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Five Monsters Whole30 Zuppa Toscana

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Our paleo/Whole30 version of a warming, cozy, Italian-inspired favorite.

whole30 zuppa Toscana

For the printable recipe PDF click here.

You don't have to spend long on Pinterest to know "healthed up" versions of creamy, delicious zuppa Toscana soup abound.

Zuppa Toscana is Italian for Tuscan soup. I can't tell you how traditional it is to Tuscany, but I can tell you it was a family-favorite Olive Garden soup for me and my peeps before our paleo days. Endless soup, salad and breadsticks, anyone?

This is the version we've been making ever since our first Whole30 several years ago. It's nothing novel, but it sure fills the belly well when the air starts to get nippy--and it gets picky monsters eating their kale!

Yes, kale soup CAN be kid-friendly! In fact, creamy broth, crispy bacon, hearty potatoes and zesty Italian sausage might just make it down-right irresistible for the whole family.

Whole30 zuppa Toscana -v- traditional zuppa Toscana

Traditionally this creamy soup would be enriched with heavy cream.

For our dairy free version of "healthy zuppa Toscana," we'll leave out the wheat flour and heavy cream in favor of rich and creamy canned coconut milk. Coconut cream is even, well, creamier, but I find it also tends to have a stronger coconut flavor, which might not be what you want in an Italian soup.

If you're concerned the coconut flavor in the coconut milk will be too strong, you may want to add some extra garlic powder or a little bit of finely minced garlic to the mix. I find the stronger the garlic presence, the less detectable the coconut. The coconut flavor also tends to be considerably muted the next day after all the flavors have had longer to meld.

You could, of course, use something like almond milk instead, but I generally find nut milks to be less creamy than coconut milk, especially canned coconut milk.

Selecting your ingredients

Let's talk potatoes: I prefer to use Yukon gold potatoes in this zuppa Toscana recipe for a couple of reasons. First, they are easier to work with and do not need to be peeled. Secondly, the monsters and I find their creamy, silky texture super-pleasant to bite into in this chunky soup. If you like creamy potatoes, gold potatoes or even waxier red potatoes are the way to go!

My husband, on the other hand, prefers russet potatoes for two reasons. First, they are cheaper. Secondly, their starchiness can help to thicken the broth, enhancing its creaminess. Personally, I find their mealiness a little unpleasant in this application, but it's good to know your options.

Speaking of options, you could some swap in some sweet potatoes to vary up the color and nutrient profiles. Or for a low carb, more keto-friendly soup recipe, you could swap out all the potatoes with cauliflower florets. Or do a mix of all three to keep things interesting!

For the Sausage: We like to make our own Italian sausage mixture with ground turkey and a homemade Italian seasoning blend, but it doesn't have to be turkey sausage. any Italian-style, Whole30 compliant sausage should work.

This hearty soup will have a creamy-yet-brothy texture and mouthfeel. If you want to thicken it up a bit more, transfer some of the cooked potatoes and broth to a blender before returning the meat and adding the kale. Blend the transferred potatoes and broth till completely smooth, then stir back into the pot and add the remaining ingredients!

If you are a soup lover, we hope this delicious soup will be one of your absolute favorite things to turn to for Whole30s and beyond!

Here's what you'll need:

For the Italian sausage:

  • 1 lb 85% fat ground turkey

  • 1 T coarse kosher salt

  • 20 cranks black pepper

  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp dried parsley

  • 1 tsp basil

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 2 tsp fennel seeds

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

  • 1 T onion powder

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar

For the Zuppa:

  • 6 slices compliant bacon, chopped up

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (see above)

  • 5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1-inch (or smaller) chunks

  • 4 quarts homemade chicken stock, low-sodium chicken broth, or bone broth

  • 1 T coarse kosher salt

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp dried oregano

  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 6-8 oz chopped kale leaves

  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans full fat coconut milk

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Make the sausage: Place the ground turkey in a medium-sized bowl. Place the next 8 ingredients (salt-rosemary) in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and crush till the fennel seeds and rosemary have been ground down a good bit. Add the spice mixture, along with the remaining ingredients (onion powder-vinegar) to the turkey, and mix just until evenly distributed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

  2. Heat a very large stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until bacon is crispy and fat is well-rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a medium-sized bowl and set aside, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.

  3. Add the sausage mixture to the bacon grease and brown all over, stirring and breaking up large pieces as needed. Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the bacon.

  4. Add the chopped potatoes, stock, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes to the pot and bring just to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook till potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. Add the kale, coconut milk, and cooked bacon and sausage and cook on low heat for at least 5-10 minutes, just to let the flavors meld. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Whole30 Zuppa Toscana

For the printable recipe PDF click here.


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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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