It’s that time of year when soups, chili and all sorts of warm comfort foods begin to invade my kitchen! I welcomed the cool weather recently by breaking out my crock-pot and making a batch of this hearty and delicious soup.
If you have ever been to Olive Garden, you have probably heard of their well-known Zuppa Toscana. Whenever I go with my husbands parents, his dad orders this soup. He likes it so much, that he’s gotten just soup for dinner. He ate two or three bowls of course.
When I came across a recipe a couple of years ago I knew I needed to give it a try. I also loved that I could do a bit of prep work and let it cook in the crock-pot for a few hours without having to watch it. It was a huge hit with my husband and his dad so I have made it quite a few times since then.
At first it was a bit spicy for me. I think I may have gotten a little heavy-handed on the red pepper flakes. But I have since been getting used to spicier foods and I make sure to measure out the red pepper so it doesn’t get too overpowering. I guess you can say that this soup was a game changer for me. I had never used kale or red pepper flakes before and now I put them in anything I can!
A few tips:
- As I mentioned above, the red pepper flakes can easily overpower the soup making it quite spicy. If you like that then by all means add more than my suggested amount. I do recommend putting in at least a little bit in even if you think you don’t like spiciness as it does add to the flavor.
- I chop my kale into rather small pieces because I don’t like chewing on large pieces of greens. This is totally a preference thing so chop however small you wish. And speaking of kale, just use the leaves not the stalks.
- The original recipe called for about 10 more ounces of chicken broth but it was easier to just buy a 32 ounce carton and I was happy with the results of this amount of liquid. Feel free to adjust this to your liking.
There you have it! A perfect slow cooker meal to enjoy as it starts to get cooler outside. Don’t forget the yummy bread to go along with it too!
If you are looking for a slow cooker, here’s a similar model to the one that I use:
What is your favorite restaurant dish?
Have you ever tried to recreate a restaurant inspired meal at home?