Home » Lightened Up Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Lightened Up Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Today was a good day. We were running on time for work/daycare, work was productive, and after a few days of sciatica issues, I’m finally walking without a limp and with little-to-no pain. It was also a good day because I got to chat with Heather from Fit Mom Real Food to be a guest on her podcast, Fit Mama Real Food Radio!

Heather and I have both been blogging for nearly 9 years and she’s someone I feel like I’ve known since the very start. Finally getting a chance to connect was so fun and we got to chat about super important topics like feeding our kiddos and meal planning. A woman after my own heart!

Heather had great questions aimed at helping busy moms find time to put wholesome, delicious food on the table. Somehow, she pegged me as a reliable source of information and I am incredibly humbled!

As I shared with Heather, I truly believe we make time for the things in life we deem more important. Kind of like me and my morning workouts…that are still going strong (my alarm is already set for tomorrow!). Making healthy food is a commitment. It takes time, planning, and creativity. But the reward is well worth the effort.

One thing I forgot to tell Heather is that when I meal plan, I’ll often ask Mr. Prevention if he has any requests for the week. Sometimes he does, but usually he doesn’t. So when he does make a request, I try to oblige. He is pretty low-maintenance when it comes to what we eat, so that’s a bonus.

I think he’s requested Zuppa Toscana on a semi-regular basis since we first met. We have probably been to Olive Garden a total of 3 times in the past 14 years, but he forever talks about his love for Zuppa Toscana. I mean, bacon, sausage, and heavy cream – it’s no wonder it’s a well-loved Olive Garden classic. I’ve lightened this fan favorite up – big time – and received approval from my better half. It’s delicious – enjoy!

Lightened Up Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings (1¾ cups each)
  • 4 slices nitrate-free bacon, chopped
  • 20 oz sweet Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cups russet potatoes, cubed
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ cup whole milk
  1. Cook bacon in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until crispy, stirring often and removing with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Drain all grease from pot and return to heat.
  2. Add the sausage and onion, cooking for 5-6 minutes, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon until no longer pink and onions are softened. Add garlic and stir; cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
  3. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add the kale, half and half, and milk, stir and cook for 1-2 more minutes or until kale is wilted and tender. Stir in bacon and serve.
Recipe adapted from The Country Cook
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1¾ cups Calories: 365 Fat: 17.8 Carbohydrates: 25.3 Sugar: 5.3 Sodium: 990 Fiber: 2.7 Protein: 24.8 Cholesterol: 85
Be well,

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  1. Leslie Peterson
    January 23, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    How much half and half?

    • Nicole Morrissey
      January 24, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Hi Leslie! Thanks for catching that – oops! It’s 1 cup of half and half 🙂 Hope you love the recipe!

  2. Ellen Darrah-Schenk
    January 24, 2018 / 7:54 am

    Hi Nicole
    How much half and half?
    Love your blog

    • Nicole Morrissey
      January 24, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Hi Ellen! Thanks so much! And thanks for catching that – oops! It’s 1 cup of half and half 🙂 Hope you love the recipe! Thanks for reading along!

  3. Tammy
    January 24, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Thanks! I might make this today–I have everything except Kale right now. Is that 1 cup half & half or one carton? I meal plan too and cook ~6 days/week. It’s worth it to eat well. My daughter is a little picky so when she requests something I always oblige as well. Husband seems happy as long as there’s food on the table.

  4. Becca
    January 24, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    Would love to know what you serve for vegetables/sides with your meals! I feel like we have the same things over and over (mostly because they’re easy – roasted carrots or broccoli, frozen veggies, some times a small salad) and need some new, simple, ideas. Do you serve multiple vegetables? I love meals that have vegetable included, but I’ve only got so many in my arsenal. Thank you!

    • Nicole Morrissey
      January 24, 2018 / 8:22 pm

      I’m not HUGE on sides – me and the kids tend to eat vegetables as snacks between meals. Honestly, a diced avocado is my go-to. We make oven fries, baked sweet potatoes, steamed cauliflower, edamame as sides pretty often. We’re boring. 🙂 I love everything all together!

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