This is the Best Zuppa Toscana Recipe when you want comfort food on a cold night! This super creamy Olive Garden copycat recipe has incredible flavor and is easy to customize for different diets.
What is zuppa toscana soup?
Zuppa Toscana is a delicious dish that translates to “Tuscan Soup.” It refers to the Tuscany region of Italy, and the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana is based on an Italian soup called Manestra di Pane. Traditionally this soup had bread and white beans in it, but the favorite soup we’ve come to know and love in America is missing those things. Instead, we focus on a creamy broth, tender potatoes (or turnips if you’re low-carb), juicy sausage, crispy bacon, and hearty kale.
Why you’ll love it:
- Simple & Easy – You don’t need any special equipment for this recipe, just a pot and a heat source. It’s a great soup for beginners or after a long day when you don’t want to overcomplicate things.
- Healthy & Nutritious – This soup recipe is well rounded with a variety of meats and veggies, but it’s easy to adjust based on your dietary needs. You can cut the carbs by replacing the potatoes with turnips. Lower the fat by using chicken sausage and turkey bacon. Make it dairy-free and Whole30 compliant by substituting coconut milk or cashew cream for heavy cream. It’s naturally gluten-free, nut-free, and egg-free.
- Meal Prep Friendly – The flavor of this soup gets even better as more time passes! Make it during your meal prep day, then enjoy it for easy lunches for the next 3-4 days. Make a batch and freeze (before adding cream) for a freezer meal to get you through a busy week.
Ingredients for Zuppa Toscana
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe. Find exact measurements in the printable card at the bottom of the page.
- Ground Italian Sausage and Bacon – If you’re avoiding pork, try Italian chicken sausage and turkey bacon! I used mild Italian sausage, but you could use a hot or sweet variety if you prefer.
- Diced onion, Minced garlic, Cubed and peeled turnips, and Finely chopped kale – You can replace the turnips with potatoes if you are not low-carb.
- Chicken broth and Heavy cream – Store-bought broth works fine, but homemade chicken stock will add even more flavor. You may be able to use a homemade cashew cream or unsweetened coconut milk in place of the heavy cream (see the FAQs at the bottom of the page for details on that).
- Onion powder, Garlic powder, Salt, and Pepper – Adds a great boost of flavor! You can easily adjust these to taste.
- OPTIONAL GARNISHES: Parmesan, Red pepper flakes, additional bacon
How to Make Zuppa Toscana
For this recipe, you’ll need a large pot with a lid or Dutch oven and a stovetop or hot plate. This delicious, well-rounded soup is simple to make on the stovetop! Here’s a step-by-step guide for the BEST comfort food!
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add the chopped bacon. Cook until crisp, about 3-5 minutes, occasionally turning and stirring for an even cook. Once cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon. Drain off all grease except 1 tablespoon.
Cook Sausage, Onion, and Garlic
Add the ground Italian sausage to the pan, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it is browned, add the chopped onion and garlic, then sauté until soft. Drain off any excess grease to prevent the soup from being too oily.
Pour the broth, cubed turnips (or potatoes), and spices with the cooked sausage and veggies. Bring the broth to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until turnips or potatoes are tender.
Stir in Kale
Remove the lid and stir in both the chopped kale and heavy cream. Stir well until the cream is fully incorporated and kale has wilted. Just before serving, stir in bacon and parmesan if you prefer.
How to Serve Zuppa Toscana
Top a bowl of this delicious soup with some extra bacon, fresh herbs, and some shredded parmesan for tasty garnish. Add a simple arugula salad for a light meal, or add this easy Chopped Italian Salad for a heartier dinner. This Gouda Jalapeno Bread is amazingly flavorful for dipping in the soup, or you could keep it keto with these Garlic Bread Chaffles. For a light, fresh-tasting appetizer, try these Zucchini Mozzarella Wraps!
More keto sides to serve with soup:
Allow the soup to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. Store in the fridge up to 3-4 days.
Can you freeze zuppa toscana soup?
Yes, this is an easy soup to stock the freezer! For the best texture, leave out the heavy cream. Heavy cream can often separate during the reheating process, so simply cook the soup right up until the last step and leave out the cream. Allow it to cool, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge and stir in heavy cream once heated through.
