A Twist on Zuppa Toscana

Sopa ToscanaThis is a good soup, a twist from an Olive Garden recipe, Zuppa Toscana.  It is fantastic.   My family loves it.  I took it to a get-together, and the nice guest sitting next to me didn’t know I had made it.  I was tickled when he said at least a couple of times, “This is good sausage soup.”  That, along with another guest’s recipe request told me this soup is a crowd pleaser.

Take this soup to your New Year’s gathering or cook it up simply for a New Day!

I have made this soup with both potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The potato is my family’s favorite, but they also like the sweet potato version too!  So don’t be afraid to substitute.  Using squash would taste good too, but you will lose the “comfort” texture the starchy potatoes and sweet potatoes offer.  In addition, look for the sausage with the least ingredients.  This is often difficult to find, so when I find it, I stock up in bulk.  Lastly, I use homemade broth because it tastes so good and I know exactly what is in it.  Making broth is not hard at all.  It mostly just requires us to step outside of our comfort zone.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound sausage, browned and drained
5 slices of bacon, browned, reserve drippings
1 onion, diced
3-5 cloves of garlic
6 medium potatoes
Broth, chicken or beef, variable but approximately 9 cups (about 2 quarts)
Spinach or kale, about 2 cups chopped finely (either one is great)
2 teaspoons parsley, dried
1 teaspoon rosemary, dried, broken into small bits/crumbled
2 teaspoons basil, dried
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2-1 teaspoon)

1.  Brown sausage.  Drain drippings.  They will not be needed.  Reserve sausage and set aside.
2.  While sausage is browning, scrub and slice potatoes thinly, like you would for fried potatoes.  It’s up to you if you want skins on or off.  I can give you pros and cons to both ways health-wise.
3.  Brown bacon.  When crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4.  In bacon pan and drippings, saute the chopped onion until golden brown.  Mince, press, or chop the garlic into the browning onions.  Saute a little.  Transfer onions and garlic to your soup pot.
5.  Add the sliced potatoes.
6.  Cover potatoes, onions, and garlic with broth.  Do not use all of the broth.  Use enough to cover and boil potatoes.
7.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender and even a little bit mushy.
8.  While the soup is cooking, clean and chop the greens.  If I use kale, I remove the thick stems before using.
9.  Smash some of the potatoes to make the soup thicker.  Add more broth to make the soup the consistency you want!  Do you want it soupy or more stew-like?
10.  Add the dried parsley, basil, and rosemary.
11.  Season with salt and pepper.  (Taste before adding much salt.  Certain broths are already salty!)
12.  Finally, add the chopped kale or spinach.  Remove from heat.

Family “gustar” report:  Every man, woman, and child goes for seconds on this one.  Bingo.

Added bonus:  I’ve found some Brewer’s yeast to add to soups.  It packs a huge B vitamin punch!  As I’ve observed some diet logs, I’ve seen that even in people with good intake of vegetables and meats, there is still a low intake of B vitamins!  Brewer’s yeast has kind of a cheese-like flavor suggestion and merges well in some recipes.  This is one of them.

Have a great day!


8 thoughts on “A Twist on Zuppa Toscana

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Do you use it in soup? Mine is seasoned with red pepper, salt, and pepper. Maybe a touch of sage. Not much. I assume you don’t have Olive Garden Restaurants there? Olive Garden is a chain of Italian restaurants here. Haven’t been there for years. Happy New Year’s Eve in your part of the world!

  1. FitMomPam

    So funny when you have kids and make a recipe you know it’s a hit when all the kids eat it! In my house I seem to have one that will and one that won’t like a recipe. This looks easy too. When you add the yeast do you just sprinkle it on at the end like cheese, or incorporate it into the recipe. HNY!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Pam! Hope that knee is well! You are right! It seems there is usually one kid who’ll not like something!–When I add the yeast, I just stir in 1-2 tablespoons at the very end. In my mind, I don’t want to add it when boiling because of the potential damage to the B vitamins. HNY to you too!


  2. agmorze

    Sounds delicious! Just a quick queston about the Brewers yeast as I’ve been seeing it more and more. Can it contribute to yeast overgrowth or candida? Thank you and Happy New Year!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      THAT is a great question! Ok. Here’s what I think. I read around a lot, and it seems each source has something different to say about brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast–and to my chagrin, no references. I have started a little post to summarize what I can, and if I can find some good sources, I’ll publish it. But, in answer to your question. It seems that brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are dried and ground forms of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. So they should be inactivated and in a form that would not contribute to overgrowth (as they can’t grow all ground up). On the other hand, some people who know they are sensitive to yeast, may still react to it because it is a yeast and may have similar components that the body reacts to even when it’s all broken down. Types of Saccharomyces is often in kombucha. I guess I’d ask a person how they do with those yeasts before adding in a nutritional or brewer’s yeast. And lastly, GLUTEN alert! Buyers have to be VERY careful because some brewer’s yeasts are grown on beer/barley so there could be gluten issues. I think the most important thing in either nutritional yeast or brewer’s yeast is to read all you can about the supplement you are considering. Call the company for more answers.) Was it grown on gluten containing substances? Is the yeast dessicated and inactivated? (Because it seems sometimes it is not–and then could potentially overgrow!) Was it grown on GMO free products? Did they add in artificial vitamins at the end (like the B12 or chromium)? Because as I searched, it seemed everyone did something different! Said something different. UGH.

      Happy New Years to you too! And good to hear from you! Love the questions!



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