This Creamy Tuscan White Bean Soup is so warming and comforting, you’ll want to serve it throughout the cold weather months. Loaded with vegetables and spicy sausage, this soup is filling but packed with healthy ingredients too.
This Tuscan bean soup recipe is roughly inspired by the zuppa toscana soup you’d find at the Olive Garden. As a result, I am making no claims on Italian authenticity! But I can claim that this soup is super tasty, and exactly what I am craving on a cold winter’s day.
Why Make This Recipe
- Filling and Delicious: So much goodness in one hearty bowl—this is almost more of a tuscan bean stew than a soup. Best tuscan bean soup ever!
- One Pot Meal: Everything cooks in just one pot, so this is an easy meal that will not fill up your sink with dirty dishes.
- Healthy and Gluten-Free: With sausage, beans, and vegetables, this soup is packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients. Gluten-free too!
- Sausage: I like a spicy Italian pork sausage in this soup, but you can use almost any kind of sausage. Mild works just fine, and if you find you want to add some additional spice, you could always stir in some crushed red pepper flakes. Turkey or chicken sausage works too. You could even substitute pancetta or bacon as well (crumble after cooking, and save some for garnish!).
- White Beans: You can use any kind of white beans you prefer. I typically use Great Northern beans, but cannellini beans or navy beans are just as good.
- Potato: Russet potato is really the best type of potato to use in this soup. It’s sturdy enough that the small chunks in the soup keep their shape without turning into mush.
- Baby Kale: I specify baby kale because you can add it to a soup without needing to cook it first. You can use tuscan kale or curly kale rather than baby kale, but make sure to cut it in very small pieces or else par-cook it and drain it before adding to the soup. Feel free to replace the baby kale with baby spinach or chopped spinach as well.
- Parmesan Cheese: I love to finish this soup with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. You could also use Pecorino Romano, or leave it off entirely. Also, throwing a parmesan rind in the soup for flavor is absolutely delicious (just remove before serving.)
- Sun-dried Tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes give an extra depth of flavor to this soup. If you don’t have them, add a can of chopped tomatoes, drained or chop 2 medium fresh tomatoes and add to the soup.
- Italian Seasoning: Feel free to replace with with dried basil, dried oregano, or a combination.
🥣 Step-by-Step Instructions
Take 1 pound of hot Italian sausages out of their casings, and crumble into a large saucepan or dutch oven. Then sauté sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon. When cooked through and browned (about 5-7 minutes), spoon off any excess rendered fat—keeping 1-2 teaspoons in the pan is fine.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan, then stir in 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped russet potato. Cook for 7 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften.
Add 3 chopped garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning and cook for an additional minute. Add about a cup of drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 6 cups chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for around 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add salt and season with pepper (and additional salt), to taste. Add 1 can of drained white beans, 4 ounces of baby kale, and ½ cup of heavy cream. Bring back to a simmer. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
If you prefer a creamier soup, use an immersion blender to blend the soup until you get the consistency you want. You can also remove 1–2 cups of soup from the pot, blend in a blender, then return to the saucepan and stir. Serve hot, with grated parmesan cheese grated on top.
🧐 Recipe FAQs for Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage
While this recipe calls for sausage, you can easily make a vegetarian version of this soup. Either replace the sausage with a meatless sausage alternative, or leave it out entirely. You can start this recipe by just cooking the onions and potatoes in olive oil and go from there.
This is one of those recipes that some may consider healthy and others may not. For me, it has real ingredients (no additives or preservatives), including some nutritional powerhouses in beans and kale. The addition of sausage and heavy cream though, prevent me from touting this as a health food! That said, in moderation I think those ingredients are just fine, and I certainly don’t feel bad about eating a big bowl.
Creamy soups do not take well to freezing, as the freezing/defrosting process leads cream to separate. If you know in advance that you’ll want to freeze this soup, I would recommend not including the cream at the end. The soup is plenty delicious without the cream anyway, and you can always choose to add the cream after you have defrosted and reheated the soup.
This bean soup recipe doesn’t include a standard thickener. The combination of the starchy potatoes in the soup and the cream added near the end make this soup creamy but not gloppy. And, if you choose to blend some of the soup at the end of the recipe, you can make this soup as thick as you like. As an alternative, you can build a slurry with equal parts liquid and cornstarch, then whisk that into the soup to thicken it. (This can also be done as an alternative to adding the heavy cream.)
👩🍳 Expert Tips
This Tuscan white bean soup with kale is very easy to make, with only one pot required. Because there is only one pot, though, it’s important to make sure the sausage is well-cooked and browned, but not burned, before adding the other ingredients. Perfectly browned sausage will add a depth of flavor to the soup, especially from the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan that will release when liquids are added. But burned sausage will create a bad taste in the rest of the soup. Watch your sausage carefully, and turn down the heat if you sense it is cooking too quickly.
Make sure that your potato is chopped in small pieces (around ¾-inch in size), so that they will cook in under 20 minutes. If your potato chunks are larger, and are not cooked within that time, you can cook the soup for longer. Just keep in mind you may want to add more broth if too much evaporates out as the potato is cooking.
I love a white bean soup with kale, or really any green, in it. It’s a healthy ingredient that adds both color and nutrients to the soup. In this recipe, you add the kale just for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. That gives it time to wilt into the soup, but not begin to disintegrate. Cooking the soup for longer will cause the kale to break down more—still delicious, but you won’t get the difference in textures that just-cooked kale adds to the soup.
Note that the finished soup will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, but it may separate slightly after it cools. If this happens, don’t worry. It will come back together when you reheat it. Also, as it cooks, any leftover fat from the sausage will solidify on the top layer. You can remove this before reheating if you prefer.
Other Delicious Soup Recipes
I love soup so much that I once thought about opening my own soup restaurant—who wouldn’t love that?? But until I do, I’m posting all my favorite soup recipes here. Check out some of my favorites:
If you try this Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below—I read them all, and your feedback is invaluable to me. And please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter. I'd love to inspire you with more delicious, healthy, and seasonal recipes!
📖 Recipe Card
- 1 pound Italian pork sausage, mild or spicy
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 russet potato, chopped
- 1 7.5-ounce jar of sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can low-sodium white beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 ounces baby kale
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grated parmesan cheese, to serve
- Take sausage out of its casing, and crumble it into a large saucepan or dutch oven.
- Sauté sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon. When cooked through and browned (about 5-7 minutes), spoon off any excess rendered fat—keeping 1-2 teaspoons in the pan is fine.
- Add olive oil to pan, then stir in onions and potatoes.
- Cook for 7 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften.
- Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for an additional minute.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes and chicken broth, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for around 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- Add salt and season with pepper (and additional salt), to taste.
- Add white beans, baby kale, and cream, and bring back to a simmer. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Serve hot, with grated parmesan cheese grated on top.
If you prefer a creamier soup, use an immersion blender to blend the soup until you get the consistency you want. You can also remove 1–2 cups of soup from the pot, blend in a blender, then return to the saucepan and stir.
Note that the finished soup will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, but it may separate slightly after it cools. If this happens, don’t worry. It will come back together when you reheat it. Also, as it cooks, any leftover fat from the sausage will solidify on the top layer. You can remove this before reheating if you prefer. If you'd like to freeze this soup, don't add the heavy cream at the end. Instead, let soup cool completely, then freeze. After defrosting the soup, reheat on the stovetop in a large saucepan and add the cream 5-10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 596Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 814mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 9gSugar: 19gProtein: 31g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.