Creamy Kale and Sausage Soup (Zuppa Toscana)

By: Cassy Joy
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This creamy kale and sausage soup is the perfect hearty meal to help you beat the January blues! Crispy sausage, potatoes, and kale are cooked in a creamy broth with just a hint of lemon for a meal that the whole family will love.

creamy kale and sausage soup in a blue pot on a marble background
This creamy kale and sausage soup is so, so good! When I released my first cookbook, one of your favorite recipes was my lemony kale and sausage soup. This soup takes the base of that recipe (crispy sausage, kale, and plenty of lemon) and amps it up even more with the addition of bacon, onion, garlic, potatoes, and cream (or coconut milk for dairy-free)!

creamy kale and sausage soup in a blue pot on a marble background
You may also know this soup as Zuppa Toscana, which literally translates to ‘soup in the style of Tuscany,’ and was widely popularized by Olive Garden. While I’ve never personally eaten Olive Garden’s version (my trips to Olive Garden pre-gluten free always involved breadsticks, more breadsticks, maybe a little salad, and fettuccine alfredo) we decided to go ahead and make it our own
The sausage and bacon in this creamy kale and sausage soup give it a wonderful savory flavor, while the potatoes add just a bit of healthy starchy carb content, the cream a touch of richness, and lemon juice adds a bright acidity that really lets the flavors sing. If you have a household full of kale-haters, this soup is the PERFECT way to convince them that not only may kale not be awful, but it’s actually really, really good!

creamy kale and sausage soup in a blue pot on a marble background
Finally, we decided to make this creamy kale and sausage soup on the stovetop because the bacon, sausage, and onion all need to be pre-cooked and from there it’s just a short time until it is done. But, you can absolutely make it in a slow cooker or in the Instant Pot by sautéing everything in the Instant Pot, then cooking on high pressure for about 7 minutes. After that, you’ll simply stir in your kale and let it cook until wilted and bright green, then stir in your cream and lemon juice and serve.

Whichever method you choose, we hope you enjoy this soup all winter long! If this soup is calling your name, you might also love our Squeaky Clean Chicken & Veggie Soup for a similar, but more brothy option.



Creamy Kale and Sausage Soup

creamy kale and sausage soup in a blue pot on a marble background

This creamy soup brings together crispy Italian sausage, potatoes, and kale for a hearty but healthy soup that the whole family will love!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 00:10
  • Cook Time: 01:00
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x


  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (we used russets)
  • 8 cups chicken broth, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 head curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Add the bacon to a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain off the fat.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sausage and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sausage is brown and crisp, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove the sausage from the pot and drain the excess fat.
  3. Add the olive oil to the pot along with the onion and garlic, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is transluscent and garlic is fragrant. Add the sausage back to the pot along with the potatoes, broth, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Add in the kale, then cover and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the kale is wilted and bright green.
  6. Stir in the heavy cream, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper flakes, and bacon, and cook for a 3-5 minutes, until warmed through, then taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if needed, and serve!


Instant Pot Method:

Complete steps 1-3 in your Instant Pot, then cover and seal the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Once it is done, release the pressure immediately and stir in the kale. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the kale is wilted, then proceed to Step 6.

Slow Cooker Method

Proceed with steps 1-3, then add the onions, garlic, sausage, potatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to your slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, then stir in the kale and cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted and bright green, and proceed with step 6.


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  1. Mallory Williams says:

    So darn good! Perfect soup for our snow day! Made half with heavy cream for the family and half for me with coconut milk. Love this soup!

    5.0 rating

  2. Nina says:

    DELICIOUS!! My husband and I gobbled this right up in no time!

  3. Crystal says:

    Sooooo good! I used the coconut milk because it’s what I had in the pantry. OMG. Yum.

  4. Crystal says:

    If I could figure out how to rate it, I’d give it 5 stars.

    Also – this makes a huge batch – I’ll be freezing half :).