Creamy Sausage Kale Soup (Zuppa Toscana)jump to recipe
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.
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.
Sausage and Kale Soup
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)! 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!
Ingredients for Kale Sausage Soup
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. Here's everything you'll need to pull this soup together:
- Bacon – for this recipe, you'll need 6 slices of diced bacon,…
- Italian Sausage – …2 pounds of bulk Italian sausage,…
- Olive Oil – …1 tablespoon of olive oil,…
- Onion – …1 small diced onion,…
- Garlic Cloves – …4 cloves of minced garlic,…
- Potatoes – …1 1/2 pounds of peeled and chopped potatoes (we used russets!),…
- Chicken Broth – …8 cups of chicken broth (store-bought or homemade!)…
- Seasoning – …1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt, a 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper,…
- Kale – …1 head of de-stemmed and chopped curly kale,…
- Heavy Cream – …3/4 cup of heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk for dairy-free),…
- Lemon juice – a 1/4 cup of lemon juice (the juice from about 2 lemons), and…
- Red Pepper Flakes – …a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional).
How to Make Creamy Kale Sausage Soup
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. Here's exactly what you'll need to do:
- Cook the Bacon – 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.
- Cook the Sausage – 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.
- Saute the Onion + Garlic – add the olive oil to the pot along with the onion and garlic, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant.
- Add the Sausage, Potatoes, Broth, and Seasoning – return the cooked sausage back to the pot along with the potatoes, broth, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Cover + Cook – cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Add + Wilt the Kale – add in the kale, then cover and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the kale is wilted and bright green.
- Stir in the Heavy Cream, Lemon Juice, Red Pepper Flakes, and Bacon – 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.
- Serve + Enjoy!
Can you make this soup in the slow cooker or Instant Pot?
You can absolutely make this creamy kale and sausage soup 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.
Can you freeze Sausage Kale Soup?
You sure can! We recommend storing this soup in an airtight container (or several individually-portioned airtight containers) in the freezer for 3-4 months. The day before you're ready to enjoy it, simply set the container in the fridge to thaw overnight, and then warm the soup in a pot on the stove before serving!
How to Store Creamy Sausage Soup
Whether you're storing this soup in the fridge or freezer, we recommend storing it in either one large airtight container or several smaller airtight containers with individually-sized portions in each. In the fridge, this soup will stay good for 4-5 days, and it'll stay good in the freezer for 3-4 months!
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
This creamy soup brings together crispy Italian sausage, potatoes, and kale for a hearty but healthy soup that the whole family will love!
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Add in the kale, then cover and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the kale is wilted and bright green.
- 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.