creamy kale and italian sausage soup (zuppa toscana)

Jessica Penner, RDRecipes, Soup2 Comments

zuppa toscana

This copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana soup has such a rich flavour, you’d never guess each bowl has 4.5 servings of veggies in it! 

You think you’re original. Then this happens. 

My friend and her kids were over for a playdate when lunchtime suddenly creeped up on us. I invited them to stay with us and informed them that we were just going to be having a kale and italian sausage soup. 

She said “oh, like Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden! Is it a creamy soup with potatoes too?” 

Yup, I say.

“Yes, that’s Zuppa Toscana!” she replied. 

I had no idea I had literally copy and pasted the Olive Garden recipe into my pot. I thought I was making up an original soup idea. 

It’s been years and years since I’ve eaten at the Olive Garden. Had this flavour combo been stuck in my subconscious? Or do these foods just naturally go together so well that it was inevitable for any cook to make this combination? 

Regardless, I don’t need to take credit for the idea. This is just a darn good soup and everyone should put it on their to-do list. Whether you’ve never visited the restaurant or you’re an Olive Garden junkie, this soup will impress! 

zuppa toscana

why it’s a smart choice

Eating soup is probably my all-time favourite way to eat veggies. Mixing them altogether with the meat, potatoes, and flavourful broth makes them incredibly tasty. This soup has such a rich flavour, you’d never guess each bowl has 4.5 servings of veggies in it! 

I’ve stopped enjoying soup at most restaurants (including The Olive Garden!) because the salt content is so so so so high!  But the amount of sodium in this soup is unreal. One bowl has only 340 mg sodium. For a bowl with the same amount of calories, The Olive Garden version has 1300 mg! 

But don’t worry, there’s NO sacrifice on flavour!

zuppa toscana

If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram!  I’d love to see your creations! 

zuppa toscana

creamy kale and italian sausage soup

  • Author: Jessica Penner, RD
  • Yield: 8 servings


A take on the Zuppa Toscana soup from The Olive Garden.


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 2 links Italian sausage (12 oz), sliced
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 handful fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 handful fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sized russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 can (798 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon (I like the Better Than Bouillon brand)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 can (370 ml) evaporated milk


  1. Heat the oil over medium low in a large soup pot.
  2. Add the chopped onions. Saute until soft.
  3. Add the celery, carrot, kale, italian sausage, chili flakes, fennel, basil, oregano, and garlic.
  4. Cook until the italian sausage is no longer pink.
  5. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, bouillon, and water. Cook until the potatoes are soft.
  6. Add the milk and turn off the heat.
  7. Stir to mix in the milk.

Calories:  289| Fat: 8g | Carbs: 46g | Fibre: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Protein: 12g


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2 Comments on “creamy kale and italian sausage soup (zuppa toscana)”

  1. Love it a lot. I actually didn’t think it tasted that much like the zuppa toscana – maybe the fennel gave it a different taste to me? I’m not sure, but either way it was a huge hit. Even though my 2 year old wasn’t quite yet into cooked leafy greens, there was enough sausage and carrots in there to satisfy her and she loved drinking the broth. My husband isn’t usually much of a soup person, but because it’s so “hearty” it is a huge hit with him.

    1. Oh awesome! I haven’t had the zuppa toscana from Olive Garden in years so admittedly I don’t know how close it tastes to that one. Glad to hear your family loves this version though!

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