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Monday, January 27, 2014

Easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copy Cat)


An easy slow cooker recipe for the Olive Garden favorite--Zuppa Toscana.
It tastes better than the restaurant and is really fast and easy to make.
Easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copy Cat).  This is better than Olive Garden!  It is creamy, flavorful and best of all soooo easy to make.  A new family favorite! #olivegarden #soup #copycat #slowcookerrecipe #crockpotrecipe
Don't you just love soup in the winter?  It is one of the few redeeming things about winter, in my opinion.  Because at this point I think we can all agree winter isn't just that magical anymore!  The snow in my backyard is crusty, my car is beyond dirty and my pasty skin could use a little sun :)  But back to soup...it's awesome.  I especially love making it in the slow cooker to let it simmer all day and bring wonderful smells into my kitchen.


This soup is a copy cat of the Olive Garden favorite.  But I really believe this soup was better than the restaurant!  It has tons of flavor from the sausage and bacon and I love the slight crispness from the kale. My kids and husband and I had this downed in just a few minutes the other day.  If you're serving a crowd, make sure to double it!!

Easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copy Cat).  This is better than Olive Garden!  It is creamy, flavorful and best of all soooo easy to make.  A new family favorite! #olivegarden #soup #copycat #slowcookerrecipe #crockpotrecipe

Easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Zuppa Toscana

Makes 4-6 servings
Ideal slow cooker size:  4-5 quart
Cooking time:  6 hours on low, 3 hours on high

1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used mild)
4 cups chicken broth (or if you're in a pinch use 4 cups of water with 4 tsp of chicken bouillon)
1 cup water
1/4 cup diced onion
3 large russet potatoes, cubed (I left the skins on mine and it tasted great, but peel if you prefer)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup real bacon bits, plus more for topping (I just use the packaged bacon bits for convenience, but if you want to fry up some bacon and crumble it that would be awesome)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 bunch of Kale
Parmesan cheese, for topping

1.  In a pan, over medium high heat brown the ground sausage until well done.  Drain off all grease and place sausage in a colander.  Rinse the sausage with very hot water to get as much grease off as possible.  Add the rinsed sausage to the slow cooker.
2.  Add broth, water, onion, potatoes and garlic to the slow cooker.
3.  Cover and cook on LOW for about 6 hours, or until potatoes are tender.  You can also cook on HIGH for about 3-4 hours.
4.  Stir in 1/3 cup bacon bits.  Warm the cream and then add it to the slow cooker (to prevent curdling make sure it's warm).
5.  Cut up kale into coarse pieces* (I liked my pieces kind of large and chunky but if you like them more indiscernible cut them small) and add to the slow cooker.
6.  Ladle into serving bowls and top with extra bacon bits and Parmesan cheese.

*I lay a piece of kale on a cutting board and then cut off the leaf portion and discard the rib and stem.  It's kind of time consuming but the stem is bitter and tough...you won't want to eat it.

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26 comments:

  1. i make this all the time but w/o the mushrooms .

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  2. When I saw this yesterday, I had to make it! This was fantastic! I didn't have kale, so I substituted spinach leaves. Why this dish doesn't have five stars is beyond me! :-)
    http://butwhatsformydinner.blogspot.com/2009/10/zuppa-toscano.html

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  3. Is that supposed to be 1/2 cup bacon bits? This sounds amazing, I can't wait to try it!!!

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  4. I went out and bought all the ingredients today. Can't wait to make this tomorrow!

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  5. Made this tonight with homemade turkey sausage (from another online recipe), dried mushrooms (that I soaked and added the water to the mix for added flavor), and turkey bacon diced up. It is a VERY good recipe for a slow cooker and to freeze as well.

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  6. Just a tip on Kale, it is easy to grow and winters over. I've had my Kale in my garden boxes in Utah and they are going into their 3rd winter! Our chickens love it too. They always line up at the fence when I'm bringing the kale to them. It is a great producer.

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  7. Anonymous2/1/11 17:22

    This was just as good, if not better than the Olive Garden version. I doubled my recipe/ingredients, and use one package of hot and one package of mild sausage to mix it up. I also omitted the bacon bits in mine. This was great and so easy! I can't wait to make it again. Thanks for posting this.

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  8. Does this work on the low setting for 2x the time? I may have to try it, but am away from home longer than 4 hours during the day.

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  9. Thank you! I was hoping to find a crockpot version of this. Can't wait to try it!

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  10. We had this for dinner tonight, and it was a hit!

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  11. 2 cans of chicken broth: What size cans?

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  12. Anonymous20/3/11 20:59

    1 cup of water, chopped???

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  13. this sounds awesome love how you shared your own tips as well

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  14. Anonymous29/9/11 12:20

    Do you think it would work just as well if I used evaporated milk? I hate the idea of all the calories and fat in heavy cream - although I'm sure it tastes wonderful. I also like the idea of using spinach instead of kale. I don't think I could sneak kale past my husband, but he likes spinach.

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  15. I know I am SUPER late to this party, but I made this recipe a couple nights ago, and it was AMAZING!

    The only difference is I had mine on low for 8 hours because I am at work all day, and it turned out great :)

    Just as good as Olive Garden!

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  16. Delicious! I used whole milk instead of cream and it was fabulous.

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  17. Anonymous31/7/12 15:46

    I must be sausage- dumb. Do you mean the ground crumbled kind, or the link kind?

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  18. Just the ground kind works best.

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  19. Also requires red pepper flakes....the most noticeable ingredient ;)

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  20. Anonymous27/1/14 10:38

    Do you have any suggestions for a chicken or veggie alternate to the sausage? My husband won't eat pork or beef (lame) so I was trying to think of something else that wouldn't be gross!?!

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    Replies
    1. I would use ground chicken and season it!

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  21. So you add yhe kale, bacon & cream after its done cooking?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, after it's done cooking!

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  22. Anonymous29/1/14 10:11

    I cant wait to try this - I think I will substitute spinach for the kale - spinach goes over better in my house. Thanks for a great recipe

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