I’ve always loved going to the Olive Garden. It’s the perfect place to take the family. It has a kid friendly environment and, even better, kid friendly food so they’re happy too. Plus, there’s a great selection of pastas, so hubby’s happy. Then, factor in all the delicious soups, bread sticks and the fact that I can get a decent glass of wine, I’m happy!!!
Everyone always gets to order something they love. Pasta, soup, salad and ohhhh the bread sticks! But my all time favorite thing on the whole menu has to be the Zuppa Toscana.
Who doesn’t absolutely love Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana soup recipe? Rich, creamy, delicious soup loaded with chunks of sausage, bacon and potatoes. This is the soup everyone in my whole family always orders.
Well, how about an amazingly delicious, homemade, Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe.
Honestly, I thought the idea was too good to be true. Then, I tried a few recipes and tweaked them just a little, and ultimately came up with this recipe. This soup, in my ever so humble opinion, is even more delicious than the one you can order at the restaurant.
It has all the same delicious ingredients, but even more of them. It’s totally loaded with sausage, bacon and potatoes all in a flavorful interestingly, light yet totally rich creamy broth.
This is a huge, I mean huge, family favorite at my house.
It’s quick and easy enough to make even on a weeknight. You can have the whole thing prepared and ready to serve in just about the time it would take you to load the family in the car and drive over to your local Olive Garden! Forget about putting your name in at the hostess stand and waiting for a table and paying the bill! No, not you my friend, because now you can make this awesome soup right at home!
What are your favorite Olive Garden Recipes?
To save a bit of time overall, I chop the onion and mince the garlic while the sausage is browning. Then, I peel and cut the potatoes while I’m cooking the bacon. Every little bit of time savings helps in my busy day!
The recipe is straight forward enough.
- Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven, then set it aside when it’s browned. Add the bacon to the undrained Dutch oven and cook it.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan and add the onions and garlic along to the cooked bacon and saute them until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Dig down to the bottom of the pan while the veggies are cooking and scrape up any of the brown bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Those precious bits will give the soup lots of flavor!
- Add the chicken broth and potatoes and simmer them until they’re fork tender, then add the cream and spinach. Now you have a bowl of yum that just might knock your socks off!!!
The Zuppa Toscana recipe served at the Olive Garden has kale in it. My family prefers the taste and texture of spinach so that’s, of course, what I use.
If you want to use kale, I suggest you cook it longer than I do the spinach. I’d add it to the soup after the potatoes have cooked for about 10 minutes. Spinach is a lot more tender than kale and is also delicious eaten raw. In this recipe the spinach is coarsely chopped and just heated up, but not really not cooked. If you want the spinach cooked more, just add it any time after you add the cream to the soup.
I use russet potatoes. You can use red potatoes or Yukon gold if you’d prefer.
To peel, or not to peel…..
I peel, but you certainly don’t need to. I peel my potatoes because I don’t like how the soup looks when the peel separates from the potato after they’re cooked. Leaving the skins on the potatoes is certainly easier and a lot healthier for you!
I like to cut the potatoes into fairly large chunks. As they simmer, they break down a bit. I like to keep the rustic feel of this soup by keeping the pieces about 1/2 inch chunks.
You can use sweet or spicy Italian sausage. I used sweet with 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. My hubby doesn’t like much of any spicy heat so I have to keep the heat down. If you like things with more heat this recipe is easy to adjust to suit your taste. Use spicy sausage and add more red pepper flakes to taste.
If you use spicy sausage instead of the mild, your broth will take on an orange hue. It’s the spices that are used in making the spicy version of sausage mix with the chicken broth and cream and give it a bit of color.
Zuppa Toscana Recipe Healthy……..
Do you want to make a healthy Zuppa Toscana recipe, or should I say healthier version? Simply make the following substitutions and modifications to the recipe:
- 1 1/2 pound Turkey Italian sausage for the regular Italian sausage
- Turkey bacon for the regular bacon
- 2 cups lowfat milk for the 1 cup heavy cream
- Use fat free and low sodium chicken broth
- Add extra kale or spinach to increase vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Add 1-2 cups chopped (fairly small), and cooked broccoli. While it’s not in the original recipe, the flavors would blend very nicely and it would significantly increase the health benefits.
Zuppa Toscana Crockpot Recipe……..
Would you prefer a Zuppa Toscana crockpot recipe? This is perfect for those times when you’re going to be busy most of the day but still want to come home and have this amazing soup for dinner. You can do that easy enough!
- Follow the recipe instructions below for steps 1-3. In those steps you cook the sausage, red pepper, bacon, onion and garlic on the stove top.
- Add the cooked sausage, red pepper, bacon, onion, and garlic to a crockpot. Then add the chicken broth and diced potatoes.
- Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hour or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Add the heavy cream and spinach and cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Zuppa Toscana recipe Paleo……
Looking for a Paleofied version of this soup? Well, I have a few suggestions:
- Replace the potatoes with chopped cauliflower or cubed sweet potatoes
- Replace the cream with 1 can of full fat coconut milk
How about a few other Italian soup favorites……
How about some amazing homemade buttery rolls……….
Zuppa Toscana Recipe
- 2 Pounds Italian Sausage
- 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 10 Ounces Bacon Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cups Yellow Onion Diced
- 1 Rounded Tablespoon Garlic Finely Chopped
- 32 Ounces Chicken Broth
- 4 Large or 6 Medium Russet Potatoes Peeled and Diced
- 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 6 Ounce Bag Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves Coarsely Chopped
- Remove Sausage from casing and saute with red pepper flakes and fennel seeds in a large Dutch oven until it's browned and no longer pink. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the chopped bacon to the same undrained Dutch oven and cook on medium, stirring often until the bacon is cooked. Drain Dutch oven, leaving 2 generous tablespoonfuls of the drippings in pan.
- Add onion to pan and saute on medium-low for about 5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, lower the heat to low and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and potatoes to the onions and garlic and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and cooked sausage and simmer on medium heat until heated through. Stir in the spinach, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.