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Published November 15, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This amazing Zuppa Toscana soup recipe includes Italian sausage, kale, cannellini beans, and potatoes. I’m not sure there is a heartier, more flavorful soup out there than this one.
There’s not much out there that makes me happier than a delicious warm pot of soup. It’s one of my favorite things to make and eat. If you love it as much as I do, try my Pasta e Fagioli soup or Mulligatawny Soup.
Zuppa Toscana is a creamed stock-based soup with sausage, kale, and potatoes. It translates from Italian to English as Tuscan soup. Tuscany is a region in the Northwest side of Italy. There are variations to this soup depending on what’s available and in season and other additions like vegetables and beans.
While Zuppa Toscana is the common name in the United States, the soup comes from a recipe in Italy known as Minestra di Pane. The only difference between both soups is that the one in Italy also has bread in the soup, like Ribollita.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Sausage – You can use hot, mild, or sweet Italian Sausage in this recipe.
- Potatoes – Russet potatoes are traditional potatoes, but you can substitute them with red or Yukon gold potatoes.
- Kale – Regular kale or Italian Lucinato kale is best. YOu can also use Swiss chard, mustard greens, or collards.
- Onions – You can use white, yellow, or sweet onions. In addition, you’ll also need garlic cloves.
- Beans – I used dry cannellini beans in this zuppa toscana. However, you can substitute with great northern, borlotti, or white kidney beans.
- Stock – Chicken stock is the best liquid to use. Substitute with brodo, vegetable stock, or water.
- Cream – YOu will need heavy whipping cream for this. Feel free to swap with half and half.
- Carrots – This is optional, but I like the addition of carrots to the zuppa toscana.
- Celery – Another optional ingredient, but it helps to round out the soup’s flavors.
- Cheese – I garnish with Parmigiano Reggiano and use the rinds in the soup as I cook it. Substitute with Pecorino Romano.
- Flour – You will need some all-purpose flour to help thicken the soup.
- Bacon – I cook the vegetables in rendered bacon fat and then garnish them with crispy bacon lardons. You can skip this and use butter, ghee, olive or avocado oil instead of it.
How to Make Zuppa Toscana
Add the beans to a large container and cover them completely in water by about 6″ inches. Let them sit overnight and then drain. Set them aside.
Next, add the sausage to a large pot over medium-high heat and cook until browned and cooked through, which takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot and sweat the vegetables for 6 to 8 minutes over medium-low heat.
Stir in the flour until combined to make a roux.
Add back in the sausage, the beans, chicken stock, and cheese rinds, and cook over low heat until the beans are tender, which takes about 45 minutes.
Next, add in the potatoes and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
Add in crisp cooked and chopped bacon.
Finish by adding in the kale, heavy cream, salt, and pepper
Make Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: If you keep the kale separate until it is ready to be served, you can make this soup up to two days ahead of time for freshness.
How to Store: This soup recipe will hold well in the refrigerator covered up for up to 5 days. It will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of soup to a medium-sized sauce pot and heat over low heat until hot.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- A quicker way to soften dried beans would be to bring water to a boil, pour it over them, and let them sit for 1 hour.
- Substitute the dried beans with four cans of drained beans.
- When thickening the soup, you’re not looking for something resembling alfredo sauce, but you want somebody to this Zuppa Toscana soup recipe.
- Some other recipes call to render the bacon fat first, and you can do that, but if you did that and then cooked the sausage, you would have a pot of grease.
- You can also serve the kale into the individual bowls as you serve them one by one so that it does not wilt.
More Soup Recipes
- Ham and Lentil
- Cream Chicken Dumpling Soup
- French Onion Soup
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Pork Confit and Split Pea
Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe
- 1 pound cannellini beans
- 2 pounds loose mild Italian sausage
- 1 peeled small diced yellow onion
- 3 small diced stalks of celery
- 2 peeled small diced carrots
- 5 cloves of finely minced garlic
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 96 ounces chicken stock
- 2 Parmesan cheese rinds
- 3 medium-sized sliced russet potatoes
- 8 strips of chopped crisp cooked bacon
- 1 head roughly chopped kale
- coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for garnish
- Add the beans to a large container and cover them completely in water by about 6" inches. Let them sit overnight and then drain. Set them aside.
- Next, add the sausage to a large pot over medium-high heat and cook until browned and cooked through, which takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot and sweat the vegetables for 6 to 8 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Stir in the flour until combined to make a roux, and then add back in the sausage, the beans, chicken stock, and cheese rinds, and cook over low heat until the beans are tender, which takes about 45 minutes.
- Next, add in the potatoes and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
- Finish by adding in the bacon, kale, heavy cream, salt, and pepper and then serve.