This Italian Sausage and Kale Soup recipe probably looks and sounds pretty familiar. Copycat versions of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana have been floating around the web for years. And it has always been a favorite soup of ours to make at home.
In the last 10 years since I began making this recipe, it has had its fair share of variations and changes according to our preferences.
One change from the typical is that I have started to use less half and half and more broth to lighten the recipe up a little. And for color I’ve added some red bell peppers.
So it isn’t exactly like that Copycat Olive Garden Toscana Soup recipe that I first discovered as a newlywed and was so excited to make at home, but we still love it.
Even if it is a tad healthier, it still tastes rich to me.
I made this soup for dinner the first night that my sister was here after her move to Colorado back in October. She loved it and now requests it all the time.
Just this Sunday evening when I asked if anyone had requests for dinner during the next week she said: That Sausage and Kale Soup!
I laugh every time she asks for it because it is still a novelty to her, but over the years Italian Sausage and Kale Soup has become an old favorite standby recipe in our home.
I almost always have all of the ingredients in my homemade version of Zuppa Toscana on hand, and it isn’t complicated or labor intensive to prepare. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends!
We have probably had this recipe about 3 times in the last couple months since she moved here. Sometimes I add extra kale depending on how much we have, sometimes I don’t.
Most often I don’t really need the recipe anymore. It doesn’t always turn out exactly the same every single time, but Italian Sausage and Kale Soup always tastes good regardless if there is more kale than normal – especially when shared with family on a cold winter evening – our high is a whopping 17 degrees F tomorrow.
What are your favorite tried and true standby recipes?
Italian Sausage and Kale Soup
Yield: serves 4 - 6
Total Time: 45 minutes
18 ounces Mild or Sweet Italian Sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional - if you like garlic!
8 - 10 red potatoes, cut into approx. 1 inch cubes
5 cups Chicken Broth
3 cups half and half
1 - 2 bunches kale, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
In a cast iron skillet or sauté pan, brown the Italian sausage in the casings. Once they are browned on all sides and cooked through, transfer them to a cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle without burning your hands. Once they are cool enough to handle, slice into rounds between 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick (depending on your preference).
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium heat, or until tender and golden. Add the bell pepper and garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes, until fragrant.
To the same pot add the potatoes, broth, half and half, and sausage. Cook over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the temperature to medium-low to low and simmer until the potatoes reach your desired tenderness - approximately 15 - 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir in the chopped kale and cook until just wilted. Serve immediately and top with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.
The great thing about recipes like this is you can always change them up according to your preference.
If you don't like kale, you can try swiss chard. If you want more (or less) potatoes, you can adjust that too.
If you need a vegetarian soup, you can omit the sausage, sub the chicken broth for vegetable broth and increase the vegetables. Maybe you really like mushrooms, you could try adding some sautéed mushrooms to the mix.