A Zuppa Toscana Soup to Warm Up Chilly Nights

Every Sunday night through the fall, I make a big pot of soup. You guys know that I love my Soup Sunday ritual and it’s been so fun seeing all of yours this year! This Zuppa Toscana soup is what’s on deck this weekend, and it is cozy in a bowl. And one thing that I love about it is that it’s hearty enough to feel like a full one-bowl dinner thanks to the sausage, potatoes, kale, and cauliflower (this is a real meal you guys!) It’s definitely become one of our family’s favorite soups that’s on heavy rotation at our house, and I have a feeling it’ll become a new fave for many of you, too.

What is Zuppa Toscana soup?

Let’s start by talking about Zuppa Toscana soup (pronounced zoo-pah to-scah-nah). There are a few different versions, and let’s be honest most Americans only know about the one from Olive Garden. The actual meaning of “zuppa toscana” in Italian is “Tuscan Soup,” and here’s where it gets a little confusing. The classic Tuscan soup is typically full of chopped veggies—carrots, onion, kale, potatoes—plus white beans, tomatoes, sometimes some pancetta, and roasted bread. It is absolutely delicious—on my first trip to Tuscany when I was in college, I ate a bowl of Tuscan soup every day and fell in love. But is this that classic Tuscan soup? Not even close.

Enter, the “classic” American version of Zuppa Toscana soup which is also incredibly delicious, it’s just different. It’s rich and creamy, and typically can be a bit heavy, so I wanted to try making a lighter version that would still feel really nourishing. I kept the sausage and potatoes but used less cream and lots more veggies. If you’re looking for an exact copycat version of the beloved Olive Garden soup, this is not it—however, it’s every bit as delicious and packed with protein. And it makes the perfect leftovers to enjoy all week.

How to make Zuppa Toscana soup

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • mild or hot Italian sausage (your preference!)
  • red pepper flakes
  • onion
  • carrots
  • garlic
  • chicken broth
  • potatoes
  • cauliflower
  • lacinato kale
  • milk and half-and-half
  • thyme
  • parmesan

The method is super simple. You’re going to start by cooking the Italian sausage on its own. The best way to cook Italian sausage is to brown it in a sauté pan until it’s crumbly and flavorful, and it’s well worth doing this as a separate first step. Then you’re going to drain and set aside the sausage while you sauté the other ingredients.

Warm up some olive oil in your pot, then stir in the chopped onions, carrots, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cook it all for about 5 minutes. Then you just add the broth, cubed potatoes, kale, and cauliflower and simmer until it’s all tender, about 20 minutes. The final step is adding in the milk, half-and-half, and cooked sausage. Once the sausage is warmed through, you can serve it in bowls and top with thyme, parmesan, and olive oil.

How to store leftover soup

One of the best things about soup is that usually, there are enough leftovers to eat for lunch all week. Sometimes I’ll even double this recipe so I can store half in the freezer so I’ve got a full family dinner ready to go on busy weeknights. This soup can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, but if you’d like to store it for longer, here’s how to freeze Zuppa Toscana soup (or any other soup for that matter):

  1. Let your soup cool completely.
  2. Then, pour soup into freezer-safe containers or gallon-sized freezer bags.
  3. Label the container with the name of the soup, as well as the date when you made it. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months!
  4. To thaw, I take it out of the freezer about 24 hours before to thaw in the refrigerator, then I warm it in a soup pot when ready to eat.

Scroll on for the recipe for this Zuppa Toscana soup, and be sure to follow along on Instagram for all our Soup Sunday recipes throughout fall.

Other Soup Sunday recipes you’ll love:

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Cozy Tortellini Soup


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This is a lightened-up version of the classic Zuppa Toscana soup, thanks to a little less cream and lots more veggies. It’s nourishing and delicious and packed with protein—and it makes the perfect leftovers to enjoy all week.

  • 8 ounces mild Italian sausage (1/2 pound)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 68 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes (about 3 cups) – or sub in sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1” pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 bunch lacinato kale, destemmed & coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half (you can swap in coconut milk for all dairy)
  • garnish with fresh thyme, lots of grated parmesan, and olive oil

  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the sausage is crumbly and browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in dutch oven, then stir in the chopped onions, carrots, minced garlic, and italian seasoning; cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cubed potatoes, kale, and cauliflower and simmer until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium; gradually stir in the milk, half-and-half, and cooked sausage. Cook and stir until the sausage is warmed through. Serve immediately topped with thyme, parmesan, and olive oil.


  • Store in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • This soup is gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free by swapping the milk and half-and-half for a nondairy substitute like coconut milk.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40

Keywords: zuppa toscana soup