Zuppa Toscana Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}

12.03.2012

I know it may seem like I’m obsessed with Olive Garden lately. I think this is the 3rd copycat recipe I’ve done of their restaurant in the last month. To be honest I really don’t even like Olive Garden all that much (it’s just one of the only few restaurant options I have close by to where I live). We went just a few days ago and I thought my pasta was soggy and the sauce was bland but I will always love their soups, salad and breadsticks. The Zuppa Toscana is my husbands favorite soup there so I decided to order some to go to bring home to make my own copycat recipe.
I went to work adding a bit of this and a little of that to this very basic recipe until when tested side by side they basically tasted identical. You could make your own changes to the recipe, such as adding garlic (I didn’t taste it in theirs so I didn’t add it in this recipe), using hot or sweet Italian sausage (if you use sweet I’d recommend omitting the sugar as it won’t be needed) or if you wanted an even creamier soup just add more half and half or cream. Enjoy!

Zuppa Toscana Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}

Yield: 6-8 servings

Zuppa Toscana Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (casings removed if necessary)
  • 4 oz bacon (about 5 slices), diced into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 3 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed then sliced into halves, halves diced into 1/8 to 1/6-inch slices
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt, then to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup lightly packed kale, chopped into bite size pieces
  • finely shredded Romano cheese for serving, optional

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into 1-inch pieces and add to saucepan. Cook sausage, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain sausage onto a plate or baking dish lined with paper towels leaving 1 tsp fat in pan, set sausage aside. Add diced bacon (being sure to separate pieces from each other if you stacked them when slicing) to fat in saucepan, return to heat and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced onions to bacon in saucepan and saute mixture until bacon is cooked through (not crisp) and onions are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
  • Add chicken broth, water, sliced potatoes, sugar, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring soup just to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and stir in half and half, kale and cooked sausage. Cover saucepan and simmer 25 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are very tender. Use a spoon or ladle to remove excess fat from top of soup if desired. Serve warm topped with Romano cheese.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
http://www.cookingclassy.com/2012/12/zuppa-toscana-soup-olive-garden-copycat-recipe/


58 comments

  • JJ: I am so glad that you posted this recipe! It looks amazing! Please stay obsessed with Olive Garden for as long as you like, so I can continue reaping the benefits. December 5, 2012 at 5:03am Reply

    • CA: Ditto! November 8, 2013 at 5:20am Reply

  • *katie: Yum, looks so good! My husband and I love this soup! I’m excited to give it a try :) December 5, 2012 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: I absolutely love all of your Olive Garden copycat recipes! December 6, 2012 at 6:09am Reply

  • Loretta E.: Pretty dang close if I do say so myself! I grew up in a small town so when we went to an Olive Garden, I thought it was so ‘exotic’.

    Now I realize homemade is so much better! I love this recipe. December 6, 2012 at 10:45pm Reply

  • Lauren S.: When do you add the sausage back into the pan? When you add the potatoes or when you add the half and half and kale? December 10, 2012 at 3:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Along with the kale and half and half. Thanks =)! I hope you have a chance to make it soon I love this soup! December 10, 2012 at 6:36pm Reply

  • Unknown: Oh my word. This is so good. I made quite a few adjustments based on what I had in the house and mine and my husband’s preferences. And yet it still tastes at least as good as Olive Garden’s. Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband is cleaning out his second bowl right now and preparing for thirds. I’ll definitely be trying your recipe for their bread sticks! December 10, 2012 at 8:15pm Reply

  • Chinese food Brisbane: Excellent recipe, it is nice that you shared with us. Good directions and it looks without difference from the “original”, i don’t doubt that it tastes the same even better because you can improvise by your own taste for food. December 12, 2012 at 4:34am Reply

  • Brendan Kenny: I have been looking everywhere for some green olive recipes because I am Irish and my wife’s family is all Italian. I felt very uncomfortable cooking them anything out of my heritage. This recipe looks perfect! You are my savior. December 20, 2012 at 6:12am Reply

  • Rebecca: I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I added a little crushed red pepper flakes for a kick and more bacon that called for. The only thing I would change is I would slice the potatoes a little thicker so they hold up better. A delicious rainy day dinner! December 27, 2012 at 12:19am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you enjoyed it Rebecca! Thanks for your comment! December 27, 2012 at 4:26pm Reply

  • owen: Hi im 10 years old and i made this soup you should let your son or daughter try to make it too but the soup is definitely 5 stars. December 28, 2012 at 7:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That is awesome Owen! Thanks for your comment =)! I’m glad you are getting a young start in the kitchen, just like I did =). I’m also glad you think this is worthy of 5 star rating, thanks! December 30, 2012 at 9:06pm Reply

