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Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup (Zuppa Toscana)

This Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup is a quick and easy, one-pot, homemade version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It’s creamy, comforting, filling, full of flavor, and ready in less than an hour!

I love making homemade versions of my favorite restaurant dishes.

For me, it’s almost a necessity because I don’t go out to eat a lot (I live so darn far away from everything). It’s usually easier than you think and, many times, the result is just as good or even better than the original! 

I can make this soup in less time than it would take me to drive to the nearest Olive Garden, which is 45 minutes away (one way!). It’s super simple to make, and it is every bit as good.

Actually, I think it’s BETTER! It’s chock full of sausage, potatoes and kale (lots of kale – because it’s good for you!) in a rich, creamy broth.

Plus, if I want, I can eat this on the couch, in my comfy clothes, snuggled up with my dog and husband, while watching something good on TV!  Sold!

And please, please, please … if you are afraid of kale for some reason or think you don’t like it, put your fears aside and try it in this soup. I have gotten some pretty stubborn I-don’t-like-kale-and-will-never-eat-it people (you know who you are) to eat kale by serving them this soup … and they LOVED it!

close-up of a spoonful of sausage, potato and kale soup (zuppa toscana) over a bowl of soup

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE SAUSAGE, POTATO & KALE SOUP (ZUPPA TOSCANA):

  • Italian sausage (sweet or hot or a combination)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken stock or broth
  • Kale
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE SAUSAGE, POTATO & KALE SOUP (ZUPPA TOSCANA):

three photos showing steps to make sausage potato and kale soup with text that says brown sausage, drain excess fat, add onion, cook until softened about 5 minutes, add garlic, cook 1 minute
three photos showing steps to make sausage potato and kale soup with text that says add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are tender about 15 minutes, add kale, cook until tender about 3 minutes
two photos showing steps to make sausage potato kale soup with text that says stir in heavy cream, enjoy

You can make this soup as spicy or as non-spicy as you like by using hot Italian sausage or sweet Italian sausage (or a combination, which is what I usually do – half hot, half sweet).

If you can’t find bulk Italian sausage, get links instead. Remove the sausage from the casings before cooking, and you’ll be good to go!

A lot of recipes for Zuppa Toscana call for bacon. Although I love bacon, I don’t use it in mine because I think the flavor can be a bit overwhelming, and all I end up tasting is the bacon.

If you’d like some bacon with your Zuppa Toscana, go ahead and cook up a few slices, chop it, and sprinkle it on as a garnish when you serve the soup.

Although it’s a little indulgent, heavy cream really makes this soup be all the rich and creamy deliciousness that it can be. In my opinion, it’s the key ingredient for an awesome, I-want-to-lick-the-bowl-clean soup.

Light cream is pretty close. Half-and-half works in a pinch. Milk? Not recommended if you want a rich and creamy soup.

pot of sausage, potato and kale soup (zuppa toscana) with a green napkin and wooden spoon

Serve with some crusty bread (or breadsticks!) and a salad for a fabulous dinner. And don’t forget to grate on some Parmesan cheese to make it extra delicious!

COMMON QUESTIONS:

  • Do I have to use kale? Nope. You can use spinach instead. Yum!
  • Can I use frozen kale? Sure! Since it’s already cooked down a bit, you won’t need as much as when using fresh kale. I would suggest 3 to 4 cups, but adjust to your liking.
  • Can I freeze it? You can, but keep in mind that soups with cream or milk in them usually separate and get an odd grainy texture when frozen. Also, the potatoes can become mushy when frozen and reheated. If you want to make this ahead and freeze, I would suggest leaving the cream out and adding it when you reheat it, and make sure your potatoes are not overcooked.
ladle of sausage, potato and kale soup over a pot of soup

Finally, I couldn’t write about this soup without saying that this is one of those dishes that brings back really good memories for me.

For most of my life, my mom and I had a standing “date” on Saturdays – lunch and shopping. We had so much fun and so, so many laughs.

Whenever we went to Olive Garden, which was often, we would always get Zuppa Toscana. Every single time. It was my mom’s favorite. Every time I eat this soup, I can’t help but think of my mom and all those awesome Saturdays.

Yeah, I make this soup a lot. Miss you, Mom!

I hope you try this recipe for Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup (Zuppa Toscana) and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup (Zuppa Toscana)

This Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup is a quick and easy, one-pot, homemade version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It’s creamy, comforting, filling, full of flavor, and ready in less than an hour!
5 from 1 vote
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Author: Michelle | Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 (about 2 cups per serving)
Estimated Calories: 464

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet, hot, or a combination, depending on desired heat level)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups peeled diced potatoes
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 6 cups chopped fresh kale (stems removed)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving, optional

Instructions

  • In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until cooked through and lightly browned, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Remove any excess fat that remains after cooking.
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the potatoes and chicken stock/broth. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

  • I use a 7-quart pot to make my soup so I have lots of room.
  • If you can’t find bulk Italian sausage, get links and remove the sausage from the casing before cooking.
  • You can use frozen kale instead of fresh. Since frozen kale has already been cooked down a bit, you won’t need to use as much. I would use 3 to 4 cups.
  • Spinach can be used instead of kale.
  • Can be frozen, but keep in mind that soups with cream or milk in them usually separate and get an odd grainy texture when frozen. Also, potatoes can become mushy. If making ahead, I would suggest freezing the soup without the cream and adding it when you reheat the soup. Also, make sure your potatoes are not overcooked.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Recipe adapted from Life Made Simple.

Post updated on 2/10/21 (update photos).

Recipe Rating




sandi

Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

this is soo good! I make it every couple weeks and take it for lunch and eat it for dinner untill...sadly its gone. Thanks for posting a great recipiešŸ§”

Michelle

Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

Thank you, Sandi! I'm so happy you enjoy this soup and make it often! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and rate the recipe!