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Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup

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

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.

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.

Zuppa Toscana

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.

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

Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup

Zuppa Toscana Italian Sausage Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 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.

Have you tried this recipe?

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More Sausage Recipes To Try

If you like this zuppa toscana recipe, you might also enjoy these other delicious sausage recipes with bold flavor:

Did you make this recipe?
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Tuesday 30th of April 2013

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


Thursday 25th of April 2013

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

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

Friday 19th of April 2013

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


Thursday 18th of April 2013

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! :)


Thursday 18th of April 2013

This looks incredible!

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