  • Eisen: I’m so amazed with how similar they taste!!!! So delishhh. Thank you for the recipe January 13, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Eisen! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thanks for your comment! January 18, 2013 at 6:09pm Reply

  • Mari: Red pepper flakes will add some zip to it. I prefer spinach to the kale. I make mine with turkey bacon and turkey kielbasa vs sausage as to reduce the fat and calories. Also omit the water and use only chicken broth for more flavor. If you quarter the potatoes – this can all go into the crockpot on low. Just a few suggestions. This recipe is very yummy! January 14, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Those adjustments do sound delicious as well! Thanks for your comment! January 17, 2013 at 11:05am Reply

  • Tom: Wow! Is all I have to say about this recipe. It more than met our expectations! Delicious to say the least. My wife and quite frequently go to Olive Garden, and I always get the Zappa Toscana. It tasted even better than theirs!
    I shared the recipe with my family and they all love it. Thanks for sharing and making our home smell so good :) January 14, 2013 at 7:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Tom – So glad you and your family enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know! January 18, 2013 at 9:04pm Reply

  • Chris: This was so good. Had misplaced my recipe. First time I made ,wasn’t sure about the kale,but this is so good. January 20, 2013 at 11:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you think so, thanks for your comment Chris! January 20, 2013 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Kara: Jaclyn,
    I wanted to thank you for posting this recipe. My eldest son was stationed in Georgia in the Army and went to an olive garden there, tried this soup and fell in love with it. So he forwarded your link so I could replicate it for him. I have never been to olive garden, but this soup is exceptional!
    I used about 4 cups of organic baby kale, but mostly followed your directions for the rest. The kale was so sweet I couldn’t resist, left out the sugar, used regular italian sausage so those who like it spicy can add their own crushed pepper flakes.
    Exceptional recipe, thank you for your service to home cooks everywhere, it’s always best made at home.
    It’s a lot like our quick clam chowder, saute onion, celery and bacon, throw in the juice from a can of clams, a bay leaf and some half and half, allow to reduce for about 15 minutes, add a cooked, diced potato or two, the clams, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Yum. I can’t imagine why I bought that expensive store bought canned crud for so long before creating our own.
    Blessings, keep up the great work!!!

    I agree with the young chef, 5 star soup! February 22, 2013 at 5:23pm Reply

    • Kara: Oh my, I forgot to add the can of chicken stock to the clam chowder recipe, oops, sorry :) February 22, 2013 at 5:26pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kara – first of all I need to say thank you to your son for his service for our country! I’m so glad you were able to make this soup that he enjoys =). Also, thanks so much for your recipe you added and taking the time to write that all in! February 27, 2013 at 10:43am Reply

  • alana: hey Jac;ym so do i add red pepper flakes cuz i always see them in the soup? And another question, is the soup thick and creamy like olive garden. i made it time before and it turned out thin. But love garden has a thick consistensy. thnaks March 15, 2013 at 2:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi alana – when I tried Olive Gardens soup I thought it had a fairly thin consistency but I could be wrong =). If you want it a bit thicker you could replace the half and half with heavy cream or you could make a roux and add it to the soup. Hope that helps! And yes you can most definitely add red pepper flakes if you like it a little spicy. March 16, 2013 at 8:27am Reply

  • alana: thank you sooo much Jaclyn! Better taste then Olive Garedn now we never go there lol March 22, 2013 at 7:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’ve very welcome Alana! Thanks for leaving another comment letting me know you enjoyed =)!! March 22, 2013 at 9:05am Reply

  • Mystery Dinner Recipe Links « Simply Creating Home: [...] is very similar, so I’m going to share that in case you are looking to make a good pot of Zuppa Toscana. It’s such a wonderful and hearty soup!  Just a tip – I made mine the day before so I [...] April 2, 2013 at 10:25pm Reply

  • Judi: What is kale???? And half and half of what???? Cheers , Jude April 21, 2013 at 7:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: This is what kale is:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale
      Half and half is a dairy product that is basically half milk and half cream.
      Hopefully if you live outside of the U.S. you’ll be able to find them. April 22, 2013 at 6:18pm Reply

      • Chef LaQuitara: What IS kale, and Half of half of what ? OMG… You just don’t know how my coffee shot out of my nose…Listen kid, You handled your comment with so much class, I just had to give you a heads up… ( VERY RARE FOR ME ) Keep going !!! March 24, 2014 at 11:00am Reply

  • Pamela: Jaclyn,
    Thanks for the recipe. I’m excited to try it out. Zuppa Tuscana is my son’s favorite at Olive Garden (along with the Chicken Parmesean) and he’ll be so impressed when I make it! I’ve read all the reviews, but I think I’ll follow your recipe as is. August 20, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you and your son love this recipe Pamela! Thanks for leaving a comment! Now I want to go make it for dinner :). August 20, 2013 at 3:53pm Reply

