Discovering Kale: Zuppa Toscana

Sarah's Zesty Zuppa
Kale. Even the word is foreign to me. I grew up in a household where vegetables were of pretty simple varieties – corn, peas, green beans and the occasional zucchini. Brussels spouts were a delicacy and any lettuce other than iceberg was certainly special. I had a feeling there were more vegetables out there, but I couldn’t quite figure out what they were.

I’ve learned a lot since then. For instance, beet greens are not only edible but they really taste good as a bruschetta. And fiddlehead greens have a really unique taste and texture.

In any case, back to the kale. My husband loves Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup, so I decided to try making it at home. I searched the internet and found literally dozens of recipes for it. Each had things good and bad about them, so I used them as a guideline and drafted my own. It was received with rave reviews from both my husband and from the much harder to please stepson. It goes without saying that my son loved it.


Kale is a variety of cabbage. The kale I purchased had curly edged leaves, though there are other varieties with flat leaves and the such. Kale likes cooler weather and is grown widely in North America and Europe.


Kale should have firm, deep green leaves that are free from spotting, wilting or discoloration.


Kale should be stored in cool places like the refrigerator crisper drawer, while wrapped in a lightly moist paper towel and stored in a plastic bag. It can also be frozen fresh

Discovering Kale: Zuppa Toscana
Serves: serves 4
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 large potatoes, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
  • ½ lb. bacon, browned and crumbled
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion into a pot. Cook over high heat until the potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Stir in the sausage and bacon and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale and heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.


This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging. Check out Kalyn’s Kitchen on Sunday for the weekly roundup of interesting herb and veggie related posts.


  1. Dee Hoertz says

    I ripped your zuppa toscana recipe out of a magazine months ago and then made it last night. I love Olive Garden’s zuppa and hoped that this soup would even vaguely resemble that taste. Oh, wow, I am in heaven with your soup. It is a dead ringer (actually better) than theirs! My family loved it and it made a huge amount. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

    • sarah says

      Dee, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means so much to me. I am so glad your family loved the soup! It remains my husband’s and my very favorite.


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