How to Make Copycat Zuppa Toscana at Home

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You can make Olive Garden's famous Zuppa Toscana in a handful of simple steps.

Who doesn’t love a good copycat recipe? They’re a great way to bring the restaurant to you when going out to eat isn’t an option or you just feel like staying in. One of our absolute favorite restaurant recipes to make at home is a classic bowl of Zuppa Toscana.

Not only does this homemade version taste delicious, but it’s also made in a single pot and ready in about 30 minutes. That’s faster than going out to eat!

What Is Zuppa Toscana?

Zuppa Toscana is a vegetable and bean soup made with kale, zucchini, cannellini beans, potatoes and tomatoes, plus celery, carrots and onion. Historically, most people in the Tuscan countryside would have used affordable seasonal vegetables and beans to make their Zuppa Toscana. In fact, the leftovers were often used to make ribollita (aka Italian bread soup).

Essential Tools You’ll Need

You don’t need a fancy commercial kitchen like Olive Garden to make this copycat recipe at home. Beyond some basic measuring cups and spoons, you’ll need a high-quality stockpot, a sharp chef’s knife for chopping and a soup ladle for serving.

How to Make Zuppa Toscana

This Tuscan-inspired soup comes to us from Michelle Babbie in New York.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups sliced fresh kale
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Instructions

Step 1: Brown sausage

In a large stockpot, brown the sausage over medium heat for 4-6 minutes or until no longer pink. As the sausage cooks, break it up into crumbles. When the sausage is brown, remove it from the pot to a towel-lined plate to drain. Leave about 1 tablespoon of fat in the stockpot.

Step 2: Saute onions

To the same pot with the reserved fat, add the finely chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Return the sausage to the pot.

Step 3: Add seasonings, potatoes and kale

Next, add the chicken bouillon granules, garlic powder, pepper, cubed red potatoes and fresh kale to the pot. Stir to combine.

Step 4: Stir in milk and cream

Slowly pour in the milk and heavy cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Note: If you don’t have heavy cream in your fridge, try these heavy cream substitutes.

Step 5: Thicken with cornstarch

While the soup simmers, whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water together until smooth. Once the potatoes are tender, stir the cornstarch mixture (“slurry”) into the soup. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the soup thickens. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts

Per each 1-1/2 cup serving: 504 calories, 38g fat (20g saturated fat), 128mg cholesterol, 881mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 2g fiber), 15g protein

Soup Storage Tips

Store leftover Zuppa Toscana in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Zuppa Toscana can also be frozen for up to 6 months and reheated later for a great, quick meal. If you’re concerned about the soup separating, since it is cream-based, follow these simple tips for best results.

Tip #1: Let cool completely

To help prevent and limit separation in the freezer, let the soup cool completely before storing in an airtight container. This tip is also important from a food safety standpoint since it helps minimize the growth of foodborne bacteria.

Tip #2: Thaw slowly

Cream soups tend to separate less when they’re thawed slowly. Transfer the frozen soup from the freezer to your fridge 24-48 hours before you want to eat it to let it thaw slowly.

Tip #3: Reheat low and slow

Cream soups are best reheated low and slow. Using a double boiler, for example, gently reheats the soup and allows you to continuously stir the soup as it warms. The goal for reheating a cream soup is to try and emulsify all the ingredients together that may have separated when the soup was frozen.

What to Serve with Your Zuppa

We love to serve this cozy soup with a loaf of crusty Italian bread or these Olive Garden-inspired breadsticks.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.