Sunday, October 6, 2013

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

It is rainy and gloomy here in Minnesota. PERFECT weather for slow-cooker meals, especially on a Sunday! I figured this was the perfect way to start off my pinterest recipe reviews by making a copycat Olive Garden soup AND making it healthier!

I am new at this SO please share with friends!
Pin it, share it on google, tweet it, put it on facebook, comment, favorite, follow :) Whatever you do, just show me some love and give me some feedback! :)

Things I modified to make the recipe healthier: 
Instead of Italian Sausage --> Jennie-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage Links
Instead of heavy whipping cream--> half the amount of fat free cream cheese (there are recipes that use fat free half & half, I used cream cheese to get a thicker taste)
Instead of chicken broth --> fat free, low sodium chicken broth
Instead of bacon bits --> I omitted these completely because I am not a huge fan, but you could use turkey bacon bits (still not the healthiest)
Some recipes called for 4 potatoes, I used 2

Ingredients: (serves 10, 1 cup servings)
  1. 1 package Jennie-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage Links 
  2. 1 yellow Onion 
  3. 2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth 
  4. 4 cups water 
  5. 2 russet potatoes 
  6. 1 table spoon red pepper flakes
  7. 1 table spoon garlic 
  8. salt and pepper to taste 
  9. 4 oz fat free cream cheese 
  10. 2 cups kale
  11. (fat free Parmesan cheese for topping)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: ~4-5 hours on high

  1. Brown turkey sausage 
  2. While turkey sausage is cooking, chop potatoes and onions to whatever size you prefer (diced or chunky) 
  3. Add all ingredients except kale and cream cheese into crock-pot
  4. Cook 4-5 hours on high 
  5. About 30 minutes before serving add chopped kale and cream cheese 
  6. Turn crock-pot down to warm 
  7. Serve after at least 30 minutes (Serving with wine sounds amazing! :)
  8. Enjoy! :) 
Per ServingCaloriesCarbsFatProteinSugar
             1 cup                            176                      19                5                13                      3

Holy smokes! It even looks like the real deal! :) I was a little worried that the cream cheese would not have the same effect as the heavy whipping cream but it worked perfect! This is my fiances favorite soup since he was tiny eating at Olive Garden and he was shocked at how much it tastes just like the restaurant version! Not gonna lie, I am pretty pumped that this was such a success and so easy!  If you don't like spicy than omit the red pepper flakes because the turkey sausage have rep pepper flakes in them. Next time I will chop the kale up finer because the fiance is picky about eating any type of vegetable and this was just a little too chunky for him. 

Dude approved? 
I was pretty shocked that he gave it a 10/10 because he has such high standards and LOVES the Olive Garden version. He even liked the spice of this version better. I will be getting his opinion on all of the recipes, but expect to see some 0's in the future, he is one picky guy! 

Have a healthy, positive, happy week! :) 


  1. The ingredients say 1 tablespoon garlic - what type? Minced garlic from a jar, fresh, powdered, dried?

  2. Was a tad spicy for our family but overall great recipe. Will just omit red pepper flakes next time.

  3. I used minced. I like to chop it and smell my fingers after.

  4. This was pretty good! Made it last night, definitely seemed to taste better after the flavors melded together for a day. Though I did make some changes:
    First, just used regular turkey sausage, as that is what I found at the store. I also way amped up the garlic (I love garlic), and reduced the red pepper flakes to about a tsp or less. It still had a little bit of a kick without being overwhelming. I added more kale (because why not) and used light cream cheese as that is what I had on hand. The biggest change was that I used sweet potatoes (forgot to pick up regular), and I think I prefer it that way. I've never had the original soup, so don't have much of a comparison, but I like the sweet potato balanced with the savoriness/spiciness of the sausage and red pepper. Easy and yummy!