comforting than a creamy bowl of soup? Marie here again from Sugar Salt Magic and Carrian and Cade have so kindly let me drop in with this dreamy goodness to give you all the cozy feels.
A meal in itself, this thick and chunky Tuscan sausage soup is best served with just some crusty bread on the side for dunking. You could try this Easy No Knead Artisan Bread.
Technically, ‘Zuppa Toscana’ is Italian for ‘Tuscan soup’. Traditionally, it includes ingredients like kale, beans, potatoes and even pasta. This version, and probably the most well known, is an Olive Garden copycat Zuppa Toscana, or at least inspired by it. It has a few less ingredients than the traditional version but does not compromise on flavour.
Your family will adore this Zuppa Toscana! It’s easy and totally delicious and it may be wise to make a double batch too.
What Is in Zuppa Toscana?
This copycat Zuppa Toscana recipe includes some flavorful, quality ingredients like;
- Spicy Italian sausage
- Fresh thyme
- Red pepper flakes
- Chicken broth
- Baby potatoes
What Potatoes Should I Use?
The best potatoes for soup like this — where you want chunks of potato — are ones with a lower starch content. I like to use baby potatoes but you can use regular white potatoes or Yukon Golds as well. Use what you prefer, but it’s important to use a potato that will hold its shape and not go mushy and to cut them into bite sized pieces.
What Herbs Should I Use?
I like to add fresh thyme to my recipe. The background flavor it gives is subtle and lovely. You could use a little Italian seasoning or dried thyme or oregano instead. If using one of these dried herbs, just use 1 teaspoon.
Hubby and I ate countless bowls of this soup while I was recipe testing and we both happily devoured every single one. The flavor is intense and incredibly Moorish. It filled our bellies perfectly and taking only around 30 minutes to make and one pot, it makes for a simple dinner.
Can I Add Other Vegetables?
Absolutely! If you’d like to increase the amount of vegetables in this soup, carrot is perfect to add in at the same time as the potatoes – just like I did with this Creamy Turkey Corn Chowder.
Mushrooms have an earthiness and absorb flavours from other ingredients so they also work really well. I like my mushrooms cooked separately and right after the sausage is the perfect time, then set them aside with the sausage and add them back at the same time too.
How to Make Zuppa Toscana
- The process starts with browning bacon, then separately browning and crumbling the Italian sausage and setting them aside for later.
- Next, the onion, celery and garlic are cooked for a few minutes until softened. You add just a little flour to help the soup thicken, then follow it up with broth, fresh thyme, red pepper flakes and chopped potatoes. The potatoes are boiled in the broth for around 6 minutes until they are fork tender.
- Now we add back the sausage and a good couple of handfuls of roughly chopped kale. I like Tuscan kale but you can use spinach or silverbeet as well. This is cooked in the broth for just a few minutes before …
- … adding the cream. Now, this just needs to come to a simmer and it’s ready to serve.
I never used to consider myself a ‘soup person’ but these days, there is never a lack of containers of frozen soup in my freezer ready to go at a moments notice. Especially my Roasted Tomato Soup that I serve with itty bitty grilled cheese sandwiches and this Better than Grandmas Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup is another that will make that list.
Can You Freeze Zuppa Toscana?
Cream based soups don’t freeze so well as they tend to be very grainy on reheating. There is a way you can get around this though.
With all the ingredients added, except the cream, cool the soup down and freeze in portions. To finish the soup, add as many portions as you require to a saucepan over low heat and stir as it thaws and reheats. Once it gets to a boil, you can add the cream, bring it back to a simmer and serve.
You can also freeze it as one large portion and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
How Long Will Zuppa Toscana Keep?
Zuppa Toscana will keep well for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The cream may separate from the broth but a quick shake up will reincorporate it, no problem.
Tips for Making Tuscan Kale Soup
Italian Sausage: I like to use spicy Italian sausage in this Tuscan kale soup but, if you want a milder heat, feel free to use mild sausage. Italian sausage is such a versatile meat too. Being already seasoned it’s perfect for adding to soups or pastas just like this Skillet Italian Sausage with Penne.
Spice level: You can also adjust the red pepper flakes to your preferred spice level when making this Zuppa Toscana soup.
Kale: Be sure to pull the kale leaves off the stem before chopping them up for the soup. Kale stems are very chewy and can be tough to eat.
More Easy Soup Recipes You’ll Love:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Ultimate Cheeseburger Soup
- Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
- Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Easy Cauliflower Chowder
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- All of our soups and stews!
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One-Pot Zuppa Toscana
- 4 Strips bacon rashers , diced
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
- 2 stalks celery , finely chopped
- 1 medium onion , finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour , heaped
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lb baby potatoes
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 big handfuls kale , chopped
- salt and pepper , to taste
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the bacon (if your bacon is quite lean, add a couple of teaspoons of oil too). Saute until golden and crispy, then set aside.
- Add the sausage to the same pan and cook, breaking it up with a spatula until cooked through and starting to get golden bits. Set this aside, separate to the bacon.
- Add the celery, onion and garlic and continue cooking on med/ low until softened a little (2-3 minutes).
- Add the flour and give it a good stir to combine well.
- Pour in the stock slowly, stirring constantly so you don't get lumps of flour. Add the water, then drop in the thyme, potatoes and red pepper flakes.
- Turn the heat up to high, bring to the boil and boil for 6 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add the sausage and kale, then boil for another minute or so, just until the kale has wilted.
- Drop the heat down to low-med and pour in the cream. Stir to combine and heat until it starts bubbling.
- Simmer for about 1 minute, then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the thyme stalks, then pour the soup into bowls and scatter the cooked bacon over the top.
- If you want a thinner consistency, add a touch more water.
- Any leftover soup can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container. The cream will separate from the broth but just give it a shake up and it will all mix together perfectly.
- Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat until simmering.
- If you want to freeze this soup, stop before adding the cream. When you want to eat the soup, thaw in the fridge overnight then return it to the saucepan. Heat it until you start to see bubbles, then pick up where you left off by adding the cream.