This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.

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.
View Recipe Comments

Pesto Tortellini Zuppa Toscana |

Add a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I can’t explain how much we love this soup. We are huge fans of your recipes but this is one of our all time favorites. Thank you for all you give to this community!

    1. Hi Chelsea,
      Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe is always a winner, thanks for making it so often! Have a great week:)

    1. Hi Janna,
      Happy Sunday!!🍍🥥 Thank you so much for trying this recipe and your feedback, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xT

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this for dinner and it was so delicious!!! Thank you so much for the recipe! I love your book, and we’re all huge fans of your fabulous recipes!

    1. Hey Fabiana,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for testing this recipe out, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for lunch today! So so yummy. Probably the best soup recipe I’ve ever made:) followed the recipe exact

    1. Hi Cassidy,
      Happy Sunday!💐 I really appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was a hit! xT

  4. 5 stars
    This soup was easy to make and one of the most delicious soups my husband and I have ever had! The flavors were so big and all worked so perfectly together. This will definitely become one of my go-to recipes! Thanks, Tieghan, for another winner!

    1. Hey Elaine,
      Fantastic!!🌺 I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and thanks so much for making it! xT

  5. 5 stars
    This is my families favorite recipe maybe ever! My 12 year old requested it for his birthday dinner. I also made it for my friends family after her mother passed away. The flavors are bright and complex yet easy to make. It’s a hearty, comforting meal. It has a special place in our home. I just wanted you to know how much we love this recipe! Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Hey Kristin,
      Wonderful!! I appreciate you making this recipe so often and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it is always a winner! Have a great Wednesday! xx

  6. 5 stars
    Made this tonight … was delicious! Made it as written, wouldn’t change a thing. Adding to the soup dinner rotation. The

    1. Hey Nancy,
      I appreciate you making this recipe and I’m thrilled to hear that it turned out well for you! Have a great weekend! xx

  7. 5 stars
    To avoid the “soggy” tortellini, I recommend not adding it to the soup base. Boil the tortellini separate and serve like you would spaghetti.

  8. Love this recipe! I have made is so many times!! I was wondering, do you think it would taste good if I substitute the Italian chicken or pork sausage with chopped up rotisserie chicken?

    1. Hey Madison,
      Thanks for making this recipe so often!! Sure, that would be great for you to use! Let me know how it turns out:) xx

  9. 5 stars
    SO SO good!!! Absolutely delicious! I made this recipe tonight for the first time and loved it! I used whole milk and turkey bacon as substitutes for the heavy cream and bacon and it was wonderful. I have tons of left overs and am excited to have it again tomorrow and the next day! Thanks for the awesome recipe Tieghan!

    1. Hey Dawn,
      Thanks! I’ve not tested this so I don’t have the exact instructions, but I bet it would work well for you! Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

    1. Hey Evan,
      Happy Monday!!☃️ Thanks a lot for making this recipe so often and sharing your review, I love to hear that it is always a winner! xx

    1. Hey Stephanie,
      Happy New Year!🎆🎈 I appreciate you making this recipe and your comment! So glad to hear it was enjoyed! xx

    1. Hey Mary,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Thanks for your comment! xx

  10. I first made this soup over the summer because I was really wanting something warm and comforting while I worked night shift! Safe to say this absolutely hit the spot and I made it two weeks in a row for my lunches! I’m just about to make it again since it’s the perfect winter warm-up meal and I cannot wait. If you’re on the fence about this please make it because it’s an absolute winner!

    *We do keep the tortellini separate now since it did get soggy the first time.*

    1. Hey Brianna,
      Happy Wednesday!!🎇 I am delighted to hear that this recipe is always enjoyed and appreciate you making it so often! xx