Zuppa Toscana (a la Olive Garden)

December 5, 2010 by Ali

Somehow, in all my 27 long years of life, I was never introduced to Olive Garden’s famous “Zuppa Toscana”…..until recently. One of my good friends lives right by the OG, and suggested we pop over for their unlimited soup/salad lunch on our day off. And then she insisted — as I was about to order the minestrone — that I try the “Zuppa Toscana” instead. I actually really like a good minestrone, but decided to take her word for it. And sure enough…

It was a match made in heaven. :)

Oh my word. Loved the spicy Italian sausage, the potatoes, and the delicious kale. But I have to say that the broth was actually my favorite part. I’m a sucker for a well-seasoned broth…and this one was. :) It’s creamy, but light and perfectly compliments all of the other ingredients.

So of course I had to come home and try it for myself. I decided to lighten it up a tad and go with half and half instead of cream, and totally could not tell the difference. (May even try whole milk next time.) I also upped the amount of kale, just to get a few extra greens in there. But besides that, I’m pleased to say that at least in my opinion, this tastes pretty much identical to the original! Absolutely delicious! And the amazing thing is that the Italian sausage pretty much takes care of all the seasoning for the broth. Easy, and sooooo delicious.

So if you’re a fan of the famous “Zuppa Toscana”, or have yet to have ever tried it, I strongly recommend that you try this recipe at home. I will certainly be making it again. Very. Soon. :)

Zuppa Tuscana (a la Olive Garden) Recipe
(Inspired by The Olive Garden)


  • 1 pound hot (spicy) Italian sausage
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium onion – peeled, chopped
  • 1-2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (or half and half, or whole milk)
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper


In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. Remove from heat, drain the extra grease, set aside.

In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and onions, and cook 3 minutes. Then add potatoes, chicken broth, water, sausage and bacon, and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add kale, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes (or until the potatoes have softened.)

Add cream (or half and half) to soup, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Ali’s Tip:

I imagine this recipe would also work well in a crock pot. Just brown the sausage and bacon beforehand, and add the kale in once you get home (it will seriously wilt if you let it cook all day).

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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37 thoughts on “Zuppa Toscana (a la Olive Garden)

  1. I went to olive garden last week and the chef came over to our table. He told me that he dices red peppers very small and he removes the sausage from the casing and he boils it to removes
    the fat than he uses the fat from the chopped bacon to sauté the
    peppers,onions,garlic etc. at home I used half and half. It came
    out FANTASTIC.

    - catherine masucci

  2. I made this twice with a few changes (I used the grease from browning the meat to cook the onions and twice as many garlic cloves plus i added more meat and bacon than called for. I cooked the meat and bacon together). The first time I made it, it was for guests the next day. My hubby liked it so much that he had 3 or 4 bowls the night I made it. The next day I barely got any because everyone loved it so much. Oh yeah, I didn’t even add the cream at all. Hubby was in it before I added it and loved it like that. Yummy soup!

    - Amanda

  3. I made this tonight – had to make a few adjustments. I used twice the amount of chicken broth, water and cream as was called for and about 2 lbs of red potatoes – it was AMAZING!

    - Kate

  4. for 1 you DO not cook the sausage in a skillet. you take the casings off put sausages on a cookie sheet.. flatten out the sausages cook at 350 degrees in the oven till done. usually about 15 minutes. let cool slightly then roughly chop it up. also some of the potatoes are taken out of the boiling liquid and pureed and added back to the soup. and in the actual recipe yukon gold are NOT NOT used. i made this compared to my ACTUAL recipe and my entire party goers thought yours was absolute crap. just sayin..

    - steve

    • Wow – rude much? Everyone has different tastes, likes and dislikes. I, for one, think this recipe is better than Olive Garden with the following adjustments – double the amount of chicken broth, water and cream and use red potatoes. But hey, I am grateful for the baseline recipe. Steve – learn some diplomacy.

