Dinner/ Italian recipes/ Lunch/ One-pot recipes/ Pork/ Soups & Stews

Zuppa Toscana with Cannellini Beans, Russet Potatoes and Kale

22 February 2021

A lovely Italian stewy soup filled with veggies and packed with flavour, amazing with some toasted bread to soak up the juices. I used a mix of russet potatoes and cannellini beans in this version, the saltiness comes from parmesan rind, pork sausage and some smokey bacon. The veggies are carrots, celery and 3-4 handfuls of kale. 

Traditionally this soup would be with cavolo nero, but this isn’t always available at super markets. Kale is a great substitute, in the supermarkets in the Netherlands you can’t alway get the whole leaves of kale, but the shredded version works great as well!

Zuppa Toscana with Cannellini Beans, Russet Potatoes and Kale

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Dinner, lunch, soup Italian
By Saffron Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pork sausages, casing removed
  • 125 - 150 g smokey bacon cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1-2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp white wine or sherry (optional)
  • 1 - 2 bayleaves
  • 1 twig Rosemary
  • Rind of parmesan cheese (optional, see notes)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, not drained
  • 3-4 russet potatoes, skin on and chopped into 2-3 cm cubes (± 1.5 cups)
  • 300 g kale or cavolo nero, shredded
  • 1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup cream or coconut milk (see notes)
  • To serve (all optional)
  • Crusty bread
  • Lemon slices
  • Chili flakes
  • Drizzle good quality olive oil
  • Grated parmesan cheese



Add a drop of olive oil to a heavy based sauce pan and add the bacon, fry until crispy, ± 3 minutes.


Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leave behind ± 1 tbsp of fat. Set aside.


Add the sausages to the same pan and break them down with a wooden spoon. Sauté until cooked and slightly browning, ± 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.


Add the onions to the pan and sauté on a medium heat until translucent and fragrant, ± 3 minutes.


Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.


Add the celery and carrots, sauté for 2 minutes, keep stirring so it doesn't burn.


Deglaze the pan with some white wine (I used sherry because I didn't have wine lying around). Scrape up all the good bits from the bottom of the pan.


Add a drop of water if you need more juice to scrape the bottom of the pan.


Add the chicken stock, cannellini beans and the potatoes.


Add the bayleaf, rosemary and the parmesan rind (if using).


Bring to a boil and let simmer on low heat for ±18 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.


The last 5 minutes (so after ±13 minutes) add the bacon, the sausage and the kale.


With tongs remove the bayleaf, rosemary twig and the parmesan rind.


Taste and season with pepper and salt, take of the heat.


Add the cream and give it a good stir.


Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, some chili flakes, a squeeze of lemon juice and some crusty toasted bread.


  • Don't throw away your old parmesan rinds! I keep them in the freezer and add them to soups, stews and sauces. You just leave the rind whole and it wil slowly release a savoury, lightly cheesy flavour, brings real depth to a dish!
  • If you prefer not to use cream and keep it dairy free you can substitute it with coconut milk. It will taste a bit coconutty, but because you only use 1/4 cup, it's really not that strong and still super tasty!

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