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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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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: 582 kcal

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

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Really yummy! I’ve made another version of this with potatoes instead of pasta, I think it liked this better. I left out the sun dried tomatoes because my husband doesn’t like them, but I bet it’s even yummier with them. 😊

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Wonderful!! I am so so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks a bunch for making it! xT

  2. Delicious! I’m addicted to an Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana knock-off recipe…. But my husband isn’t a fan…. But he LOVES pasta…. So your version is a great compromise! (And it tastes way better than most compromises!) This was a big hit for both of us…. Thank you!

    1. Hey Caroline,
      Happy Sunday! I am thrilled to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner and it was SOOOO yummy. My husband does not handle any kind of spice so I switched to just regular sausage which when I make this again, I will use the spicy sausage. There wasn’t much taste to the sausage because of all the other amazing tastes. Can’t wait to make this again!!!

  4. Would this recipe work in the crockpot? If I cook everything besides the tortellini and kale on low and then add those at the end?

    1. Hey Riley,
      Totally, that would work well for you! Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

    1. Hi Caroline,
      I really appreciate you giving the recipe a try, so glad to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great week! xxT

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious!! Very easy to put together for a group of people – went well with your cheater sourdough recipe! Will definitely be making this again!

    1. Hey Jennifer,
      Wonderful! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it. Have the best weekend:) xTieghan

        1. Hey Jess,
          Fantastic! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for giving it a try! Have a great weekend:) xxT

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight for my family. I doubled it because I had high hopes. It was so yummy. We all loved it. So happy I chose to double everything. I ate two bowls in one sitting and can’t wait to eat more tomorrow for lunch.

    1. Hey Jenna,
      You bet! I would just keep the tortellini separate. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I just finished making this and it’s so insanely delicious. Thank you so much!
    I didn’t have sausage so I used chicken breast and a bit of ground pork instead.
    So yummy!

    1. Hi Rosemarie,
      You can use a dairy free milk. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Awesome, easy and fast—very filling, too. Warmed us all up on a cold night. I’ve made this several times now and it’s a big hit with the fam. Thank you!

    1. Hi Cari,
      Fantastic!! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try. Have the best week! xTieghan