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

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective April 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Soup looks fabulous, Tara! :)


Cindy April 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

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


Cassie | Bake Your Day April 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I love zuppa toscana! This looks fabulous!


Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen April 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My kids would love this soup! What a fun challenge with Johnsonville!
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ashley - baker by nature April 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Oh my gosh, this soup looks incredible! I would totally get down on a pot of this!
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Angie April 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

This looks incredible!
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Aggie April 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm

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! :)
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Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles April 19, 2013 at 7:46 am

I haven’t tried that soup at Olive Garden, but now I want to! Your version looks great, love the rice in it!
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Amanda April 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Such a smart recipe!! I love it. And its beyond beautiful!
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Shaina April 30, 2013 at 9:26 am

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