Tuscan Soup with Herbed Croutons

Hellloooo soup season! Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's basically winter already. Christmas lights are up on the block, snow has dusted our lawn and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" is playing on the radio. As you know, my heart is always with Italian food. So, I wanted to kick off soup season with a delicious Tuscan Soup, also know as Zuppa Toscana. 

This is a one pot recipe. The key is spicy Italian sausage, potatoes and lots of fragrant herbs. I love adding lemon zest and juice to brighten it up and give more zing to the soup. Also, cheese. Specifically parmesan cheese. I bring depth and more flavor to this with the holy trinity: onions, celery, carrots. Finish it off with cream, more cheese and kale. The perfect Italian soup packed with flavor and lots of veggies. 

Lastly, serve with some roasted Herbed Croutons. Rip up some crusty bread, drizzle with olive oil and lots of herbs, dried or fresh. Broil until golden brown. Fin! A super simple addition that I love using on soups, stews, and pasta. You can also grind them up after broiling to make a bread crumb. Easy and scrumptious! 

Alright - here's the recipe:

Tuscan Soup with Herbed Croutons

For the soup:

1 lb ground spicy Italian sausage

4 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

a pinch of red pepper flakes, or Ting's Perfect Pasta Seasoning

3-4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 celery stalk, diced

1-2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces

zest and juice 1 lemon

6 cups broth, vegetable or chicken

1/4 cup fresh herbs, i.e. parsley, basil, thyme + more for serving

large pinch of salt and pepper

*optional: add parmesan rind

1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped

1 cup heavy cream, coconut cream or milk

1/2 cup parmesan cheese + more for serving

For croutons:

1 loaf bread, your choice, ripped or cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup olive oil

1-2 tablespoons dried herbs, i.e. oregano, sage, basil, thyme

pinch of salt and pepper 

*can add Ting's Perfect Pasta Seasoning

To make soup:

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the sausage. Cook until browned. Remove and set aside. 

2. Add butter, onion and red pepper flakes. Cook until onions begin to turn translucent and fragrant. Add garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and sauté for another few minutes. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add chicken broth until covered. If needed, add a water to cover completely. Stir in fresh herbs, salt and pepper. If using, add in the parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and boil until potatoes are tender and cooked through. 

3. Once potatoes are cooked, stir back in the sausage. Add the kale. Cook for another few minutes, until kale is completely incorporated. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with croutons and enjoy!

For Croutons:

1. While your soup is cooking, turn on your broiler to low (400F degrees). In a bowl, toss together your bread, olive oil, herbs and seasonings. Pour onto a lined cookie sheet. 

2. Broil for about 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully, this will happen quickly! Check every couple of minutes so you do not burn the croutons. 

3. Serve with soup and enjoy!