Soup lovers, this one has your name all over it! A warming bowl of Zuppa Toscana soup is just the thing to nourish you from the inside out. Filled to the brim with Italian turkey sausage, fresh veggies, a creamy broth, and those classic Italian flavors that so many love. Our Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe is made easily in the crockpot and will cure every craving you have for this popular hearty Italian soup!
A Favorite Italian Soup made in the Crock Pot
Zuppa Toscana soup is a delicious and hearty Italian soup that has been popularized by Olive Garden. Here, we offer a way to make this favorite soup even better for you by inserting more nutrients and fiber, as well as cutting back on saturated fat. All the flavor you’ve come to know and love in Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana is in THIS soup recipe. We opted to make this a slow cooker recipe so you can set it to cook in your crockpot and savor the delicious smells coming from the kitchen without needing to do a thing until it’s nearly ready to serve!
Ingredients to make zuppa toscana Soup
What do you need on hand to make this Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe? Here are the basic fresh and pantry ingredients to gather today:
- Dry seasonings – you’ll need Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper
- Avocado oil or olive oil
- Lean ground turkey – we recommend using 93/7 ground turkey; can also sub ground pork and ground beef
- Yellow onion – or use a white onion, if that’s what you have on hand
- Small potatoes – use small red or Yukon Gold potatoes
- Mushrooms – we recommend button or cremini mushrooms
- Chicken broth – use low-sodium chicken broth; vegetable broth will also work
- Fresh kale – or sub in chopped collards or chard
- Half-and-half – for dairy-free, can use canned coconut milk instead
- Cornstarch – for thickening; can sub in arrowroot starch
- Parmesan – use grated or shredded Parmesan for serving
- Fresh parsley – as an optional garnish, but recommended
how to make crock pot zuppa toscana soup
Here are the basic steps to prep this Zuppa Tosana recipe so you can be enjoying it in your bowls very soon.
- Mix the seasonings and brown the turkey: In a small bowl, mix together the Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, fennel seeds, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Then, cook the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat, using a spoon or spatula to break up the turkey as it brown. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix and cook for 3 minutes, stirring once, then add the onions and garlic and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the turkey is no longer pink and the onions just start to soften, stirring occasionally.
- Add ingredients to the slow cooker: Transfer the cooked turkey mixture to the slow cooker. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, and chicken broth; stir gently to combine. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on LOW (or 3 hours on HIGH) or until the potatoes are just tender. Increase the temperature setting to high.
- Thicken the soup and add the kale: In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch into the half and half. Add the half-and-half to the slow cooker and stir. Replace the lid and allow the soup to cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the kale. Replace the lid and cook for another 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Garnish and serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese, parsley, and additional red pepper flakes.
We recommend reading through this blog post for our step-by-step instructions and photo tutorial showing you exactly how to make this clone Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe. For the printable directions, ingredient amounts, and complete nutrition analysis that lists calories, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, and more per serving, scroll down to the printable recipe card below.
What is the History of zuppa toscana?
In Italian, Zuppa Toscana translates to “Tuscan Soup” and refers to a veggie-based soup made from a variety of garden-fresh produce, including kale, onion, potatoes, carrot, celery, and tomatoes, as well as cannellini beans and chili powder. In North America, that type of soup would look more like a Minestrone. Often, cooked bacon and toasted slices of Tuscan bread are added to the Zuppa Toscana soup before serving.
However, a version of Zuppa Toscana popularized by Olive Garden restaurants also includes Italian sausage, cream, and red pepper flakes. Our version is a lightened Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe that we know you’ll love! We’ve upped the veggies and cut back on saturated fat. And we’ve provided directions for how to easily make this Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe in the slow cooker!
how to store leftovers and reheat
Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or, store in a freezer-safe container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can reheat individual bowls in the microwave or reheat an entire batch in a pot on the stove. To reheat from frozen, place frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, then reheat the soup gently in a pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop.
What to serve with This Olive Garden zuppa toscana recipe
This hearty Italian soup is just the thing to serve on a chilly day. It’s full of nourishing foods and nutrients. Sure, a warm bowl of Zuppa Toscana can sometimes be a meal on its own. But it also lends itself well to being served with these other foods to round out the meal:
- crusty sourdough bread or crackers
- our Copycat Olive Garden Salad
- our Gluten-Free Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
Pass bowls of chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes for adding flavoring and pretty garnish all in one.
Healthier Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup
The version of Zuppa Toscana that has been popularized by Olive Garden restaurants is super delicious! And the restaurant recipe is also heavy on saturated fat from the additions of cream and Italian sausage. Our version uses half-and-half and turkey sausage instead, so you get all those same flavors and a delicious creamy broth, but with a lot less total fat grams. We’ve also upped the veggies, including nutritious potatoes, onions, kale, and mushrooms, so this is one hearty Italian soup that you can feel good about serving any time!
For the ground turkey sausage:
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey (we recommend 93/7)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
For the soup:
- 1 lb. small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and halved (or cut into 1-inch pieces if large)
- 8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, caps and stems sliced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups fresh kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (1 small bunch)
- ¾ cups half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese for serving
- Optional: Chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish
- In a small bowl, mix together the Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, fennel seeds, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Add the ground turkey to the skillet and use a spoon or spatula to break it up. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix and cook for 3 minutes, stirring once, then add the onions and garlic and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the turkey is no longer pink and the onions just start to soften, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the turkey mixture to the slow cooker. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, and chicken broth; stir gently to combine.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on LOW (or 3 hours on HIGH) or until the potatoes are just tender. Increase the temperature setting to high.
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch into the half and half. Add the half-and-half to the slow cooker and stir. Replace the lid and allow the soup to cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir in the kale. Replace the lid and cook for another 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese, parsley, and additional red pepper flakes.
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Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat thawed leftovers in individual portions in the microwave, or reheat a batch in a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat on the stovetop.
- Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
- Calories: 280
- Fat: 12 g
- (Sat Fat: 4 g)
- Sodium: 580 mg
- Carbohydrate: 21 g
- (Fiber: 2 g
- Sugar: 5 g)
- Protein: 22 g
- Cholesterol: 54 mg
© The Real Food Dietitians
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House
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Jessie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living near Denver, CO where she splits her time among nearby playgrounds, typing away at her trusty laptop, and heating up her home kitchen with delicious experiments. Her best taste tester is her husband, a Denver firefighter with a well-trained palate. A former magazine editor-in-chief, Jessie has a long career in food publishing and health writing. While she once played centerfield for the Northwestern University softball team, Jessie now prefers her fitness in the way of biking up mountain passes and chasing two busy toddlers (the latter proving to be the more exhausting activity).