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Craving a bowl of your favorite Olive Garden soup but want to keep it wholesome? Enter our healthy Whole30 Zuppa Toscana. This dairy-free, hearty soup packs all the flavors of the classic Italian Zuppa Toscana, but with healthier ingredients that align with the Whole30 lifestyle. Best of all, it’s a breeze to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights or cozy weekends.

Overhead photo of a bowl of healthy zuppa toscana next to a pot of the soup.

❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe

A Taste of Italy in Every Spoonful

Who doesn’t adore the creamy broth and rich flavors of a traditional Zuppa Toscana? Our Whole30 version is a beautiful rendition of this timeless Italian soup. With each sip, you’re taken straight to the Tuscan countryside, all while adhering to Whole30 principles. Yes, it’s a taste of Italy without the guilt!

Easy to Make, Even for Kitchen Novices

If the kitchen isn’t your favorite place, don’t fret! This healthy Zuppa Toscana recipe is surprisingly straightforward. From browning the compliant bacon to stirring in the full-fat coconut milk, each step is a breeze. Whether you’re using a Dutch oven or crock pot, this soup comes together seamlessly. And if you’re into gadgets, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a slow cooker and instant pot Zuppa Toscana variation too in the Recipe Notes and Tips section!

Perfect for Chilly Days

There’s nothing like a bowl of hearty soup to warm you up during the colder months. The combination of spicy sausage, creamy broth, and tender kale makes this soup a winter favorite. Even if you’re a soup lover all year round, this Whole30 Zuppa Toscana offers the comfort and warmth we all crave.

Customize to Your Liking

This recipe is incredibly versatile! If you prefer a keto or low-carb option, make a few tweaks, and you’re good to go. Want a little more heat? Add extra red pepper flakes. Looking for a richer soup? Pour in some cashew cream. This recipe is a great way to get creative and make the soup truly your own. It’s sure to be your new favorite soup!

Perfect for the Whole Family

It’s a challenge finding a recipe that the entire family loves, especially when you’re trying to keep things healthy. But with the delicious combination of ground sausage, fresh kale, and a creamy soup base, this dish is bound to become a family favorite. With it being Whole30-compliant, it’s naturally paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free as well. Plus, the subtle kick from the red pepper flakes adds just the right amount of spice that both adults and kids will enjoy.

Great for Meal Prep and Leftovers

The best part about this soup? It tastes even better the next day! The flavors meld beautifully, making it a fabulous option for meal prepping. Prepare a large batch over the weekend and enjoy a ready-to-eat meal during your busy weekdays. Plus, your grocery store trips will be minimal, as many ingredients like chicken broth, russet potatoes, and coconut milk are pantry staples.

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

Overhead photo of whole30 zuppa toscana ingredients, labeled.

Bacon

The chopped bacon provides a rich, smoky undertone to the soup. It’s not just for garnishing; the bacon grease is also vital for the base flavor, thanks to the bacon grease. If you’re looking for a leaner option, turkey bacon can be used, though it might slightly alter the soup’s depth of flavor.

Chicken Broth/Stock

This serves as the foundation of your soup, ensuring it has great flavor and is rich. For a more hearty taste, consider using bone broth or homemade ham stock. If you’re vegetarian, vegetable broth can be a viable alternative, though it will change the flavor profile a tad. Check the FAQs below for more tips on making this vegetarian-friendly.

Russet Potatoes

These potatoes are starchy and ideal for giving the soup its classic texture. Yukon gold potatoes or white potatoes can work as substitutes if russet potatoes aren’t on hand. For a low-carb option, cauliflower florets can be used, but the soup will have a different consistency. Similarly, for a sweeter option, try sweet potatoes, but they may need less time to cook.

Kale

Kale adds a healthy crunch and vibrant color to the soup. If you’re not a fan or simply ran out, swiss chard or spinach are great alternatives.

Coconut Milk

The can of coconut milk makes this healthy zuppa toscana soup creamy without any dairy. If you’re not into the slight coconut flavor, almond milk or cashew cream can be used. To make cashew cream, add 1 cup of almonds to boiling water and let it sit for at least 10 minutes (preferably 30 minutes or overnight). Strain and blend the cashews, adding a little water as needed to make it a thick cream consistency, and add it to your soup. For those not following Whole30, traditional heavy cream can be used.

Whole30 Hot Italian Sausage

Overhead photo of whole30 italian sausage ingredients, labeled.