For easy lunches, store individual servings in bags and freeze flat. These will thaw quickly, then you can simply add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream per serving while reheating!
How to reheat soup
The best way to reheat soup is to heat it in a pan on medium low, stirring occasionally until warmed throughout. You could also reheat it in the microwave, but I recommend setting it to 50% power and covering with a paper towel to avoid any surprise splashes. The soup may thicken after cooling, so you can always add a splash of broth or water to thin it out.
If you froze your soup without the heavy cream, simply reheat either on the stovetop or in the microwave, then stir in your cream just before serving. If you froze it with the cream, there’s a chance it will separate as you reheat it. To try to avoid a grainy texture, you can warm the soup while stirring continuously, then add in 1-2 tablespoons of warmed heavy cream. Continue stirring the entire time, trying to help the cream reincorporate into the soup.
If you like this soup recipe, you’ll love these easy dinner ideas!
- Chicken & Gnocchi Soup – Another Olive Garden soup copycat! This ultra-creamy recipe is very filling and feels like the definition of comfort food.
- Tuscan Chicken Soup – Lean chicken, tender artichokes, and healthy kale all cook perfectly in this easy dinner recipe! Sundried tomatoes play a huge roll in the delicious keto-friendly soup, too.
- Collard Green & Black Eyed Pea Soup – You’ll get a great downhome country flavor from this amazing, hearty soup! It’s a great one to make in the Instant Pot.
- Cheesy Italian Sausage Soup – Bell peppers, garlic, onion, and kale lighten up this creamy soup with tomatoes! Whether you choose spicy, mild, or sweet Italian sausage, it’s sure to be a huge hit!
- Instant Pot Pizza Soup – Cheesy, creamy, and full of all your favorite pizza toppings! This feels like a decadent meal, but it’s quick, easy, and low-carb!
Zuppa Toscana Soup FAQs
I haven’t tried this substitute in this recipe, but a homemade cashew cream or unsweetened canned coconut milk are supposed to be good substitutes. To make the cashew cream, blend 1 cup of cashews with 3/4 cup water. To use coconut milk, place the can in the fridge overnight (the longer, the better). Ignore the watery part and use the thick, creamy part instead. Whichever you choose, add it in at the very end and stir until fully incorporated. Depending on your location, you may also be able to find some commercial dairy-free heavy whipping cream at the store.
Simply replace the potatoes with turnips to make this delicious soup low-carb! Peel and cube the turnips just as you would russets. They’ll soak up the flavor of the soup, and you won’t even miss the potatoes! Nutritional information with turnips is included in the recipe card below.
Yes, this is a great soup for a pressure cooker! See this post for Instant Pot instructions (it’s written to be keto, but it does work with potatoes as well).
The Best Zuppa Toscana Recipe
- 4 slices bacon cut into small pieces
- 2 pounds ground Italian sausage
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 cup white onion chopped
- 2 cups turnips peeled and cubed (or potatoes if not low-carb)
- 32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 5 cups of kale chopped very finely, tough stems removed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Parmesan optional for garnish
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the chopped bacon. Cook until crisp, about 3-5 minutes, occasionally turning and stirring for an even cook. Once cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon. Drain off all grease except 1 tablespoon.
- Add the ground Italian sausage to the pan, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it is browned, add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, then drain off any grease.
- Pour in the broth, cubed turnips (or potatoes), and spices. Bring the broth to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until turnips or potatoes are tender.
- Remove the lid and stir in both the chopped kale and heavy cream. Stir well until the cream is fully incorporated and kale has wilted. Just before serving, stir in bacon and parmesan if you prefer.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Turn the sauté function on the Instant Pot. Cook the chopped bacon until crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pressure cooker. Drain off all of the grease except 1 tablespoon.
- Add the ground Italian sausage. Brown and break up the sausage as it cooks. Once it is brown add the minced garlic, chopped onion and sauté until soft. Drain off any grease.
- Add the spices, cubed turnip and broth. Secure the lid and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Allow it to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add the chopped kale and heavy cream. Stir the soup well, the kale will wilt and cook through as you stir.
- Stir in the cooked, crumbled bacon and parmesan if desired, just before serving.
- This recipe yields 6 servings, a serving is 1 1/2 cups and has 6.4 net carbs.