Oh yes! The perfect cold weather comfort food. I mean seriously, this is the food version of a warm, fuzzy blanket in front of a blazing fire when it is snowing outside, with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. Which almost describes my weekend, seeing as how our downstairs heating unit went out this week…so we spent a lot of time huddled up in the living room in front of the fireplace, b/c for whatever reason, it takes a week for the part to come in. These heat people need to get with the program, I mean helloooo? What about over night delivery?! Anyway. That’s a gripe for another day. This soup is so warm and comforting, it will make you forget about the frigid temps.
Not only is it delicious, it’s also pretty good for you, thanks to reducing the cream and a good amount of the superfood, kale! Yes, under all that cream and sausage, there has been a leafy green hiding. Even better, these changes were made without sacrificing the flavor we know and love from this very popular soup.
I’ve had a few friends waiting patiently for me to get this recipe posted since I put a pic on FB the other day, so here goes!
Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana – lightened up!
1 lb Italian Chicken Sausage (see notes)
3 medium baking potatoes, with skins (1/8 to 1/4 inch slices-see notes)
1 large chopped onion
1/8-1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 1/2 (packed) cups kale, stalks removed and chopped
16 oz. chicken broth
1 quart water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/4 cup skim milk
- I used Spicy Chipotle Chicken Sausage b/c that is what I had on hand. Hot Italian Chicken Sausage would be excellent however.
- Slicing the potatoes in varying widths helps add texture to the soup. The very thinly sliced potatoes ‘dissolve’ into the broth, making it thicker and creamier.
- I used a 1/2 cup heavy cream b/c I happened to have some leftover from another recipe, however, next time, I will only use half-and-half and milk. Cream is delicious, but not really necessary, and will reduce the fat even more by leaving it out.
Remove sausage from casings and cook in a large pot over medium high heat until done.
Remove sausage, add onions, and cook on medium heat until translucent.
Add garlic to onions and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds or so).
Add sausage back to pot, then add broth and water.
Bring to a boil, and add potatoes.
Cook on medium high until potatoes are done.
Add bacon bits to soup if using. I used about an 1/8 cup of Hormel Peppered Bacon Bits.
Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. I didn’t add any.
Turn heat to low, and add kale, cream (if using), half-and-half, and skim milk.
Heat through, and serve!
VERDICT – This soup was creamy, delicious, filling with a slightly spicy kick. In my opinion, it tasted very much like the original, but I have only had it at Olive Garden once, a few months ago. However, this is definitely on my list to make again very soon.
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