Zuppa Toscana (Potato and Sausage Soup with Kale)

>> Monday, October 24, 2016

Zuppa Toscana (Potato and Sausage Soup with Kale)

Our daughters both worked at the local Red Lobster early in their job careers. This meant that they received discounts to all the Darden-brand restaurants, including the local Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, and Bahama Breeze. Their favorite was Olive Garden, so we used to have lovely girl-dates there with the all-you-can-eat soup and salad lunches.

This recipe is a re-creation of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, an Italian sausage, potato, and kale soup with a splash of cream. We made a few tweaks for our own tastes. We lightened up by using low-fat chicken sausage and fat-free half and half, and we added spinach for extra vitamins and fiber. The result was so good that we've eaten it over and over again. This is not a soup that takes all day to make; you can whip it up within an hour.

Re-creation of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

Joe approached the idea of soup with spinach and kale with some trepidation, since he still bears the scars of childhood when he was served boiled greens as a glop of mush. But the kale held its texture during cooking, and we stirred in the baby spinach right at the end. It gave a delicate flavor while holding its shape in the creamy, brothy deliciousness.

Potato and sausage soup with kale

I think I need to go make another pot. Did I mention it takes less than an hour to make?


6 large red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
1 medium yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 quart chicken broth
1 lb. fully-cooked smoked or Italian chicken sausages
2 cups kale, washed and drained
2 cups baby spinach, washed and drained
1 pint fat-free half and half
Salt and pepper to taste


Slice the potatoes and onions 1/2 inch thick and place them in a large pot. Add the garlic, cayenne, nutmeg, and fennel. Pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. 

Slice the cooked sausages into irregular 1/2 inch pieces. Coarsely chop the kale. When the potatoes are nearly tender, stir the sausage and kale into the pot and continue simmering until the potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Coarsely chop the spinach and stir it into the soup. Pour in the half and half and add salt and pepper. Heat through for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes about 2 quarts of soup.


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