This Zuppa Toscana Crockpot or Stovetop Soup is an incredibly delicious copycat version of our favorite soup from Olive Garden!
Try this Zuppa Toscana Crockpot or Stovetop Soup and be transported to the hillsides of Tuscany (Zuppa Toscana literally means “Tuscan soup” or soup in the style of Tuscany) by the flavors of Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, onions, and bacon in a spicy, creamy broth!
It’s not quite Fall yet, but here in the California Bay Area we have already had some cooler days and evenings and that’s enough of an excuse for me to start making soups again!
Soup is one of my favorite things to make during the week, especially since I can serve it with a side of the most perfect cornbread ever, cheesy garlic mozzarella swirl rolls, or a loaf of crusty french bread! But it’s also so easy, filling, and the leftovers are amazing for lunch the next day!
Along with the salad and breadsticks, I daresay that Zuppa Toscana is possibly the most well-loved menu item from the Olive Garden restaurant. We don’t have one close by anymore so we don’t get to enjoy those buttery, garlicky breadsticks, but this Zuppa Toscana crockpot or stovetop soup is honestly even better than the kind that you get at the restaurant.
Every time I make it Paul exclaims that it’s his favorite soup ever!
Although there are loads of recipes for Zuppa Toscana out there, I wanted to share my favorite version, along with the variations I most often use to make it, depending on what my schedule is like or whether I’m in the middle of a round of Whole30 and needing a sure-fire satisfying dinner option.
Zuppa Toscana Variations
Paleo Zuppa Toscana
Really, with just a few simple ingredient modifications, you can have a batch of Zuppa Toscana that tastes almost exactly the same as the original recipe. Just replace the cream with coconut cream (the thick creamy stuff in a can of coconut milk that separates if you leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight) and make sure you are using Paleo or Whole30 compliant sausage (or make your own) and bacon. It’s Zuppa Toscana at its Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free best!
One Pot Zuppa Toscana
Like many slow cooker recipes, this one requires a little bit of prep work (not much! but yes, a little) instead of just dumping everything into the crockpot and slapping a lid on it. You need to chop and cook the bacon and brown the sausage in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker along with the other soup ingredients. So, two dishes to wash at the end of the day, but the trade off is you then don’t worry about dinner for a few hours and it is ready when you get home.
But if you would rather only have ONE dish to wash and don’t mind cooking the soup on the stove, you can easily make this Zuppa Toscana on the stovetop in a dutch oven or other large pot. Instead of cooking the bacon and browning the sausage in a separate pan, then transferring to the crockpot, you can do it all in the bottom of a large dutch oven on the stovetop and only have one pan to wash at the end of the day.
The soup turns out amazing either way. You just get to choose your own level of lazy. Or convenience.
If you love soup, you also need to give this amazing One Pot Lasagna Soup a try! And be sure to sign up for the House of Nash Eats emails so you never miss a recipe! I have a couple more soups I’m planning to post over the next few months that you most definitely will not want to miss!
- 1/2 lb. bacon (about 8 slices), chopped
- 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed (spicy, sweet, or a mix of both)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs. Russett potatoes (3 large or 4 medium), sliced in half, then into 1/4-inch slices with peels on
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups fresh kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and drain the bacon fat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Remove to the slow cooker along with the bacon. Wipe out the pan and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook while stirring, for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add to the crockpot along with the bacon and sausage.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper to the crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until potatoes are tender.
Add the kale and cream and cook for another 30 minutes until heated through. Ladle into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towel and drain the bacon fat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Remove to the plate along with the bacon, then wipe out the dutch oven and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook while stirring, for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the drained bacon and sausage back into the dutch oven with the onion & garlic.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper to the dutch oven or stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are almost tender.
Add the kale and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart and the kale is tender. Stir in the cream and heat through, then ladle into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.
My preference is to use 2 mild, sweet Italian sausages and 1 spicy Italian sausage, but you can use all spicy or all mild, depending on your personal preference.
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