Zuppa Toscana – Inspired by The Olive Garden

Zuppa Toscana – Inspired by The Olive Garden

OK I hate to admit it but you know we have all been there…yup that franchise of franchises. The one that many young men take their ladies to, or son’s take their mothers too, or maybe its Sunday lunch…yup…you know it…The Olive Garden.  I have definitely been there my share of times over the years for all the above, plus a few more. The bottom line is that The Olive Garden is popular for a reason, it really isn’t all that bad. The pasta, the wine selection, heck, in suburbs and not-so-cosmopolitan towns it is THE place to eat.  My favorite? I don’t remember ANY other items EXCEPT the Soup and Salad combo which has been digested many Sundays after church (years ago of course).  I always order the Zuppa Toscana, and of course soaked it up with the never ending supply of bread-sticks and salad. Was the cheapest and frankly the best deal at the big O.

So, I figured I would to my best to try and re-create it. I have made it several times and have had rave reviews. I am sure there are other “copy cat” recipes out there, I promise I didn’t use for research.  This is a legit recipe and although may not be exactly what you are used to after waiting in line for 90 minutes, I promise it is close…if not better.

Zuppa Toscana – Inspired by Olive Garden

1 lb Italian Sausage (sweet, probably not hot if you are trying to stay authentic)
4 slices of bacon, diced
4 cups of Water
4 cups of Chicken Stock
2 large Russet Potatoes, diced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cups kale (swiss chard, spinach, even mustard greens cool too)
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper
Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating

Remove sausage from casings and break apart. Brown with bacon and set aside. Saute garlic and onion for about 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add stock, water, and potatoes and let simmer at least 10 minutes or until potatoes are mostly tender. Add meat and let simmer at least another 15 minutes. Add kale and cream, let simmer for about 5 minutes (minimum) and season with salt and pepper.


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7 thoughts on “Zuppa Toscana – Inspired by The Olive Garden”

    • I consider myslef an expert on this soup now Every time I make it my hubby is thrilled. If we have guests over they tell me over and over how great it is. I use all the same spices the main recipe says to use, but I add a ridiculous amount. I probably put like 10x more then what’s called for lol. I gave this recipe to a friend and forgot to tell her that. When I asked her what she thought she said her and her husband thought it was very bland. I told her she needs to go crazy with the spices and she will not be disappointed. Also, I recently started peeling the potatoes, tossing them in EVOO, pepper, and a bit of salt, then baking!!! It makes life so much easier. I tried to make them with the skin on and didn’t care too much for it, but I really hate trying to peel the skins off once they are already cooked. I have done this the past two times and it’s great. I actually have my potatoes cooking now because I am bringing this to a party tonight. I’m glad I came across this site, thank you!!!

    • My wife made this yesterday and I would have eaten all of it if I didn’t have to share. It was wrdenoful. Full of flavors and hearty tastes. I put it at the top of my soup list, even above my 15 bean soup with thick cut bacon!!! This is the best stuff I have eaten!! Thank you, thank you!!Bob

    • I love that Marshmallow plate! I would make it with my kids, then promptly eat it. I have no cotonrl when Marshmallows and chocolate are before me. Hello Marshmallow Cream and Nutella? This is my kind of heaven. I love the “Loose Screws” bottle! I need a bucket for all of mine.

      • Oops, got here too late. Was just getting ready to link when I rleiazed that sorry to have missed it but things have been a little hectic around here. Love your soup!Nuts about food recently posted..

    • I made this soup last Sunday and it was soooo delicious!!! But, like a lot cormentems, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I didn’t have an Italian sausage or bacon so I just cut up some beef. And I didn’t have any heavy cream or condensed milk, so I just thickened it with flour. And I didn’t have any kale, so I just salt and pepper. And I threw in some more veggies, like carrots and peas. Amazing! Zuppa Toscana tasets just like beef stew!

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