Who doesn't love a good restaurant copycat recipe you can make at home? This Italian-inspired soup was user-submitted and touted as "Better than Olive Garden" and therefore deserves to be tested! Zuppa Toscana is not from our trusty brands but I decided to make this soup for a variety of reasons: 1. My oven is broken. I set it up to self-clean and a week later it is still locked. Who has time to deal with that right now? 2. You can make this in your slow-cooker and while I'm chasing a toddler and 8 months pregnant - this was a total selling point. 3. This recipe has over 52 thousand shares on the recipe page which means it's got to be worth a try. So here we go!
I gathered my ingredients which are simple enough. Flour, minced garlic, chicken broth, potatoes, and onion are pantry staples in my house so all I had to grab at the store was kale, heavy cream, bacon and sausage. I used a smoked chicken sausage but feel free to use your favorite. Spicy pork sausage would be great in this dish but I just added red pepper flakes and cayenne to get the heat level I wanted.
I chopped the veggies into bite size pieces and added them to the slow-cooker along with the cooked sausage, broth, and garlic. I added just about a 3/4 a cup of water to make sure everything was covered with liquid and set the cooker to high. If you have a little more time, I would suggest cooking on low for 5-6 hours but I needed to get it done in about 3.5 hours. I'd like to say I walked off and forgot about this soup for the day but the aroma in my house was so yummy I couldn't stop thinking about it.
About 30 minutes before serving, I added the heavy whipping cream/flour mixture and destemmed kale to the slow-cooker. Next time I might wait to add the kale until right before serving so it retains more color and texture. The cream and flour do a good job of thickening the soup and giving it richness.