For this recipe, we make our own Italian sausage mix. It’s filled with herbs and spices, delivering that authentic Italian taste. Remember, the spiciness can be adjusted based on your preference by increasing or decreasing the crushed red pepper flakes. You can also switch out the ground pork for ground chicken or turkey to make chicken or turkey sausage. If you’re short on time, you can always opt for store-bought compliant Italian sausage.

By understanding the role each ingredient plays in this Whole30 Zuppa Toscana, you can feel confident making it your own, tweaking it to suit your taste buds, and accommodating any dietary restrictions. Remember, cooking is as much about experimentation as it is about following a recipe card!

🥣 How to Make Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup

Making this soup is a straightforward process, but to ensure you get the most flavor out of each ingredient, follow the steps closely. Let’s break it down:

Step 1: Start with the Bacon Base

Begin by crisping up some bacon in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. This process not only gives you delicious crispy bacon to garnish your soup later but also leaves behind bacon grease, a secret ingredient to infuse our soup with a depth of flavor.

Step 2: The Meaty Middle

Whether you choose to use pre-made whole30 sausage meat or decide to create your own Italian sausage blend from the recipe card, this step is crucial. In the same pot, you’ll brown the sausage (with the spices), ensuring it’s fully cooked, no longer pink, and oozing with flavor. The combination of bacon fat and sausage creates a rich meaty base that sets this soup apart. Tip: fry the fennel seeds in the bacon grease for 1 minute before adding in the rest of the sausage ingredients. Set the sausage aside.

Step 3: Building the Broth

Now, with our meats set aside, it’s time to introduce the veggies. Sautéing onions until they’re translucent and soft, followed by a quick dance with garlic ensures we’re building layers of flavor.

Pour in your choice of broth and water, bring it to a boil, and let those diced potatoes simmer until they’re fork-tender.

By adding the cooked sausage and kale, you’re almost at the finish line.

Step 4: The Creamy Conclusion

With all the ingredients in, the final step to achieve that iconic creamy Zuppa Toscana texture is the addition of canned coconut milk. This dairy-free alternative provides the soup with a rich and creamy broth without weighing it down.

Adding coconut milk to the soup in the dutch oven.

Finally, give everything a good stir and adjust the seasoning by adding salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more red pepper flakes if desired. Sprinkle on the crispy bacon pieces, and you’re ready to dig in!

With these straightforward steps, you’ll have a pot full of dairy-free, and gluten-free Whole30 Zuppa Toscana. It’s perfect for warming up on a chilly evening or impressing guests at your next dinner gathering. The best part? You made it from scratch, ensuring every spoonful is compliant, delicious, and healthy.

A ladle lifting soup from a pot.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips

Getting the Perfect Consistency

One of the key elements of a great Zuppa Toscana is its consistency. If you find your creamy soup a little too thick, don’t hesitate to add a bit more chicken stock or water to thin it out. Conversely, if it’s too watery for your liking, let it simmer a bit longer to reduce and thicken.

Adjusting Spiciness

The beauty of this recipe is that you can adjust the spiciness to your preference. If you or your family prefer a milder soup, consider reducing the amount of red pepper flakes in the sausage mix. For those who love an extra kick, feel free to add more!

Opt for Fresh Ingredients

While it might be tempting to grab frozen kale or dried garlic, this soup truly shines when made with fresh ingredients. Fresh kale has a crispness that’s hard to replicate with frozen versions. Similarly, fresh garlic gives a more robust and aromatic flavor compared to its dried counterpart.

Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Cream

The recipe calls for coconut milk to give the soup its creamy texture without the dairy. However, if you’re seeking an even richer consistency, you can scrape out the coconut cream from two cans of coconut milk instead of using 1 whole can of coconut milk. Just keep in mind that coconut cream has a more pronounced coconut flavor, which might come through in the final dish.

Keto and Low-Carb Options

To make this healthy Zuppa Toscana keto-friendly, all you have to do is swap out the potatoes for a low-carb vegetable. My go-to’s are turnip (rutabaga), cauliflower florets, or diced radish. You could even try broccoli instead for something a little different!

How to make Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana soup

To make this in a slow cooker, brown the bacon and sausage in a pan first, then transfer all the ingredients (except the bacon pieces, coconut milk, and kale) to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir in kale and coconut milk before serving, and garnish with the bacon.

Instructions for Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

To prepare Whole30 Zuppa Toscana in an Instant Pot, start by using the ‘Sauté’ function to cook the diced bacon. Remove the bacon and brown the sausage. Once browned, add the diced onion and garlic, sautéing until soft. You can add a little water if they start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Then, add the chicken broth, water, and potatoes. Secure the lid, set the valve to ‘Sealing,’ and pressure cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Once done, release the pressure manually. Switch back to the ‘Sauté’ mode, add in the kale, and stir until wilted. Finally, stir in the coconut milk, season to taste, and serve with crispy bacon on top.

