So, where are all my Olive Garden Groupies out there in cyberspace? Anyone else love the OG’s soup & salad lunch as much as me? I hope so. And now that Olive Garden has made their famous house salad dressing available in stores, you can almost replicate this meal at home. (I say almost because I haven’t mastered the breadsticks yet.) Assuming you also love the Zuppa Toscana more than the other soups, of course. Which I do.
And I love this version of the soup because it has tons of flavor without tons of fat, plus the added bonus of TONS of kale, which is extremely good for you AND relatively cheap (typically about $1.20/bunch, non-organic). It’s also easy to grow if you want to go organic. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and K, lutein (for eye health), carotenoids & flavonoids (which help prevent cancer), and tons of fiber. And in this recipe, it’s added to the soup near the end of cooking, so those good-for-you benefits don’t dissipate during the cooking process.
INGREDIENTS:1 lb Italian sausage w/o casings
2 large russet potatoes, washed, quartered & then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, diced
2 pieces bacon, cooked & diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of kale, chopped (about 3-4 leaves—remove the thickest portions of the stems)
16 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup half & half (the original recipe calls for heavy cream, but by using half & half we trim about 500 calories out of the whole pot without sacrificing the creaminess)
In a large skillet, brown the sausage and caramelize the onions.
In a large stockpot, boil the potatoes & garlic in the quart of water until tender. Then add the sausage, onions, bacon, and chicken broth to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, and then add the kale and half & half to the pot. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until the kale is warmed through.
Serve with a copycat Olive Garden salad (iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, sliced pepperoncinis, croutons, parmesan, & OG salad dressing) and some toasted bread slathered with herb butter (mix 1 Tbsp of butter with a dash of garlic powder, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of crushed dried rosemary)
NUTRI-FACTS: (Makes 6 large servings)
Total Fat 12.5 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 59.9 mg
Sodium 757.0 mg
Potassium 824.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.3 g
Sugars 2.0 g
Protein 17.3 g