5 from 9 votes

Hearty Zuppa Toscana

 October 5, 2023

There is nothing better than a creamy comforting soup during those chilly winter months. And when it comes to comforting soups, nothing fits the bill better than a big bowl of Zuppa Toscana. Translating to “Tuscan Soup,” this hearty soup is filled with tender potatoes, Italian sausage, and lots of parmesan cheese. What could be better than that? My Hearty Zuppa Toscana is a better-for-you take on the classic recipe that is perfect to keep your belly full and your heart warm, all winter long!

A bowl of the hearty Zuppa Toscana, sitting on a countertop surrounded by ingredients and a larger pot of soup

Friends, who remembers Olive Garden? Back in the day, it was one of my favorite chain restaurants. Between their endless breadsticks and side salad and their rich and creamy pasta dishes, what’s not to love? When my husband and I first started dating years ago, we would go to Olive Garden all the time. And my favorite dish to order there, hands-down, was the Zuppa Toscana.

Literally meaning “tuscan soup” this soup recipe is made from hearty chicken broth, heavy cream, tender Italian sausage, and a medley of fresh vegetables. There’s truly nothing better than it! And since my days of going to Olive Garden are long gone (let’s be honest, it’s not known for being the healthiest place to eat), I knew I needed to make a healthier version at home. My version of Zuppa Toscana has all of the elements of the traditional version that you know and love, but made at home with better quality ingredients and at a fraction of the price. What could be better than that?

If you’re someone who craves soup in the colder seasons, then this is the perfect recipe to prep-ahead and keep in your freezer for whenever the craving strikes. I love to meal-prep all of my favorite soups during the wintertime, so that there’s always a delicious, cozy, comforting meal ready to reheat in seconds. With all of the upcoming holiday cooking, the last thing I want to worry about is what to make for dinner. By preparing soups ahead of time, it ensures that you never have to worry about what to make, again!

What You Need to Make This Classic Italian Soup Recipe

  • Olive Oil: In my opinion, any good soup starts with olive oil! You can also use avocado oil, if you prefer.
  • Yellow Onion: Yellow onion is rich and fragrant and adds a delicious flavor to this soup.
  • Garlic: I highly recommend using fresh garlic in this soup for the best flavor,.
  • Seasonings: You’ll need a combination of Italian seasoning, red chili flakes, sea salt, and ground black pepper to season this soup. Yum!
  • Italian Sausage: Italian sausage is a classic ingredient when it comes to Zuppa Toscana, and adds a heartiness to the soup that makes it perfectly filling in those colder months!
  • Arrowroot Starch or Corn Starch or Tapioca Flour: This is optional, but if you like a thicker soup, adding in some starch or flour can thicken the consistency of the broth. But if you prefer a thinner soup, you can absolutely omit this.
A dutch oven, filled with the Zuppa toscana ingredients, with the chicken broth actively being poured into it
Next, add in the arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, or cornstarch if using, alongside the diced potatoes, chopped kale, chicken broth, heavy cream or non-dairy milk, and grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the mixture reaches a gentle boil.
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes: Part of what makes this soup hearty is the addition of potatoes. I like using Yukon gold potatoes because they’re small and cook quickly, which cuts down the overall cook time on this soup.
  • Kale: Of course, this wouldn’t be a Kalejunkie soup recipe without the kale! Kale is rich in vitamins and minerals, and tastes absolutely delicious in this soup recipe.
  • Chicken Broth: Broth is an essential ingredient to any soup recipe, and the addition of chicken broth gives this soup and rich and creamy flavor.
  • Heavy Cream or Non-Dairy Milk: Heavy cream is the more traditional ingredient to use in this recipe. However, if you want to keep this soup dairy-free, you can opt to use a non-dairy milk instead!
  • Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese adds a salty, fatty, delicious flavor to this soup that we’ll be using both in the soup itself and as a finishing garnish on the top. If you want to keep this recipe dairy-free, you can opt to use a dairy-free parmesan cheese!
  • Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon adds the perfect finishing touch to this hearty soup.
A close-up image of the Zuppa toscana, sitting in a pot with a ladle holding up some of the soup
Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the soup to cook for an additional 15 minutes.

How to Meal-Prep This Hearty Soup in Under 40 Minutes

This soup comes together in just under 40 minutes, in a few simple and easy steps. It’s perfect for meal-prepping at the beginning of the week, so that you can enjoy this delicious and cozy soup all week long!

To make this soup, start by heating a large pot or dutch oven, on the stove, over medium heat. Then, add in the olive oil. While the oil is heating up, chop and prepare the onions and garlic. Then, once the pan is hot, add them into the pan alongside the Italian seasoning, chili flakes, sea salt, and ground black pepper. Sauté them for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.

A bowl of the hearty Zuppa Toscana, sitting on a countertop with a spoon sitting in the bowl with the soup
Finally, once the soup is done, squeeze lemon juice over the top and add in another serving of parmesan cheese. Then, serve the soup and enjoy!

Once the onions have softened, add the Italian sausage to the pan, being sure to remove the casing before adding it in. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into smaller pieces and allow it to cook until it’s browned. Next, add in the arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, or cornstarch if using, alongside the diced potatoes, chopped kale, chicken broth, heavy cream or non-dairy milk, and grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the mixture reaches a gentle boil.

Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the soup to cook for an additional 15 minutes. Finally, once the soup is done, squeeze lemon juice over the top and add in another serving of parmesan cheese. Then, serve the soup and enjoy! Store any leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge for up to one week.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A bowl of the hearty Zuppa Toscana, sitting on a countertop surrounded by ingredients and a larger pot of soup

Hearty Zuppa Toscana

5 from 9 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
SERVES 6 Servings
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There is nothing better than a creamy comforting soup during those chilly winter months. And when it comes to comforting soups, nothing fits the bill better than a big bowl of Zuppa Toscana. Translating to "Tuscan Soup," this hearty soup is filled with tender potatoes, Italian sausage, and lots of parmesan cheese. What could be better than that? My Hearty Zuppa Toscana is a better-for-you take on the classic recipe that is perfect to keep your belly full and your heart warm, all winter long!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • ½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound Mild Italian Sausage with the casing removed
  • ¼ Cup Arrowroot Starch or Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch this is optional, but recommended if you'd like a thicker soup!
  • 4 Small Yukon Gold Potatoes diced into chunks
  • 1 Cup Kale chopped
  • 32 Ounces Organic Chicken Broth
  • ½ Cup Heavy Cream or Full-Fat Coconut Milk or Dairy-Free Milk of Choice
  • Cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated; plus more for topping the soup
  • 1 Lemon juiced and squeezed over the top of the finished soup

Instructions

  • To make this soup, start by heating a large pot or dutch oven, on the stove, over medium heat. Then, add in the olive oil.
  • While the oil is heating up, chop and prepare the onions and garlic. Then, once the pan is hot, add them into the pan alongside the Italian seasoning, chili flakes, sea salt, and ground black pepper. Sauté them for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.
  • Once the onions have softened, add the Italian sausage to the pan, being sure to remove the casing before adding it in. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into smaller pieces and allow it to cook until it's browned.
  • Next, add in the arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, or cornstarch if using, alongside the diced potatoes, chopped kale, chicken broth, heavy cream or non-dairy milk, and grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the mixture reaches a gentle boil.
  • Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the soup to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Finally, once the soup is done, squeeze lemon juice over the top and add in another serving of parmesan cheese. Then, serve the soup and enjoy! Store any leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Did you make this recipe?

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in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. 5 stars
    We made this last night for dinner and it is our new favorite soup. So delicious and full of flavor! Thanks so much!

    • Woohoo! I am so thrilled to hear that! Thank you so much for making this recipe, and for leaving such a kind review, Elise!

  2. This recipe came together quickly for a Monday night dinner (the day I usually have the least motivation for making a homemade meal—so this was perfect)… and it’s delish! Full of flavor, tasty and filling ingredients, and it made the perfect amount for my husband and I to enjoy for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow! I used heavy whipping cream this time because I had it on hand, but I think unsweetened oat or almond milk would be great in this too (what I would usually use). This is going to be in my monthly meal rotation for sure. Thanks, kalejunkie!

    • I am so happy to hear that your husband and I enjoyed this soup, Becca! It’s one of my favorites! Thank you so much for your review!

    • I am so thrilled that you loved this recipe, Becca! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

  3. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight and oh…. My….. goooodnesssss!!!! This is the most delicious thing I have ever made from a recipe online!!!! This soup is packed with so many flavors! It has that little kick of spice but nothing too powerful and the flavor combos just go amazing together!!! I would totally recommend!!!!

    • Harley, that makes me SO happy to hear!! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

  4. I’ve made this soup for years but tried your version- my new favorite! The lemon juice at the end puts it over the top!

    • I am so thrilled you love my version, Joleen! Thank you so much for trying it out, and for leaving a kind review!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday and it is delicious! Full of flavor and filling, and also cozy and perfect for a crisp fall or winter day. I followed the recipe exactly. Took some to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law too!

    • Lynne, I am so thrilled that you loved this recipe! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

  6. 5 stars
    This was AHHHHHMAZING!!!
    My 9 year old daughter had two servings and asked to take some in a thermos for lunch. This will be on rotation at our house.

    • Yay! I’m so happy to hear that, Amy! Thank you so much for making this recipe, and for leaving such a kind review!

    • I am so thrilled that you loved it, Rachel! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

    • Woohoo! I am so thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for your review, Valleri!