It’s getting close to the time of year where soups and chowders are the bee’s knees. Though it seems so distant still with temperatures of 90 degrees plus, sweater weather is coming! I’m one of those strange people who enjoys a good soup or stew at all times of the year. Of course, if I’ve been out sweating and such, then a good salad or some other cold selection trumps the idea of anything even remotely warm. But when I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a majority of the day in air conditioning and especially on those cooler days, I crave soup!
Have you ever tried Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana? It’s a hearty blend of potatoes, sausage and kale in a savory broth. It is SO good. Especially with their garlicky bread sticks dunked in it. But as you may remember from my previous posts, I try not to eat gluten or dairy or pork. Bummer, I know!
A couple of years ago, I had a craving for that delicious bowl of no-no’s and decided to try to convert the recipe into something that my taste buds and the rest of my body would enjoy. I started scouring Pinterest and found many adaptations that could work. Over the years, I have perfected a recipe to my likings and thankfully, my family is on board too. Every time they see “Zuppa Toscana” on our weekly meal plan chalkboard, they get super excited.. or should I say, zuppa excited? (Had to!)
My recipe has the same rich flavor profile as Olive Garden’s (I’ve been told it tasted even better, but I don’t wanna toot my own horn.. tooot!), minus the dairy, fillers and artificial flavorings, making it Paleo friendly. It’s quickly turned into a household favorite for our family. It tastes great fresh and even better leftover! Have you ever noticed how soups seem to mesh their flavors better after sitting for a day? The longer they sit, the better the get! It’s a perfect candidate for meal prepping!
I have used Italian sausage in the past, per other recipes, before I realized that pork and I don’t get along. The Italian sausage tastes great and if you tolerate it well, you’ll love the flavor it gives. I use either ground chicken or beef in place of the sausage and add extra fats and seasonings to give it a bit more flavor. You can use coconut oil or ghee to give your soup a unique richness. You could add sage, fennel seeds, or any other blend of herbs to imitate that sausage taste. You could add in crushed red pepper to help give it a little extra spice like the sausage would add, if you gotta have it. Also, this soup tastes the best with homemade chicken broth/stock.. but this is the quick and easy recipe for those of you like me that need simplicity at the end of the day. If you have leftover chicken and can make stock ahead of time and want to play around with extra seasonings, do it! This is a recipe that’s good on its own or all jazzed up the way you see fit.
Zuppa Toscana Copy Cat Recipe
- 4-5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 large minced onion
- 1 lb ground beef (or Italian sausage)
- 1.5 lbs diced red potatoes
- 1.5 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 6 cups chicken broth/stock
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (stirred)
- 2 cups frozen (or fresh) chopped kale
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- to taste salt and pepper
- In a soup or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until warm.
- Add in ground meat and cook until browned. Drain grease if you wish.
- Add in onions, garlic, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.. cook until fragrant and translucent. About 3-5 mins
- Add in potatoes and chicken stock/broth. Cover with lid and simmer until potatoes are softened to your liking. *I like them to easily slide off of the point of a knife- about 20 mins
- Add in kale, if raw.. cook until softened to your liking.
- Add more salt and pepper or seasonings to taste.
- Finally, stir in coconut milk and turn off the heat.
- The longer it sits and soaks up the flavors, the better!
Note: Don’t forget your protective eye wear while chopping your onions. (Is that a thing? Onion goggles?) This was Raygan’s first time helping me cut an onion and I have a feeling it might have been her last!
I hope you and your family love this flavorful and filling soup like we do. It’s so comforting at the end of a long day, especially on a wet or chilly day. Raygan calls food that looks pretty, tastes good and is healthy for you, “Happy Food”. This recipe has been Happy Food approved! It’s the kind of meal that warms your belly, makes you smile and dance a little jig. Enjoy!
Let me know if you decide to try this recipe out and what you and your family think of it. Is it an epic win or fail in your household? What did you do differently? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below and share with others!