  • Kim: I make this at home often and my husband likes it better than Olive Garden. It is the most requested item at all family functions. Thank you! September 21, 2013 at 11:39am Reply

    • Jaclyn: That’s awesome Kim, just what I like to hear! Thanks for your comment! September 24, 2013 at 7:11am Reply

  • Millie: I have never eaten kale. I do eat baby spinach. How does the taste of kale compare to baby spinach? October 1, 2013 at 8:38am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kale is stronger in flavor in my opinion, slightly bitter – but when it’s cooked it’s flavor mellows down and it almost seems to sweeten a bit. It is really good, you should definitely try it :). October 2, 2013 at 5:45am Reply

  • beerab: Looks awesome- I just followed 1 recipe that claimed to be it, and while it tasted really good it definitely didn’t taste that close to the Olive Garden recipe… :) Gonna try this one next time! October 13, 2013 at 3:35pm Reply

  • anna k: Maybe I’m weird but my soup curdled. Any tips for next time?? November 5, 2013 at 6:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It probably got too hot? I think that’s what happens to cream or half and half when it get’s too hot so I’d suggest cooking it at a lower temp and don’t let it boil, you could maybe even wait to add in the half and half until closer to the end of cooking next time. Hope that helps! Sorry that happened! November 5, 2013 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Pamela: The only thing(s) I love at the Olive Garden is this soup, salad and bread sticks. This recipe is.. amazing! Taste exactly the same. I did about a cup of the half and half and the rest milk. And I didn’t have any fennel. Thanks! November 10, 2013 at 7:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you liked it Pamela! November 16, 2013 at 9:29pm Reply

  • Myriam Cuadra Tutsch: Ilove all the recipe del restaurant Olive Garden is the best very good soup and thanks for recipe i live for many years in USA and always visited the restaurant November 27, 2013 at 5:26am Reply

  • marie: I made this soup for my husband today, who loves it at Olive Garden. He said it tasted exactly like it. It did to me too. Thanks for sharing this recipe! March 30, 2014 at 2:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you both enjoyed it Marie! Thanks for your review! March 31, 2014 at 8:43pm Reply

  • Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat) – Chew Out Loud: […]  Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Cooking Classy […] April 8, 2014 at 3:13pm Reply

  • jackie: This recipe is amazing! We’ve had a couple of bad experiences lately with getting this soup at olive garden because of how much it varies every time we order. I love that I now have a recipe that tastes even better than getting it at the restaurant! Now I just need to find a good copy cat recipe for olive gardens marinara sauce. Do you have any suggestions for that? June 11, 2014 at 5:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think they used canned tomatoes and just some herbs, garlic and onion. Exactly how much of each though I can’t say for sure. I do love a good marinara! I’m glad you liked this recipe! June 29, 2014 at 9:59pm Reply

  • Ashlee: Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband as well, fell in love with this soup at Olive Garden – so giving in & spoiling him, I chose your recipe to use! Its cooking as we speak and smells delicious! I also made a salad, and breadsticks to go with it ( who needs O.G) :P I am hoping it thickens up a bit, I may have added too much water. Oh well, we will see! Always a next time to correct myself. Thanks again! June 20, 2014 at 2:57pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome Ashlee! I hope it turned out great for you :)! July 1, 2014 at 11:44pm Reply

  • ashley: ok im about to try this for the first time I’ve perfected to salad from there down to a t. I’m a seafood chef at the coast in nc we only have 1 italian restaurant to eat at. the olive garden is about an hour away so with working and kids is not always attainable so i’m hoping this turns out good. I saw a few other ones with 5 star ratings but the cooking methods seemed off. I like the fact you satuee’d a few of these items for more flavor which in some of the other ones it wasn’t like that. its more time consuming but you get more of the flavor from the onions and sausage that way so needless to say im going to try this out after a quick trip to the store. I’ll let you know how it turns out. thanks for the recipe. I hope mine turns out just as tasty lol keep up the good work. the only other recipe ive loved as much as to duplicate a recipe was bone fishes bang bang shrimp and we got that one down to a t too some im excited to c the results of this. :) thanks again my fiance and i appreciate it :) July 15, 2014 at 5:54pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Ashley! July 15, 2014 at 6:28pm Reply

  • Kristin: This soup is perfect! I’m not an Italian food lover but my husband is. After trying this soup at Olive Garden, I’ve been dreaming about it! So delicious, this recipe made my day! August 5, 2014 at 5:37pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You just made MY day! :) August 25, 2014 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Oliver: Awesome. Made this for my family and eveyone thought it was better than olive gardens. Thanks so much for posting. It’s my new go to meal to impress people August 27, 2014 at 9:30am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear that Oliver! Thanks for your feedback! August 27, 2014 at 11:30am Reply

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