Copycat Zuppa Toscana
Growing up, I lived in a very small town in Illinois. When most of you think of a “small town,” you’re thinking a couple thousand people, but my town is even smaller. I’m talking 650 people small, and there’s not a stop light for thirty miles in either direction. Downtown is one block long and there are several small businesses. That doesn’t include a grocery store, though a Dollar General was added in the last couple of years.
This made getting groceries a half day event. You couldn’t just run to the store and get milk, you had to drive thirty minutes (and thirty miles) to the nearest Walmart. Thankfully, my parents were amazing cooks and always planned out meals for the week. We got a huge grocery haul every weekend, and my parents cooked whatever we felt like eating.
Because we lived so far from most things, we didn’t go out to eat too much. Once I got my drivers license, my friends and I would cross state lines into Iowa and go eat at Olive Garden. I can remember going there for countless dates and dinners with friends.
Nowadays, I still like Olive Garden, but I prefer to support small, local businesses. Because I do love their soups, I try to replicate them best I can at home. This recipe is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients!
Personally, I have a pot of kale that grows in my backyard. I went outside and picked a couple of leaves for this recipe. Kale is really easy to find at your local grocery store. Lots of people are scared of kale (my father included), but I encourage you to give it a try! It blends up well in this recipe and tastes good too.
I used my nutribullet to blend this soup. It came out extremely creamy, something that I wasn’t expecting. It’s almost as if the flavors were enhanced because it was blended. I did run it through a sieve because there were a couple of small pieces of italian sausage that didn’t blend perfectly.
Mine came out as an IDDSI level 2. If you’re unsure how to test the thickness of your soup, you can find more information here. If you’re entirely new to modifying meals to fit a dysphagia diet, you should read our getting started page.
Please let us know if you have any comments or questions! We absolutely love hearing from everyone. You are all the best!
Copycat Zuppa Toscana
- immersion blender
- 4 sweet italian sausage links
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lg russet potato cubed
- 6 c chicken broth
- 2 c chopped kale
- ½ c half and half
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Remove sausage from casing and add to pot. Cook until browned.
- Remove the italian sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate with a paper towel.
- Add onion to the pot with the grease from the italian sausage. (If there’s not much grease, use additional olive oil.) Cook onions 4-5 minutes, then add garlic. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add in the cubed russet potato and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook ~20 minutes, or until potatoes are softened.
- Add chopped kale. Cover the pot and allow kale to wilt for several minutes.
- Add in red pepper flakes to taste. Warm half and half slightly in the microwave so it doesn’t curdle when it touches the hot soup. Once warmed, add into the soup.
- Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Use an immersion blender or add soup to a big blender. Blend until completely smooth. Pour soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small bits.
- Serve warm and enjoy!