Apr 16

Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup

Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup

Eating out with 5 kids gets expensive fast, so there's nothing I love more than recreating our favorite restaurant meals at home... except maybe improving on the original!

Recently Johnsonville asked me to participate in a series of secret ingredient challenges over the next year, and the ingredients for the first challenge are their Better-For-You sausage and Uncle Ben's Ready Rice.

Johnsonville Secret Ingredient Challenge

The obvious recipe using these ingredients would seem to be an easy sausage and veggie stir fry over rice, but I've been craving Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana lately. Yes, I realize that this classic Italian sausage soup typically does not include rice, but I decided to add two bags of Uncle Ben's Brown Ready Rice, and we loved the added texture! Not to mention it stretches this dish just a little bit further, making it a hearty meal all on its own.

I've also lightened up this Zuppa Toscana a bit by using Johnsonville Pork & Chicken Mild Italian Sausage, turkey bacon, and reducing the amount of heavy cream by half. I still wouldn't call this Zuppa Toscana low-fat by any means, but it's certainly a better-for-you alternative.

Tip: Try baking your bacon in the oven for perfectly cooked bacon with less mess!

Zuppa Toscana

For a larger meal, try pairing this with my Pasta alla Bolognese and copy cat Olive Garden Salad!

Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup

Serving Size: 6 servings

Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup


  • 1 pkg. Johnsonville Pork & Chicken Mild Italian Sausage
  • 2 pkgs. Uncle Ben's Brown Ready Rice
  • 8 small honey gold potatoes, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Slice uncooked sausage and then cut each slice in half. Brown sausage in a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. When cooked through, remove to a plate.
  2. Pour another drizzle of olive oil into the same pot, and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.
  3. Add in the chicken broth, water, and sliced potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender enough to be pierced easily with a fork.
  4. Add the sausage back to the mixture, as well as the bacon, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, and add the kale, rice and heavy cream.
  6. Heat through and serve.


Try these other delicious recipes featuring Johnsonville Sausage:

This post is brought to you by Johnsonville. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own -- always have been, always will be!

by Tara | 10 comments

  • http://aspicyperspective.com Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective

    Soup looks fabulous, Tara! :)

  • http://cynsew@gmail.com Cindy

    Oh this sounds delicious! I love this soup and actually had it yesterday at Olive Garden!! Can't wait to give this a try!

  • http://bakeyourday.net Cassie | Bake Your Day

    I love zuppa toscana! This looks fabulous!

  • http://www.missinthekitchen.com Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen

    My kids would love this soup! What a fun challenge with Johnsonville!

  • http://bakerbynature.com ashley – baker by nature

    Oh my gosh, this soup looks incredible! I would totally get down on a pot of this!

  • http://eclecticrecipes.com Angie

    This looks incredible!

  • http://www.aggieskitchen.com Aggie

    I've always loved that soup at OG! This looks delicious. And it really does get expensive going out to dinner with kids - mine are getting quite the appetites lately and ordering big! :)

  • http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles

    I haven't tried that soup at Olive Garden, but now I want to! Your version looks great, love the rice in it!

  • http://iambaker.net Amanda

    Such a smart recipe!! I love it. And its beyond beautiful!

  • http://foodformyfamily.com/ Shaina

    This looks fantastic. I love the green that the kale brings to it.

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