Soups & Salads | January 5, 2018

Zuppa Toscana

This is the best zuppa toscana copy cat recipe I’ve ever tried….and I have been making different variations of this copycat soup for years. This is my mom’s recipe and I’m including both pressure cooker and slow cooker instructions so you can make it whatever way you desire!!

Delicious zuppa toscana in a blue pressure cooker

I’m sure most of you have heard of this soup and most likely had it from Olive Garden. It’s always been my husbands favorite from there. He always shows me up and gets the soup and salad while I get a calorie filled pasta…. I love my mom’s rendition of it, and I have to say we all think it is better than Olive Garden. SOO yummy.
Overhead shot of ingredients needed for zuppa toscana

The only thing my mom does that is noticeably different than Olive Garden is she doesn’t use russet potatoes, she uses red potatoes. Here is why…(ready for an Idaho potato lesson?)

There are basically two different types of potatoes.

Baking potatoes

Baking potatoes are FULL of starch. A starch called amylose starch this makes them have a dry texture, but when cooked they are beautiful. They are light and creamy when mashed, fluffy when baked, and probably the only potato (excluding the sweet potato) worth frying.

In the store you will find them as russets, russet burbank, russet arcadia, and Idaho..and many more. They have a brown rough texture on the outside.

overhead shot of zuppa toscana

 Boiling potatoes

Boiling potatoes have starch, but a different kind of starch called amylopectin. (the same pectin in jams!) This pectin is what holds the potato together when it is boiled and simmered for hours at a time. They are perfect for soups, casseroles, potato salads, roasting, BBQing, because of this starch. They hold their shape.

If you have ever mashed a red potato you probably notice it tasted fine but kind of had a texture of glue. they are not the best for mashing…

Boiling potatoes have a waxy, thin skin, in the store they are titles as red, yellow, salad, round white, etc potatoes.

With that alll being said. You can make your choice. My mom likes to let this soup simmer for a long time, let those flavors mingle baby, so she uses red potatoes. But I often interchange my potatoes, sometimes it just depends on what I have in my cupboard, sometimes its because I prefer the taste of one in a dish. I feel for this soup either potato will taste just fine, but if you are cooking it for a long period of time maybe go for the red potato.

two bowls of zuppa toscana with spoons, baguette slices around

How to make zuppa toscana

Start by cooking your ground sausage,  and drain the grease. Then add in the bacon, garlic and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent and add in the broth and potatoes. Let it come to a soft boil and add chopped kale.Let simmer for about 30 minutes and then add cream if desired.

hearty pressure cooker filled with zuppa toscana, kale around the soup

Pressure cooker zuppas toscana

To make this in the pressure cooker, cook meat in saute setting. Drain grease and still while on saute setting add onion, garlic and bacon. When onions are soft (after just a few minutes) add broth, potatoes and kale. Seal and cook on high for 4 minutes. Quick release, remove lid and stir in cream if desired. Serve immediately.

zuppa toscana soup recipe

5 from 3 votes
Zuppa Toscanas
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A healthy and delicious italian soup. 

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chicken soup, italian soup, zuppa toscana
Servings: 6
Calories: 361 kcal
Author: Desarae
  • 1 lb ground italian sausage
  • 2-3 medium russet potatoes or 5 red potatoes * read potato tips on blog post
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup real bacon pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/4-1 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Stove Top instructions: Brown sausage in pan drain excess grease.

    Add garlic, onion and saute for a few more minutes until onions soften. Add chicken broth,potatoes and kale in pan bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 min-to 1 hour

    before serving add desired amount of cream. 

  2. Slow Cooker Instructions: Place sausage, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes and onion in slow cooker with just enough water to cover the veggies and meat.

    cook on high for 3-4 hours until potatoes are soft.

    30 minutes before serving add cream and kale to crock pot.

  3. Pressure Cooker Instructions: Brown sausage on saute mode drain excess grease.

    Add garlic, onion and saute for a few more minutes until onions soften. Add chicken broth,potatoes and kale. Cook manual high pressure 4 minutes. Quick release, and add cream before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Zuppa Toscanas
Amount Per Serving (2 cups)
Calories 361 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 72mg24%
Sodium 1127mg49%
Potassium 707mg20%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 1320IU26%
Vitamin C 29.7mg36%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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  1. I assume I’m supposed to slice the potatoes before cooking?? It doesn’t say…or am I just missing it…?