Keeping these tips in mind while cooking will ensure your Healthy Zuppa Toscana turns out perfect every time. Whether you’re making it for the first time or the fiftieth, these pointers will help you get the most out of this delicious recipe.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Refrigerating the Soup

After you’ve enjoyed a hearty bowl of Whole30 Zuppa Toscana, you might find yourself with some leftovers. To keep it fresh, allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Properly stored, the soup will last for up to 4-5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheat it gently on the stove or in a microwave until warmed through.

Freezing for Later

If you’ve made a large batch and want to enjoy this dairy-free zuppa toscana soup over several weeks, freezing is a great option. Portion the cooled soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags, leaving about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. Label it with the date and contents, and store it in the freezer. The soup should retain its best quality for 2-3 months but can remain safe to eat beyond that. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then warm on the stove.

Reheating Tips

When reheating the soup, do so over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even warming. If you find the soup has thickened a bit after storing, feel free to add a splash of chicken broth or water to achieve your desired consistency.

Freshening Up Leftovers

If you’re serving the soup a day or two after making it, consider freshening it up a bit. You can add a handful of freshly chopped kale or sprinkle some crispy bacon on top. A drizzle of your favorite olive oil or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can also elevate the flavors of the reheated soup.

🍽️ What to Serve with Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup

Crisp Salads

Pairing your hearty Whole30 Zuppa Toscana with a refreshing salad is a fantastic way to balance your meal. Opt for a light vinaigrette dressing to complement the soup’s creamy texture. Greens like arugula, romaine, or spinach, tossed with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado, make for a delightful accompaniment. Our Pickled Beet Salad recipe would pair perfectly with this soup!

Roasted Veggies

Looking for a warmer side? Roasted vegetables are always a hit. Seasoned with just some olive oil or avocado oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs, veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or carrots roast beautifully in the oven. They not only add a burst of color to your meal but also a variety of textures. Our Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts or Air Fryer Carrots also work wonderfully with this dish.

Whole30 Compliant Bread

For those who can’t imagine soup without bread, there are plenty of Whole30-compliant recipes out there. Whether it’s a nut-based bread or one made with coconut or almond flour, having something to dunk into your Zuppa Toscana can be deeply satisfying. Remember, it’s essential to check that all ingredients adhere to Whole30 guidelines.

A Glass of Sparkling Water

While traditional pairings might include wine, during a round of Whole30, a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime can be just as refreshing. It cleanses the palate and readies your taste buds for each spoonful of soup.

In the end, while the Whole30 Zuppa Toscana is a star in its own right, pairing it with the right side dishes and beverages can elevate your dining experience. Whether you’re dining solo on a quiet evening or hosting friends for a cozy dinner, these pairing suggestions will ensure your meal is both balanced and delicious.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this soup vegetarian?

Absolutely! Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and use vegetarian bacon and sausage. Consider adding cannellini beans for added protein.

I’m not on Whole30. Can I still enjoy this recipe?

Of course! This soup is delicious whether you’re on Whole30 or not. Feel free to make adjustments based on your dietary preferences.

Can I use spinach instead of kale?

Yes, spinach can be a great substitute for kale, but it wilts faster. Add it closer to the end of the cooking process, after the coconut milk and right before you serve.

How spicy is this soup?

The spiciness mainly comes from the red pepper flakes in the sausage. It gives the soup a pleasantly warm kick that builds a little as you eat. Adjust the amount based on your heat preference.

I’m not a fan of coconut milk. Will the soup have a strong coconut flavor?

The coconut flavor in the soup is subtle, but if you’re sensitive to it or simply prefer another option, you can use unsweetened almond milk or cashew cream as alternatives.

Can I use store-bought Italian seasoning instead of the individual spices for the sausage?

Certainly! If you have a preferred Italian seasoning blend, you can use that in place of the individual spices. Just ensure it’s Whole30 compliant if following the diet.

A bowl and pot of healthy zuppa toscana on a table with a white cloth.

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📖 Recipe

Overhead photo of a bowl of healthy zuppa toscana next to a pot of the soup.

Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Recipe

Bethany Galloway
Craving a bowl of your favorite Olive Garden soup but want to keep it wholesome? Enter our healthy Whole30 Zuppa Toscana. This dairy-free, hearty soup packs all the flavors of the classic Italian Zuppa Toscana, but with healthier ingredients that align with the Whole30 lifestyle. Best of all, it's straightforward to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights or cozy weekends.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 486 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 6 strips bacon chopped
  • 8 large garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced (red, white, or yellow)
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 medium russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/4″ thick pieces
  • 1 kale bundle stems removed and chopped (6 cups)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Homemade Whole30 Hot Italian sausage:

  • 1 pound ground pork or chicken, turkey, or ground meat of choice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes omit if you want a milder soup
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ground sage

Instructions
 

  • Begin by adding the chopped bacon to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. When the bacon is finished cooking, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon leaving behind any bacon grease. Place it on a paper towel-lined plate, and set aside.
    Bacon cooking in a dutch oven.
  • Sauté the fennel seeds in the bacon grease for one minute, and then add the rest of the ingredients for the Whole30 Italian sausage to the pot. Cook until it’s browned, about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat as you go. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it onto a paper towel-lined plate (a different plate from the bacon).
    Browned sausage on a grey plate with paper towel and a slotted spoon.
  • Add the diced onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. You can add a little water if they start to stick to the pot.
    Sautéing onions in a dutch oven.
  • Add in the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
    Sautéing onions and garlic in a dutch oven.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and water, and bring it to a boil.
    Adding broth to the vegetables in the dutch oven.
  • Add the potatoes and cook for about 12-14 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork.
    Adding potatoes to the soup in the dutch oven.
  • Add in the sausage and kale and bring everything to a light boil. Push the kale under the broth so that it can wilt slightly.
    Adding kale to the soup in the dutch oven.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.
    Adding coconut milk to the soup in the dutch oven.
  • Season to taste, garnish with the crispy bacon pieces, and enjoy!
    Overhead photo of a bowl of healthy zuppa toscana next to a pot of the soup.

Notes

  1. Consistency: If you find your creamy soup a little too thick, don’t hesitate to add a bit more chicken stock or water to thin it out. Conversely, if it’s too watery for your liking, let it simmer a bit longer to reduce and thicken.
  2. Spiciness: If you or your family prefer a milder soup, consider reducing the amount of red pepper flakes in the sausage mix. For those who love an extra kick, feel free to add more!
  3. Coconut Cream: If you’re seeking an even richer consistency, you can scrape out the coconut cream from two cans of coconut milk instead of using 1 whole can of coconut milk. Just keep in mind that coconut cream has a more pronounced coconut flavor, which might come through in the final dish.
  4. Keto and Low-Carb Options: To make this healthy Zuppa Toscana keto-friendly, all you have to do is swap out the potatoes for a low-carb vegetable. My go-to’s are turnip (rutabaga), cauliflower florets, or diced radish. You could even try broccoli instead for something a little different!
  5. Slow Cooker Instructions: To make this in a slow cooker, brown the bacon and sausage in a pan first, then transfer all the ingredients (except the bacon pieces, coconut milk, and kale) to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir in kale and coconut milk before serving, and garnish with the bacon.
  6. Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Instructions: To prepare Whole30 Zuppa Toscana in an Instant Pot, start by using the ‘Sauté’ function to cook the diced bacon. Remove the bacon and brown the sausage. Once browned, add the diced onion and garlic, sautéing until soft. You can add a little water if they start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Then, add the chicken broth, water, and potatoes. Secure the lid, set the valve to ‘Sealing,’ and pressure cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Once done, release the pressure manually. Switch back to the ‘Sauté’ mode, add in the kale, and stir until wilted. Finally, stir in the coconut milk, season to taste, and serve with crispy bacon on top.
  7. Storage Instructions: Once cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Properly stored, the soup will last for up to 4-5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheat it gently on the stove or in a microwave until warmed through.
  8. Freezing: Portion the cooled soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags, leaving about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. Label it with the date and contents, and store it in the freezer. The soup should retain its best quality for 2-3 months but can remain safe to eat beyond that. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then warm on the stove.
  9. Freshening Up Leftovers: If you’re serving the soup a day or two after making it, consider freshening it up a bit. You can add a handful of freshly chopped kale or sprinkle some fresh crispy bacon on top. A drizzle of your favorite olive oil or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can also elevate the flavors of the reheated soup.

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 19gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1449mgPotassium: 1168mgFiber: 6gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 5549IUVitamin C: 59mgCalcium: 191mgIron: 4mg
Keyword dairy-free zuppa toscana, easy, fall, healthy zuppa toscana, quick, whole30 zuppa toscana, winter
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