This Zuppa Toscana recipe is inspired by what you find at Olive Garden, but much healthier with milk instead of cream and chicken instead of sausage. While it may be a fraction* of the calories, it is 100% of the taste! This recipe is under 200 calories per serving, so you don’t have to feel bad about eating this rich, creamy soup.
Zuppa Toscana is Italian for “Tuscan soup.” So, saying “Zuppa Toscana soup” is actually redundant. Like CAT Test or Volkswagen car. Well 3% of US searches for “zuppa toscana” include the word soup, so it doesn’t hurt my SEO to include it! Of course, while this soup has its roots in a Tuscan-style potato soup, what they serve at Olive Garden is about as Italian as “French toast” is French. Their recipe calls specifically for Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits. The Oscar Mayer brand is from Chicago. My version doesn’t use any bacon, although I guess you could use chopped up turkey bacon to give it the flavor and crunch without the calories.
*The Olive Garden website lists their Zuppa Toscana soup at 170 calories, but entering the ingredients from the Olive Garden cookbook into the calorie counter website I use shows the value to be 341. I guess they must just use smaller bowls!
- .5 pound chicken breast
- 1 large russet potatoes
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 14 oz (1 can) low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cup of water
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 cups kale
- ½ cup 1% milk
- ½ tsp corn starch
- Grill chicken on George Foreman grill until no longer pink. Set aside to cool.
- Cut potatoe in half, then slice into 1" slices.
- Place potatoes, onion, broth, water, garlic and seasoning in large pot over medium-high heat. Cook approximately 20" minutes until potatoes pass the "fork test."
- Reduce heat to simmer. Cut chicken into 1" chunks. Add to pot with with kale.
- Mix corn starch and milk together. Stir into soup. Simmer for 10 minutes until kale is softened and soup begins to thicken.
How Zuppa Toscana soup made me a believer in kale
I spent a long time believing that I didn’t like kale. It was actually Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana that rid me of that misconception. I have had a love-hate relationship with dark leafy greens, such as kale. Some I don’t like at all. Collards are in this group, and for a long time, so was kale. Others are like spinach. I like it raw but not cooked. I had tried raw kale and found it too bitter for my liking. Since my experience with dark leafy greens had been liking it raw or not it all, I figured if I didn’t like raw kale, I wouldn’t like cooked kale.
Then my wife and I had lunch at Olive Garden back in November. She ordered a bowl of the Zuppa Toscana. I had a taste and discovered I actually did like kale. It just has to be cooked first! The rest was history.