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This creamy bowl of Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana is the perfect cold-weather dinner. Spicy Italian chicken sausage simmered together with basil pesto, cheese tortellini, kale, a little lemon, and finished with crispy bacon. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese to each bowl and serve with crusty bread. It’s hearty, full of greens, and so delicious. A fun twist on the classic and great for just about any night of the week! 

Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana |

We finally have snow here! This has been the weirdest December I’ve ever seen. We’ve had very little snowfall and back to back days of sunshine. Usually by this time of year we have full snow cover and more snowy days than sunny. But this year has just been so strange. 

I’m excited to report that we have a couple days of snow in the forecast. Snowy cold days mean soup! And this is one I’ve been looking forward to making for months. 

A few years ago I made my own version of the Olive Garden’s very well loved Zuppa Toscana. It’s been such a favorite soup ever since. When I make it for people, they always ask for the recipe. 

Back in the fall I had the idea to replace the potatoes in the soup with some cheese tortellini. At the time I had been making a lot of soup, so I held off on this recipe until I had the perfect day to make it. 

Well, I finally made it, and I actually think it’s better than the original. 

Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana |

Here are the details 

The key to a good Zuppa Toscana is the spicy sausage. So begin with the sausage, you’ll want to brown it with onions and garlic and add in some broth. Then, I love to add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and basil pesto for even more flavor.

This may not be traditional but it really adds so much to this hearty soup. I’ve found that both the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and fresh lemon really lighten things up and truly enhance the flavors.

Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana |

Once you have everything in the soup, add the kale and let it cook down into the broth. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the tortellini, cream, and parmesan. 

Then just ladle the soup into bowls and top with crispy bacon. Nothing fancy at all, but so warming delicious. 

Really excited to serve this to my family over Christmas break. My cousin Abby loves soup, so this is perfect!

Bonus, this soup is great to have after coming in from the cold and so easy to cook up too. 

Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana |

Looking for winter soup recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

Creamy White Lasagna Soup

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Gnocchi Soup with Rosemary Bacon

Creamy French Onion and Mushroom Soup

Lastly, if you make this Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 685 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon. If there's excess bacon grease, drain off all but 1 tablespoon. 
    2. To the pot, add the sausage and onion. Brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, and a pinch of chili flakes, cook 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, 1 cup water, the pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    3. Stir in the kale and cook 5 minutes, until wilted, stir in the tortellini. Cook 2-3 minutes, then add the cream and parmesan. Remove from the heat. Stir in the reserved bacon.
    4. Serve the soup topped with additional parmesan and fresh thyme, if desired.
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Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana |

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  1. 5 stars
    I would love to know your favorite recipes. . .that you find the easiest and most user-friendly. I have loved every recipe I have tried. . .and am curious about your all time faves. I just did a basic Toscana with tortellini instead of potato. . .so much easier. . .no peeling and chopping potatoes and just as delish.

  2. 5 stars
    This was easily my favorite recipe I’ve tried so far! Definitely will be made again. How do you recommend reheating leftovers? Stove?

  3. My mother hates greens, hates pesto, and hates spicy and yet she loves this soup. We have converted her! It’s healthy ish where enough veggies that I feel good serving it but enough meat fat and pasta that it tastes amazing. Love this one

  4. I absolutely love this soup! I am curious how many days it can last in the fridge? I’m assuming we can’t freeze it because of the tortellini?

    1. Hi Kelly,
      Wonderful!! I am so glad that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for giving it a go! This is good for 3-4 days in the fridge. I would freeze without the tortellini. xx

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve been making the Pesto Zuppa Toscana for years. It’s a family favorite (my youngest demands it weekly and calls it “normal soup.” I made this version last night and it was even more of a hit! Everyone asked for seconds. I have to scale recipes up a bit since we are a larger family, but I’m so glad I did with this one because I have leftovers for lunch today (which I can’t wait to eat).

    1. Hey Megan,
      Happy Monday!! Love to hear that this recipe always turns out well for you, thanks for making it so often and your feedback! xT

  6. 5 stars
    We LOVE this soup! It cooks so quickly and is decadent! Luxurious yet quick enough for an easy weeknight meal. We’ve already made it twice! Thank you Tieghan!

  7. Dearest Thieghan,

    one of your biggest fan here 🙂
    I may be wrong but I believe at the bottom of this recipe there was an addition advising how to prepare herb blend to season meat in a spicy-italian-sausages-style. Now it has gone.
    Please could you re-add that or point me to the place to find it. It was well proven and working excellently.
    Best regards

    1. Hi Greg,
      Thanks so much for your comment! Is this the recipe you were looking for?
      Ground Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage: I buy ground chicken sausage at Whole Foods. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by adding the following spice mix to 1 pound ground chicken:
      1 tablespoon each of fennel seed, dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper; 2 teaspoons each of cayenne (or less, if you don’t want it too spicy), paprika, and garlic powder; and 1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika and crushed red pepper flakes.
      Please let me know! xx

  8. I made a similar version of this (the recipe from your recent cookbook) and I will rave about this foreverrrr!
    The flavours and richness of the soup are so delicious! I used coconut milk instead of cream and it tasted just as good. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars! 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole,
      Wonderful!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks a lot for making it! xT