Even though it’s wintertime, our garden is still flourishing with fruit and vegetables – particularly winter vegetables that we recently planted. We have some purple and green kale in the garden that we wanted to use to make soup. Kale is a form of cabbage that is high in antioxidants, which is ironic because most restaurants use curly kale as a garnish for dishes – and people are too afraid to eat it! But if you’ve ever been to Olive Garden and had one of their famous soups, Zuppa Toscana, then you’ve eaten the green leafy vegetable in the creamy soup, which is in the same family as kale. They call it cavalo greens. We have eaten Zuppa Toscana many times before so we figured we would take a stab at making it at home, considering there aren’t too many ingredients to create this soup. The main ones being – spicy sausage, potatoes, kale, and the creamy broth. So here we go!
To prep the vegetables, chop 1 large onion, cut 2 russet potatoes (with or without skin) in to 1/4" thick slices, and rough chop 4 cups of fresh kale to bite-sized pieces.
Cook 1 lb. of spicy Italian sausage and drain the fat. Then add the onions and 4 minced garlic cloves to the pan and cook until aromatics are released from the garlic - about 1 minute.
Next, add 8 3/4 cups of chicken stock and the potatoes and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft.
Finally, add 4 cups of kale, 1 cup of half-and-half, and 2 tbsp of bacon bits (if desired). We decided to eliminate heavy cream and use half-and-half instead to make this a more figure-friendly soup. We also used soy bacon bits that we got as samples, instead of real bacon. Cook over low simmer for about 10 minutes until kale is soft. Season with salt and pepper.
This is such a flavorful soup that can substitute as a full meal, because you have the protein and fat from the sausage, carbs from the potatoes, and vegetables from the fresh kale. By using fat free half-and-half instead, the soup is not loaded with additional fat. Hey, we may be addicted to food, but we still want to make some healthy choices!
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Toscana Soup