This delicious soup, made popular by Olive Garden, features bacon, kale, beans, rustic potatoes, and flavorful sausage in a rich and lightly creamy chicken broth. Make it spicy or not by adjusting the level of cayenne pepper.
There’s a lot to love about this Tuscan soup, well known as “Zuppa Toscana” thanks to the popular restaurant chain, Olive Garden.
Easy “Zuppa Toscana” Tuscan Soup — made all in one pot!
I’m hoping you’ll find that this is THE EASIEST recipe for Zuppa out there.
There are a lot of copycat recipes inspired by Olive Garden’s tasty soup. But some have lots of steps and lots of pots and pans involved. So, I set out to simplify the cooking process as much as possible without sacrificing awesome flavor.
To make this all in one pot, you’ll ideally want to use a large dutch oven. 6 qt or larger works best. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can still make this working using a large pot, you just may need to stir more to prevent sticking.
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What ingredients are needed for this Tuscan soup?
You don’t need a long complicated list of ingredients to make this soup. Just a few key ingredients that bring a lot of flavor to the table.
There are several star players. First up, bacon. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?
Next? Kale. Because everyone loves a soup with healthy foods but since we’re starting with bacon so it actually tastes good.
Sausage. Just because flavor is the ultimate goal, we’re bringing in sausage to pair up with bacon for a meat-match-made-in-heaven.
Onion and garlic. Of course.
Chicken broth with a bit of extra bullion for the most delicious broth. I like to use Better than Bullion but any will do.
Half and half to add a creamy component to the broth. I prefer to keep it light, but you can add more or less to taste. You can also use milk or heavy cream if you prefer. Experiment and see what you like best or go with what works with your diet.
And finally, creamy soft navy beans. You can use any white bean, but I really like navy beans because they have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a slight rustic flavor that’s perfect for this soup.
Oh! Wait. Can’t forget the potatoes. We’re keeping them rustic, just like Olive Garden does, with the skin on. Just be sure to scrub the skin well to remove any grit before chopping.
There are a few extra ingredients you could throw in, if you want, that I feel would be a great compliment to the flavors happening in this soup: corn, zucchini, spinach and even bell peppers.
Want to keep this soup mild, not spicy?
You can leave out the cayenne pepper or reduce it. I recommend starting with regular sausage so you can add cayenne pepper to your liking. You could cut out the cayenne pepper and use hot sausage though, if you’d like.
Lower the Calories
This soup is rich and delicious but that’s partially because it’s high in fat. If you’re ok with sacrificing a little flavor in order to lighten this up, here are a few tricks:
• In addition to draining the bacon grease, pat bacon to absorb extra grease
• Try turkey sausage or plant based “sausage”
• Half the amount of potatoes and cut them into smaller chunks
• Use milk instead of half and half to cream the soup
What kind of potatoes are best to use in Zuppa?
I like russet potatoes. They have a rustic flavor and an airy texture that goes well with this soup. You could, however, use any potato you prefer.
Zuppa Toscana “Tuscan Soup”
- 8 oz bacon (about 8 slices), chopped
- 8 oz breakfast sausage
- ½ tsp tsp cayenne pepper more or less to adjust spice level
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 4 russet potatoes
- 6 cups cups chicken broth
- 1-2 tbsp chicken bullion to tastes
- 1 bunch kale, chopped w/ stems removed
- 14.5 oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup half and half more or less to taste
- Rinse but don't peel potatoes. Poke with a fork several times each and place in the microwave. Cook for 9-12 minutes or until potatoes are softened on all side. (I use a clean dish towel to lightly squeeze and check them since they are hot). Chop cooked potatoes into bite-sized pieces as set aside.
- White potatoes are in the microwave, cook chopped bacon in a large dutch oven over high heat for 10 minutes or until edges are crispy. When done, remove cooked bacon pieces and set aside on a plate or in a bowl. Drain excess bacon fat and return unwashed pot to the stove. Keep heat on high.
- Add sausage to dutch oven along with cayenne pepper and diced onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic then cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until sausage is browned.
- Add cooked bacon to pot along with chicken broth, chicken bullion, kale and drained navy beans. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in half and half. Then remove from heat and serve.