Lunch With Loni

Just another weblog

Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden knockoff) January 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 5:00 am

Recipe courtesy of: An Olive Garden employee divulged the recipe, but I found it on the “Tuscan Recipes” website.

Original recipe located at:

Whenever I try a recipe out that’s based on something I’ve eaten at a restaurant, I’m always worried that it won’t be quite the same.  This recipe did not disappoint!  If you like the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden, definitely try this out.  If you have never been to Olive Garden, you should still try this out!  It is delightfully spicy, savory, and has a good variety of textures in it.  It also makes A LOT of soup.  I served one bowl with 1/2 of a panini for each of us, and I cut the recipe down by 2 cups of liquid, and there is still plenty to go in the freezer/to work tomorrow.

Oh, and this was my first time cooking with kale.  Do I get a special blog award for that? 


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage ** (I used slightly less than 1lb because I was using leftover sausage from a different recipe)
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces (I wasn’t sure if this meant the kind in a jar or what, so I diced 3 pieces of bacon and sauteed it with the onion)
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water (I used 8 cups—my pot wouldn’t even fit that much liquid and I like a good “stuff” to “liquid” ratio)
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon (I used 4 since I used 8 cups of water)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used 1 cup evaporated milk—I wanted the creaminess so I didn’t cut down on this, especially since I didn’t use actual heavy cream)
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes (I used 3 large red potatoes—which also seemed to cook faster than the recipe indicates)
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale


  1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!

**I typically use turkey sausage instead of pork sausage (not only for health reasons but because I like the taste/texture better).  I think subbing turkey sausage and evaporated milk for the heavy cream, this soup can easily be made into a “lighter” version. 


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