This easy Zuppa Toscana is a creamy soup full of Italian sausage, kale, potatoes and Parmesan. It’s hearty, creamy, and perfect for fall! Step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.
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I faintly remember those days when I used to go to Olive Garden.
And we’ve always lived at least an hour and a half away from an Olive Garden, so it’s not like it was a once a week thing, but still — every once in a while I think back to the days before Real Responsibilities (let’s call them “Kids” for short) and how we could go into a restaurant and just eat a relaxed meal.
But now I have two of the sweetest, cutest, funniest girls and I wouldn’t even trade them for a trip to Olive Garden (promise).
This means that I’ve learned to make more of our favorite restaurant meals at home, and this Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana is one of our favorite things to dip large chunks of bread into in the fall.
(What is soup without large chunks of bread??)
- The Italian sausage is loaded with herbs and spices, which cuts down on the extra ingredients required!
- It’s got just the right amount of spice and sweetness (again, thanks Italian sausage!)
- Aside from browning the meat, I can just dump it and go, which is perfect for busy weeknights
- Lots of recipes for Zuppa Toscana include bacon, but I find it an unnecessary addition. If that’s your thing, feel free to cook some up in the same pan you fry your sausage and add it to the slow cooker (or save it to sprinkle on top later).
- We prefer the texture of kale after it has softened in the slow cooker along with the vegetables. If you prefer it with more bite, you can leave it out until you add the cream to the slow cooker near the end.
- You can swap the kale for spinach if that’s what you have on hand, but spinach isn’t as tough as kale and I would add it right before serving.
- If you want to use a lighter dairy option, you can swap the heavy cream for evaporated milk. I don’t recommend low fat milk as it can curdle when added alone to hot liquid.
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- 375 g Italian sausage meat without casings, mild or spicy (3/4 lb)
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1.5 lbs Russet or gold potatoes peeled and diced (about 4 medium)
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup cream (10-30% will work fine)
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional, for extra spice
- In a large frying pan, brown the Italian sausage with the onion over medium-high heat (4-5 minutes). Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add sausage mixture, broth, potatoes, kale (or save to add with the cream if you prefer more texture), salt and pepper to the Slow Cooker (4-6 quarts) and cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for about 2 hours (cooking times vary by slow cooker). You can also reserve the kale to add at the end if you prefer it to have more texture.
- Once potatoes are tender, stir in cream, Parmesan and red pepper flakes if using (optional for extra heat!). Let heat through before serving.
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