      - Kate

  5. I like the recipe a lot and can’t wait to make it due to it being my wife’s favorite soup. I have one web site that I use for all my recipes because they allow you to save your recipes. I added your recipe to my recipe box and mentioned the original author (You) and included a link. I had to do it in the comments section due to the web site not allowing me to add a link within the recipe itself. I hope that this is ok, if you do not agree then let me know and I will remove it. Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/personalrecipe/63578430/zuppa-toscana-og/detail.aspx

    - Anton Henderson

  6. Has anyone made this in the crock-pot? I’m thinking about doing it for tomorrow’s dinner and was looking for some tips! Thanks!

    - Ashley

  7. I’m going to make this for a soup exchange so I’m curious how much this yields? I need to make 8 qts. Thanks!

    - Paula

  8. proud maging pinoy tong gagong toh ahh..! pero galing? nmn sya ^^….. visit http://goo.gl/HNBgn to watch pinoy tv shows

    - Kris

  9. This is delicious. I used spinach instead of the kale. Great spicy flavor. I’ll definitely make this again. I love your site; you have so many recipes I need to try!

    - Doris

  10. you nailed it. yum

    - Geoff

  11. I made this today and it was sooooO delicious!!! Wow this recipe is excellent! Thank you for sharing. Its just like Olive Garden. Super yummy.

    Thank you

    - Nursika

  12. How many servings would you say this recipe yields? trying to decide whether or not to double!

    - sarah

  13. can I use moustard leaf instead of the kale? will it taste good too? thanks!

    - DEBORA

  14. how well will this keep in the fridge and with heating up

    - carole

  15. Made this tonight and it was WONDERFUL!!

    - Cyndall

  16. Do you think this recipe would freeze well? I’m thinking of making this for a soup swap!

    - Cyndall

  17. Oh my goodness!!! Seriously loved this recipe!! I have been looking for this for a long time and I picked your recipe. I could not get enough of it!! I will be making it again tonight and my neighbors are already asking if I can bring them some too. Thanks for the recipe ;)

    - Staci

  18. Just made this for my little family tonight and it was a big hit! Even my boys who are usually skeptics of soup gave this a thumbs up and asked for more.

    - Nicole P

  19. This is my favorite soup and Olive Garden and this recipe is spot on! Thanks so much for sharing; I’m going to be making this a lot!

    - Sierra

  20. Looks like perfect tummy-warming soup to take the edge off this windy Winter we’re having – yum!

    - Cate O'Malley

  21. great recipe!!!!! usually i like turning tasty looking and savory recipes like this into vegan versions so i think i can do this.
    Either way, thanks for posting this (:

    - galilea_

  22. Love this soup at OG! It’s the first thing I go for when I’m there. :) I’ve tried a copycat recipe, but I’m definitely going to give your version a try. Thank you!

    - Paulette

  23. I made this last night for dinner – yum! My husband and I loved it and are looking forward to leftovers tonight! Really, really good!

    - Tracie

  24. Wow this looks amazing. I might have to try this as an alternative to my usual chicken and veggie soup!

    - Dawn Hutchins

  25. I love this soup and it is one of my all time faves. The eat better america website has a great version of this soup that has been healthified. I have made it many times and it is even better the next day. :) Here is the link to the recipe:


    Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

    - Brooke

  26. I am a die-hard Olive Garden fan! And you can’t beat the price on their soup/salad combo. But like you, I’ve never tried this–I don’t think I’ll wait till I go to OG again, I will use your recipe–thanks :-)

    - CaSaundra

  27. I have been seeing recipes just like this all over food blogs lately! I’m thinking I’m gonna have to try some pretty soon!

    - Monica

  28. Love OG but have never had this. Looks like a good way to warm up when the weather’s cold and blustery like it is today!

    - Michelle

  29. I try to avoid Olive Garden because I am a sucker for their breadsticks, but I LOVE soup- this recipe looks amazing so I will definitely be making it soon! thanks for sharing!

    - Julie