In a roundabout way, this recipe for Olive Garden zuppa toscana has helped solve a ten-year-long disagreement with an old friend of mine:
Where we should go out to eat.
Because you see, he has his favorite foodie haunts and I have mine. But it seems like the older we get, the further and further apart we get on this issue. While I’m more of a seafood and Italian buff he tends to gravitate toward ritzy steakhouses.
Even though we have different ideal foods, usually we can make it work for one another. I go to his steakhouses and order the crab cakes and he’ll come to seafood joint and gets the surf and turf.
But while we’re pretty good at compromising, there’s one restaurant I can’t get him to go to no matter how many trips to Longhorn I try to trade in:
Do you hear that sound? That’s my heart crying for all the zuppa toscana crock pot recipe I’ve had to do without.
Well, that is… until I learned how to make it myself with this recipe for zuppa toscana soup.
And after I made this recipe, do you know what happened?
an old friend of mine ate more of it than I did.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – to me, this was a perfect copycat of the zuppa toscana recipe from Olive Garden, leaving me feeling like a waiter should come by with a basket of delicious breadsticks any minute – but apparently I wasn’t the only one who missed this particular part of a trip to Olive Garden.
an old friend of mine may not be a big fan of chain Italian food, but he certainly can appreciate a tasty recipe for zuppa toscana soup!
Plus, this soup has the added bonus of being an ideal comfort food for the upcoming winter months.
It may not get very cold here in Phoenix, but there’s still a chilly bite in the air.
A warm and hearty soup like this one will be perfect for distracting me until the warm summer days arrive again.
How long is zuppa toscana good for in the fridge?
Once prepared, this Italian soup can last in the refrigerator in a sealed container for three to four days.
Can you freeze zuppa toscana?
Yes, you totally can! Soups are great for freezing in individual-sized portions, too.
To freeze, allow the soup to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a sealable container or freezer bags.
Soup can be stored in the freezer for up to two to three months.
What to serve with Italian soup?
If you’re serving soup as the main course, you might be wondering what else to serve with it. And I totally get it; soups are one of those gray areas where it can be an appetizer, side, or main course, and each situation can call for different options.
In my house, we typically serve soup with:
- Bread. Whether it’s plain toasted bread, a bread baked with cheese, or even some simple sandwich, anything with bread is bound to be a good compliment to soup.
- Salad. And when serving salad with soup, I try to pick a variation that has different (yet complimenting) ingredients to the soup. Leafy salad or hearty pasta salads are always a good fit.
- Meat dishes with minimal seasonings. You don’t want the other recipe to totally steal the show, but a lightly flavored chicken or beef dish would go great with potato soup.
Do you have to use kale?
Since posting this recipe, one of the most common questions about this soup has been about the kale. Because, weirdly enough, kale has the reputation of not being very tasty. Oh so strange, I know.
So, as someone that is not normally a fan of kale but is a fan of this soup, I can confirm that kale can taste good – in the right circumstances. And the flavors in this soup go a long way in bringing out the very best qualities in kale, giving this soup a great veggie texture and an added nutritional bonus.
However, if all the positive vibes in the world couldn’t sell you on kale, many readers have substituted the kale for spinach and liked the results.
Notes & tips for this zuppa toscana crock pot recipe
- You can make zuppa toscana soup numerous ways, but the main staples are the kale, heavy cream, and potato. I’ve seen soups that use both bacon and chicken, but I’ve always felt it works best with sausage (and Italian sausage at that).
- This soup isn’t difficult to make on the stovetop, but I’ve always liked the convenience of a crock pot, and this Olive Garden zuppa toscana recipe is a perfect example of what a crock pot can do. I’m a big fan of this crock pot – it has three sizes in one!
- And if you like Olive Garden copycat recipes, be sure to check out this one for Parmesan Baked Shrimp!
More tasty soups
How to make zuppa toscana soup
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Since this recipe is made in a crock pot, the instructions are very simple.
Step 1 – Cook the ground hot Italian sausage, garlic, and yellow onion in a large skillet (draining the grease from the skillet).
Step 2 – Add the cooked veggies & sausage, potato, seasonings, and chicken broth to your crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Step 3 – Add the kale and heavy cream to the crock pot, stir, then cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!
And that’s it! This recipe can also be made on the stovetop, but sometimes you need the extra freedom that a crock pot can provide on a busy weeknight. There’s nothing more comforting than a crock pot full of soup!
Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana
This crock pot zuppa toscana soup is an Olive Garden copycat recipe that makes it easy to bring the taste of Italy home. A simple dinner for busy weekdays!
large skilletover medium-high heat, brown and crumble hot Italian sausage, about 5-8 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until some of the onion begins to turn translucent (no need to cook onion completely at this point). Drain grease from skillet.
6 quart crock pot(or bigger), add cooked sausage & veggies plus the diced potato. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour chicken broth on top. There should be enough broth to cover the tops of the potatoes; if there isn't, add up to 2 cups water so potatoes are covered.
- Gently stir ingredients, cover crock pot, and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- Remove lid from crock pot and add kale and heavy whipping cream, then stir to combine.
- Cover crock pot and cook on HIGH for another 30 minutes.
- Serve zuppa toscana immediately with shredded parmesan cheese as garnish.