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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: 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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  • 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 just made this for dinner and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s salty, spicy (if you make it that way), filling, and bright from the lemon juice. It’s so good. I added some extra veggies so I feel better about eating pasta and it’s *chef’s kiss*!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out and sharing your feedback! I love to hear that it was a hit!☀️

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!! I make it at least once a week for my boyfriend and I. It is so simple and easy. I’ve also started adding other vegetables such a versatile soup!

    1. Hi Allison,
      Awesome!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed! Thanks for making it and sharing your feedback:) xx

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this for my family and they loved it! The instructions were simple and very easy to follow.

    1. Hi there, love love this recipe! I am going to cook it tonight for dinner but I was wondering if I could do this in the crockpot? If so would I follow the same directions but just cook the bacon before adding it and wait until the end to add tortellini?

      Thank you so much!

      1. Hey Maddy,
        Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a lot for making it! You bet, that will work well for you! I would give the tortellini 30 minutes on low. Have the best weekend:) xTieghan

    1. Hi Sierra,
      Nope, the tortellini will cook in the soup. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Love this! Such a cozy, delightful flavor profile. My boyfriend liked how “herby” it was with the pesto. So glad I made a double recipe so I can eat tons of leftovers all week!

    1. Hi Liv,
      I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for trying it out! Have the best day:) xT

    1. Hi Maree,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thank you so much for giving it a try!! Have the best day:) xx

  5. I had no intention of making this recipe, but when I read that your cousin Abby loves soup in general, I decided to give it a try.

  6. I absolutely love this soup!
    I fix a double batch about every month and a half now because I start craving it!
    I would very much like to know how to find the nutritional value beyond just the calories.
    Thanks soo much for sharing this recipe! ❤

    1. Hey Cindy,
      Awesome!! I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for giving it a go! Sorry, I only have the calories available. Have a great weekend:) xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made this dish twice already in the past month. It’s a great combination of flavors and adds some variety to meal options. My husband and my kids enjoyed it as well!

    1. Hey Kristina,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was a winner:) 🌸xx

  8. 5 stars
    OMFG – this one shot straight up to #1 best freakin’ dinner I have ever made! Delicious and fun to make! Thank you Tieghan! Ya’ll … make this … seriously. Its Ah-mazing!

    1. Hey Jerri,
      Happy Friday!! LoL thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was a winner:) 🌸xx

  9. 5 stars
    So flavorful and filling! I subbed canned diced tomatoes for sun dried because my husband doesn’t like sun dried and it was delish!

    1. Hi Katie,
      Fantastic!! I love to hear that the recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try. Have the best week:)) xT

      1. 5 stars
        Wow that was AMAZING!! I am not one to comment and leave reviews but that was too good not to! Def will be saving this recipe for the future!

        1. Hey Megan,
          Happy Sunday!! So glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it!! 🌺 xx

    1. Hey Kayla,
      Fantastic!! I love to hear that the recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try. Have the best week:)) xT