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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. Hi Bailey,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xx

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is incredible. My husbands requests it. Its also so easy! My first try it was just amazing. I agree with another commenter though that for leftovers, the tortellini had soaked up too much broth so when I make it, I fish the tortellini out before putting the leftovers away. It took a few minutes to do but I felt the tortellini needed to all cook in the broth for maximum flavor (instead of just cooking them separately).

    1. Hi Courtney,
      Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Have the best weekend:) xT

    1. Hey there,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it!! Have the best day:) xx

  2. 5 stars
    All your recipes are delicious, but – honest-to-God – this is the best soup I have EVER had! My only issue was with leftovers – since I have a small family, we didn’t eat it all, and the next day the tortellini had soaked up too much broth. Fixed that next time by just cooking it separately. Sooooo good!

    1. Hey Kate,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for giving it a go! Have the best weekend! xxT

  3. 5 stars
    I made this by request for someone who loves this Olive Garden soup. They told everyone don’t even bother with theirs, yours is so much better! I used this recipe with the sun dried tomatoes, but with the potatoes instead of tortellini like your first recipe. Amazing! When I make this again for less people I’m definitely trying it with tortellini. Thank you thank you thank you for your awesome recipes! I feel like I can always try something new without worrying that it’ll be a bust. You post nothing but hits!

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

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve already made this about three times now. It’s my boyfriends favorite and he keeps requesting it! The spicy sausage is the perfect addition to the Tuscan flavors.

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was SO good! I was looking for something to cook on a snowy day and this hit the spot. The pesto and sun dried tomatoes really brought a lot of flavor to the dish. Absolutely loved it!

  6. 5 stars
    This soup is so good! Complex layered flavor and texture. Yes, texture! I was a bit suspicious after adding the pesto (and I love pesto). The end result is hearty, delicious and happy meal. I can’t wait for tomorrow to eat leftovers!

    1. Hey Leah,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was a winner. Have the best weekend:) xT

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVE this recipe. Very delicious. I have made this twice now for friends/family gatherings and everyone goes back for seconds because it’s so tasty. The second time I even forgot to add the cream and bacon in the end (good conversation and a couple glasses of wine, and I just spaced it), but everyone still loved it!! So yummy and cozy for winter healthy cooking.

    1. Hey Jennifer,
      Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a go! xxT

  8. 5 stars
    MY FAVORITE!!! I always make your recipes and have loved them all. This one was amazing. Very easy, I subbed the bacon for pancetta, and the kale with spinach. I will definitely be making this again soon.

  9. 4 stars
    First recipe from HBH. Tasty, except for the lemon. I only added half and unfortunately no one liked it, not even me. Tasted like hot lemonade to me! I was able to correct it with a little more water and seasoning and it was infinitely better. I also used spinach instead of kale because kale is gross! Lol Other than that, followed as is and we enjoyed it in the end. As loyal as I am to my NY Times cooking subscription, I may take a break from it and dive into some more recipes here.

    1. Hey Meredith,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, sorry to hear it was not enjoyed!! Let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan

      1. We definitely enjoyed it in the end! None of us like hot citrus flavors, and I think I’ve read you love hot lemon water so it explains why it was perfect for you! Just leaving out the lemon made it perfect for us. My mom said I should open a soup shop haha

  10. 5 stars
    My husband and son couldn’t stop making “mmmm” noises every time they took a bite, so I guess it must they must have liked it! ?FANTASTIC recipe, truly!

    1. Hey Emily,
      Fantastic!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

    1. Hi Mel,
      Nope, the tortellini will cook in the soup, just be sure to use fresh tortellini. I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    This soup is Delicious! A huge hit in my house. I used pancetta instead of bacon because this is what I had on hand. We will definitely enjoy this soup again and again!
    Thank You