Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

February Ingredient: Kale
In case you haven’t gotten the memo, it’s KALE MONTH at Beauties and the Feast. I hadn’t discovered Kale until last summer when I joined my very first CSA (Acme Farms and Kitchen) and we got Kale almost every week. I can’t believe how lovely this little green plant is. It’s good in just about anything and is one of the best things you can put in your body. I spent at least a couple of hours researching Kale recipes. Then I finally decided on a copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana, which is one of the yummy soups made by the Olive Garden. Yes, my friends, you can even find Kale at the Olive Garden.
It's a simple soup to make, it turns out! Didn't take me very long and I loved how few ingredients I actually needed to buy. Kale seems to be good in just about anything!

· 2 bunches Kale, torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
· 12 whole Red Potatoes, Sliced Thin
· 1 whole Onion, Chopped
· 1-1/2 pound Italian Sausage
· 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
· 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
· 2 cups Whole Milk
· 4 cups Half-and-half
· Splash Of Heavy Cream
· Fresh Or Dried Oregano
· Salt and Pepper To Taste
Boil the potatoes until tender, drain. Brown sausage with chopped onion in a large pot and drain as much grease as you can. Add Red Pepper Flakes, Dried Oregano and Salt and Pepper to the cooked Sausage. Add Chicken Broth, Whole Milk and Half and Half and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add potatoes and Kale. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add a splash of heavy cream at the end for richness. Taste! Add seasoning if you need it.
This is what the potatoes should look like when you cut them

I chose the mild sausage JUST IN CASE my kids would eat it. Should have bought the spicy.

Hello, Kale. I love you.

Mmmmm... Sausage

Kid's portion. Don't worry: we eat way more than this.

I served this soup with a side of mini bagel sandwiches since I knew the kids would eat those and it was a very yummy combination. (Wished I’d had some of those buttery salty Olive Garden bread sticks though!).

Overall, I’d give this soup 3 out of 4 stars—only because I’m not a big sausage fan, but I knew one way I could get my husband to eat Kale Soup would be to call it “Sausage Soup with Kale” and he would have given it 4 stars for sure.
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For a lower fat soup, I’d recommend using ground turkey and using all chicken broth instead of cream. Still sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
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Special thanks to
Marathon Sweetheart for the bad-ass Kale cartoon


  1. I love OG! Amber, Yum!! This looks so good. Im inspired to make this next week in my new kitchen! Take out is actually getting really boring during this move...

  2. I’ve had a lingering cold for what feels like weeks now, and I can’t think of anything that sounds better for my sore throat than soup! Kale, potatoes and Italian sausage!? This soup sounds like heaven – can’t wait to try it! Olive Garden bread sticks (which can we all admit is really the best part of going to Olive Garden?) would really take this over the top!

  3. I make this soup almost every Christmas--hence, the family pretty much calls it Christmas Soup. It is my favorite way to use kale although those wild rice egg rolls posted earlier look mighty fine. Back to this soup-- Yep, my husband also finds the sausage his favorite part.
    I've sometimes done it without any dairy at all and not precooked the potatoes ahead; this makes for a clearer broth, but cooking the potatoes in the broth makes it a teeny bit thicker. To keep the fat content down you can also use some of that fat-free (huh?) half and half. And we don't really want to know what is in this half and half to make it "fat-free!"