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Easy Zuppa Toscana

Easy Zuppa Toscana is a simplified version of the famous Olive Garden recipe - made in just 20 minutes or less.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Easy Zuppa Toscana
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 420kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $6.89


  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 cup pre-diced yellow onion*
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound Italian sausage fresh, not smoked
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (32 ounces) frozen diced hashbrowns (just plain potatoes, no added ingredients)
  • 2 containers (32 ounces EACH) chicken stock
  • 5 slices bacon (See Note 1)
  • 1-2 cups pre-chopped packaged kale
  • 1 and 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • PREP: Set a large stockpot and a large skillet on the stove top.
  • POT: Starting with the stockpot, heat over medium-high heat and add in 1 tablespoon olive oil, the pre-chopped onion, and minced garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes. Increase heat to high, add in the diced hash browns and give them a quick stir (1 minute). Pour in all of the broth. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, cook just until the hash browns are fork tender (~3-5 minutes; basically as soon as your sausage is browned and bacon is crispy!). Once hash browns are tender, remove the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • SKILLET: Meanwhile, in the large skillet, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, the sausage, red pepper flakes, fennel, salt and pepper (to taste; I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper) over medium heat. Begin to brown the sausage and break it up (~4 minutes). Before it's cooked through, press the sausage to one side of the skillet and add the bacon slices (See Note 1) to the other side of the skillet. Continue to cook and break up the sausage until no longer pink and flip the bacon as needed.
  • BACON: Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined-plate. Coarsely chop or crumble the bacon.
  • FINISHING: Drain the sausage and add to the stockpot, along with the kale and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Add in half the bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings to preference (more red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, etc.).
  • SERVE: Ladle out soup and serve individual bowls topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and remaining bacon. Enjoy!



Note 1: Alternatively, use pre-cooked bacon (microwaveable). Microwave the bacon and then coarsely chop. This saves some mess and a few minutes of prep time.
*The 20-minute prep time is dependent upon buying and using the listed ingredients -- prepared onions and pre-minced garlic, the frozen hashbrowns, and pre-shredded kale (grocery stores generally have a large bag of pre-shredded kale for super cheap).


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 526mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1420IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg