Zuppa Toscana Soup

In my opinion, this is the easiest and most delicious copycat soup recipe ever. Zuppa Toscana is creamy, hearty and full of flavor, while being additionally inexpensive and easy to make. Our boys are not typically picky eaters, and they absolutely love this recipe! Samuel will have at least three bowls and Matthew will have one to two and Levi will have a second serving also. For an inexpensive recipe, this soup can stretch if you need, or make it vegetarian by completely omitting the meat. From start to finish it does take some time to cook in a Crock-Pot, but my total prep was only 15 minutes. On low it will be ready at dinnertime in 6 to 8-hours. If you love Olive Garden’s recipes, this one is a must-have and will additionally be a hit with your littles.

bowl of Zuppa Toscana soup with pretzel roll

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Published February 27, 2021
Updated March 7, 2022
Monica is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commission incomes by advertising and linking to Monicas Scratch Kitchen Blog.

I was able to find 16-ounce packaged ground Italian sausage when I went grocery shopping this week. Typically, I use ground pork sausages, or a mild brat, and was super excited to find this ground mild Italian sausage for sale. When I buy the sausage in the casing it is easy to use a knife to split the casing and tip out the sausage into a hot pan and cook up. However, this mild Italian sausage was just the right fit for this recipe today and paired so well with homemade pretzel rolls.
I also have absolutely LOVED buying kale precut and packaged. Bagged kale is available at my local ALDI and super reasonably priced, however my only tip is to make sure you remove any hard stems and rinse the kale well. The hard stems can be bitter and not taste the best, so make sure to leave at least thirty minutes to an hour for the kale to cook in the soup.

2 packages mild Italian sausages on stove
Milk Italian Sausage

Cost to make Zuppa Toscana

4 Russet Potatoes $1.20
1 Onion $0.40
Heavy cream $1.55
Garlic clove $0.50
Kale $0.80
2-pounds Mild Italian Sausage $5.18

The total cost to make a Crock-Pot of Zuppa Toscana was $9.63 and was not bad for 15 minutes of actual work. As a result, this recipe cost $1.07 for the six of us to eat dinner at a total of 9 bowls, and we even have a ton of soup leftover for tomorrow.

For example, for us to buy this soup, per bowl at Olive Garden is $6.79. If we were to buy 9 bowls, because let’s be honest, that is how many bowls we ate tonight, it would have cost us $61.11 without a tip and just the soup. With eating only soup all of my guys would have left hungry, and we would have still needed to either buy more food or eat at home.
Additionally, I made pretzel rolls this morning and did a double batch which made a total of 16 buns. As a result, we had them for lunch, with dinner, the kids snacked on them through the day. Click the link below for my recipe for Homemade Pretzel Rolls. This recipe for pretzel rolls results in a soft and moist roll while not breaking the bank.

Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Olive Garden and am not ripping on them as a business. In fact, Olive Garden was Tyler and my first date in 2006 and is our favorite restaurant. However, we just cannot afford to go with 4 kids! The last time we went, it cost us an arm and a leg and then Tyler came home hungry. Living off of one income and 6 people does require me to be diligent about planning our weekly meals but being frugal does not mean you have to eat bologna sandwiches every day. We instead decide to splurge and make your favorite meal at home! Bust out the calculator to see how much money it would cost to go out, then how much it would cost to make it, and have some fun in the kitchen.

Zuppa Toscana Recipe

Ingredients

4 Russet potatoes
1 onion
2 cups heavy cream
8 cups water
1 Tbsp chicken base or 2 bouillon cubes
4 cloves garlic
2 cups kale
2 pounds mild Italian sausage

Zuppa Toscana Soup in bowl with pretzel roll
Zuppa Toscana with homemade pretzel rolls

Directions

1. Cut in half, peel and dice one onion, then set aside.

One onion diced on red cutting board for Zuppa Toscana soup
Dice the onion.

2. Heat a pan on medium heat and cook Italian sausage and onion until browned.

2-pounds mild Italian sausage in pan on stove
mild Italian sausage and diced onion cooking in pan on stove
Cook the Italian sausage and diced onion.

3. Place a few sheets of paper towel on a large plate and when sausage is fully cooked, then carefully scoop onto plate to drain.

2-pounds mild Italian sausage and onion cooked and draining on paper towel
Let the sausage drain on the paper towel.

4. Then pour heavy cream into a Crock-Pot.

heavy cream in container on countertop next to Crock-Pot
Heavy cream works great for this recipe!

5. Peel and mince garlic and then add to the Crock-Pot.

minced garlic on red cutting board for Zuppa Toscana soup
Minced garlic.

6. Add water to the Crock-Pot. If using chicken base, then use 6-8 cups water, however if you are using chicken stock use the same amount in place of water, omitting the chicken base or bullion. I have been using L.B. Jamison’s Soup Base lately and seriously love it. This brand has beef, chicken and ham flavored bases that can make soups, gravy and can then be used to season any meal.

Can of L.B. Jamison's Chicken Soup Base on countertop
This soup base is great and so versatile!
heavy cream and water in Crock-Pot for Zuppa Toscana soup

7. In a sink colander, rinse then peel and dice the potatoes and then add to the Crock-Pot.

sink colander with Russett potatoes for Zuppa Toscana
I LOVE this over the sink colander!
peeled and cut potatoes on red cutting board
diced potatoes on red cutting board
Dice the peeled potatoes so they are bite-sized pieces.
diced potatoes added to Crock-Pot
Add the potatoes to the Crockpot.

8. When sausage is drained, carefully scoop it into the Crock-Pot.

cooked mild Italian sausage and onion poured in Crock-Pot for Zuppa Toscana

9. Turn temperature dial on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

10. With an hour left rinse in a sink colander and roughly chop kale, removing the hard stems, and then add it to the Crock-Pot. Finally, cover and cook an additional hour.

chopped kale bag
Kale rinsed in sink colander

This over the sink colander is a kitchen tool used on a daily basis in our family’s kitchen. We use it for pasta, vegetables, holding potatoes before peeling, rinsing foods and more. Check out the prices on Amazon by clicking the link above as they often have sale prices. I love the fact that I can order something and have it delivered fast.

Zuppa Toscana Soup in Crock-Pot
Zuppa Toscana soup cooking in Crock-Pot

11. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.

Zuppa Toscana soup in bowl with pretzel roll

Enjoy!
~Monica

Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe

Ingredients

4 Russet potatoes
1 onion
2 cups heavy cream
8 cups water
1 Tbsp chicken base or 2 bouillon cubes
4 cloves garlic
2 cups kale
2 pounds mild Italian sausage

Directions

1. Cut in half, peel and dice one onion, then set aside.
2. Heat a pan on medium heat and cook Italian sausage and onion until browned.
3. Place a few sheets of paper towel on a large plate and when sausage is fully cooked, carefully scoop onto plate to drain.
4. Then pour heavy cream into Crock-Pot.
5. Peel and mince garlic and then add to the Crock-Pot.
6. Add water to the Crock-Pot. If using chicken base, use 6-8 cups water, or if using chicken stock then use the same amount in place of water, omitting the chicken base or bullion.
7. Rinse, peel and dice 4 russet potatoes and then add them to the Crock-Pot.
8. When sausage is drained, carefully scoop into the Crock-Pot.
9. Turn temperature dial on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
10. With an hour left rinse and roughly chop kale, removing the hard stems, and then add it to the Crock-Pot. Finally, cover and cook an additional hour to soften and cook the kale.
11. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.
Enjoy!
~Monica

A few of my favorite things

I literally use this sink colander daily and is good to rinse vegetables and fruit, drain pasta, and can additionally be used for crafts. Yes, we have used a colander for crafts and the best part, this Makerstep Over the Sink Colander is dishwasher save and fits most sinks. Check it out by clicking the link to Amazon below.

Having a Crock-Pot can be essential for weekly meals. Whether you are an on-the-go family or you like to make recipes that require not a lot of work, having a Crock-Pot can make weekly meal planning a breeze.

Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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