Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana
With a short list of ingredients, this easy crock pot zuppa Toscana is a hearty one pot meal that’s a simple slow cooker meal everyone will love! Super hearty, yet light and fresh, you’ll love the creamy consistency and the “secret” trick to using less cream.
About this Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana Recipe
You perhaps have had zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden – a creamy soup bursting with flavor.
I wanted to recreate a lighter, homemade version of the soup that’s easy to make, yet just as delicious as the original version.
While it may sound fancy, this lightened-up version of zuppa Toscana slow cooker recipe is a cinch to put together thanks to a short ingredient list and my trusty crockpot, making it a perfect, easy, weeknight dinner!
Flavorful ingredients like onions, garlic, sweet Italian sausage, and a bit of heavy cream all combine to create this ultra comforting soup that’s surprisingly healthy too.
This version is also naturally gluten-free and can be made dairy-free, so it makes a great option when feeding people with different dietary preferences.
And, if you’re a fan of this zuppa Toscana crock pot recipe, you’ll have to try my Creamy Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup next.
Now bring on all the cozy, easy soups!
Origins of Zuppa Toscana
Zuppa Toscana is a general term that means “Tuscan soup,” and is traditionally made with kale, beans, potatoes, onion, and Italian bacon. It became popular in the US when Olive Garden created a version with Italian sausage, onion, bacon, heavy cream, potatoes, and kale (source). My version is a lightened up and simplified twist on the Olive Garden recipe.
Visual Guide: How to Make Zuppa Toscana
Process & Tips
When developing this zuppa Toscana soup crockpot recipe, I wanted to lighten things up and cut some of the cream, while still creating a lusciously creamy soup.
To accomplish this, I use a method of mashing some of the cooked potatoes at the end of the cook time, and adding them back in along with the cream.
The finished product is still luxuriously creamy and delicious – I promise, you won’t even miss all the extra cream.
And, if you happen to love all things potato, you will also love this slow cooker potato recipe!
Make It Gluten Free + Dairy Free
This recipe is naturally gluten free, but be sure to check the ingredients of your sausage to avoid gluten contamination if following a gluten free diet. For dairy free, use an unsweetened, unflavored dairy free creamer, or full fat coconut milk in place of cream.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Sausage: I used sweet Italian bulk sausage for this recipe, but if you’re looking for a spicy zuppa Toscana recipe, use spicy Italian sausage in its place.
If you don’t want to use pork sausage, bulk chicken sausage can be substituted.
Kale: Hearty kale holds up better in soups than spinach. Either curly or dino kale works in this recipe.
Potatoes: Adds extra creaminess to the soup. For best results, I prefer russet potatoes.
Onion: If you don’t like or can’t eat onions, feel free to skip them in this recipe.
Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store.
It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
How to Store & Freeze Leftovers
Crock pot zuppa Toscana keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.
This recipe also freezes well. Store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months. Separation is normal. Simply reheat to bring back to a normal consistency.
This Recipe is…
Follow my step-by-step video:
Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana
- 1 ½ pounds sweet Italian sausage
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups chopped kale, from about 1 bunch, stems removed
- ½ cup cream
Optional Serving Suggestions
- Red pepper flakes
- Crusty bread
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and break into bite sized pieces. Brown on one side, about 3 minutes.
- Flip the sausage pieces, add the onion, and cook until the onions are softened and the sausage is browned on both sides, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Drain any excess grease and discard, if desired.
- Carefully transfer the cooked sausage and onion mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the diced potatoes, stock, water, and salt, stirring to combine.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Uncover and remove about 1 cup of cooked potatoes and ½ cup cooking liquid to a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add the kale, cover, and cook on high for 15-30 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
- While the kale is cooking, using a fork, mash the potatoes with the cooking liquid until smooth.
- When the kale is tender but still bright green, add the mashed potato mixture and cream, stirring to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.