Zuppa Toscana Soup

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Slow cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup is filled with tender pieces of kale, seasoned Italian sausage, flavorful Yukon gold potatoes, and a warming, creamy broth. Top your bowl with crispy bacon and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the ultimate comfort food.

Pair this delicious soup with a crusty baguette or homemade dinner rolls and a big Italian salad.

 

Overhead photo of finished Zuppa Toscana Soup.

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana” is translated to “Tuscan soup” or “Tuscan-style soup” which is full of veggies, potatoes, beans, and spices. So, while this is certainly not an authentic Tuscan-style soup, it’s a copycat of Olive Garden’s® famous Zuppa Toscana.

This Americanized version adds spicy Italian sausage, bacon, potatoes, and heavy cream. This soup is filling, hearty, and completely delicious. The preparation is quick and thanks to the slow cooker, the cooking process couldn’t be easier. 🙂

Process shots of Zuppa Toscana Soup being made, showing the meat being cooked; potatoes being added; kale being added and mixed together.

How to make Zuppa Toscana Soup

Above this text, I’ve laid out the steps for making this soup in picture form, and below is a description of what’s happening in each of the numbered photos.

  1. Brown the sausage; use hot or mild Italian sausage (whichever you prefer). Tip: use a cast iron skillet and don’t over stir/over crumble the meat — you want it to get browned to develop layers of flavor.
  2. Add the sausage to your slow cooker.
  3. In the same skillet used for the sausage, cook the onions and garlic; this will add a lot of flavor!
  4. Add those onions and garlic to the slow cooker with the sausage.
  5. Peel and dice Yukon gold potatoes. Yukon golds are my favorite in this soup!
  6. Add the potatoes right on top.
  7. Cover everything with chicken stock (stock has more flavor than broth) and any additional water if needed. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours, until potatoes are fork-tender.
  8. Near the end of the cook time, chop the kale into small bite-sized pieces.
  9. Add the kale, heavy cream, and seasonings (to taste) to the slow cooker.
  10. Stir it all together and serve Zuppa Toscana Soup with cooked, crumbled bacon and freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Is Zuppa Toscana healthy?

This soup contains a good helping of kale, potatoes, onions, chicken stock, and garlic– all which provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Sausage, heavy cream, and bacon aren’t the healthiest additions to soup, but I believe they are fine ingredients to have in moderation. The term “healthy” is very dependent on personal beliefs, preferences, and goals.

To make this soup healthier, you can replace the heavy cream with half and half (it won’t be as thick/rich) and leave out the bacon. I don’t recommend any substitutes for the sausage, as the flavors are very integral to the soup.

Side dishes to serve with this soup

Quick tips

  1. Worried about spicy heat? Use mild sausage and reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. If you’re a heat lover, use spicy Italian sausage and amp up the red pepper flakes. We prefer Zuppa Toscana Soup on the spicy side!
  2. Too much grease in the soup?  Some amount of grease is very normal from the Italian sausage, but you can fix that if you’re concerned. First, be sure to drain the sausage on a paper towel-lined plate. Then for leftover grease, allow the soup to cool for 15-20 minutes. The grease will rise to the top and you can gently skim it off the top.
  3. Want to make Zuppa Toscana Soup thicker? This soup is traditionally quite brothy. If you want it thicker, I’d recommend increasing the amount of potatoes slightly and then mashing some of the potatoes once cooked.

 

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Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup

5 from 1 vote
Slow cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup is filled with tender pieces of kale, seasoned Italian sausage, flavorful Yukon gold potatoes, and a warming, creamy broth. Top your bowl with crispy bacon and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the ultimate comfort food.
Print Recipe

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup

5 from 1 vote
Slow cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup is filled with tender pieces of kale, seasoned Italian sausage, flavorful Yukon gold potatoes, and a warming, creamy broth. Top your bowl with crispy bacon and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the ultimate comfort food.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword zuppa toscana soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 383kcal
Cost $6.92

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) ground spicy Italian sausage (mild can be substituted)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 large (1.5 pounds) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 container (32 ounces) chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped kale, (packed to measure)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Small pinch dried thyme, optional
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 6-8 slices center cut bacon, diced and cooked
  • Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty toasted bread

Instructions

  • COOK MEAT: Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and let it cook without touching for 30 seconds to a minute to get a nice browning. Use a wooden spoon to break it up and continue to cook until nicely browned through. Transfer the sausage to the slow cooker or to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off grease. To the same pot, add in the diced onions. Add a drizzle of olive oil, if needed (if there wasn't a lot of grease left from the sausage). Cook, over medium high heat, stirring until softened and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add this mixture to the slow cooker.
  • POTATOES: Peel and dice potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces, and then add in an even layer right to the slow cooker. Press all the ingredients into an even layer and then cover with chicken stock. If all ingredients aren't completely covered, add water until they are (up to 1 cup total).
  • COOK: Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours or until potatoes are fork tender. Before the soup is finished, wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Dice and pack into a measuring cup to get 2 cups total. Stir into the soup, along with the heavy cream, red pepper flakes, thyme, and seasonings to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and heaping 1/4 teaspoon pepper, add to preference, remembering bacon and Parmesan add a good amount of saltiness). Let cook for 15 more minutes and then taste and adjust any seasonings. While it's finishing cooking, cook the bacon in a skillet until it's reached desired crispiness. Drain on to a paper towel-lined plate and serve alongside the soup.
  • SERVE: Serve with desired toppings: freshly grated Parmesan cheese (grate on a microplane for the best texture) and a crusty toasted baguette or bread. Sprinkle bacon on of the soup and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.3g | Protein: 11.1g | Fat: 34.7g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 578mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 2.2g

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