Healthy Zuppa Toscana (DF, GF)

This Healthy Zuppa Toscana features loads of veggies including carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale. This creamy, hearty, and delicious soup is naturally gluten free and dairy free.

We’re borrowing flavors from the beloved Olive Garden® original – Zuppa Toscana soup, and boosting the nutrition.

Why Is It Called Zuppa Toscana?

“Zuppa Toscana” is translated to “Tuscan soup” or “Tuscan-style soup” which is full of veggies, potatoes, beans, and spices. So, while this is certainly not an authentic Tuscan-style soup, it’s a more nutritious “copycat” of Olive Garden’s® famous Zuppa Toscana.

Overhead image of healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup

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Try out this Healthy Zuppa Toscana recipe, which is part of our collection of favorite soup recipes. Click here to see all the recipes in the collection.

Healthy Zuppa Toscana

This slow cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup is a favorite in my home. And, when we’re in a time crunch, this Easy Zuppa Toscana is our go-to (ready in less than 30 minutes!) dinner.

One of the most common questions I get about those two recipes is how to make the soup without dairy. And another frequently asked question is how to make it a little more nutritious. So, a few weeks ago, I set out to create a more nutritious version, and ended up with this recipe. To say we’re totally hooked would be an understatement–this soup is delicious!

In this recipe, we leave out the bacon, increase the amount of veggies, swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes, and replace the heavy cream with coconut milk. It’s naturally gluten and dairy free, but certainly not lacking any flavor!

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While the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to be sure they weren’t processed in a facility with gluten.

Process shots-- images of the oil, carrots, onion, and sausage being added to a pot

Making Zuppa Toscana Healthy spirit Tasty

While I’ve swapped out many of the ingredients for slightly more nutritious options, the one ingredient I couldn’t find a swap that was worth it for the flavor trade-off is the sausage.

Yes, Italian sausage is higher in fat and sodium, but it also provides essential vitamins, minerals, and a good amount of protein per serving. I don’t recommend any substitutes for the sausage, as the flavors are very integral to the soup especially with all the other healthy swaps we’re making. Italian-style sausage made with ground turkey comes close, but I have to say, in this recipe, you need the real thing.

Process shots of Healthy Zuppa Toscana-- images of the flour and chicken broth being added to a pot

Healthier Zuppa Toscana Tips

  • Use robustly flavored chicken stock or broth. The more flavor in the broth, the more flavor in the soup! We love Swanson® chicken broth (not sponsored) best in this skinny version of Zuppa Toscana.
  • Healthy Zuppa Toscana has no bacon in it, which is why we add in some smoked paprika. You’ll get that hint of smoky flavor without any bacon.
  • We tried this soup with almond milk, and definitely preferred it coconut milk. You can make it with milk or cream, but it will no longer be dairy free.

Process shots--images of the sweet potatoes, kale, and coconut milk being added

Managing the Sweetness

This Healthy Zuppa Toscana is on the sweeter side due to the sweet potatoes and coconut milk. To balance out the sweet, the recipe calls for adding a touch of red pepper flakes along with smoked paprika. Using spicy sausage is another way to add some heat which will nicely balance against the sweet.

If something other than coconut milk, use half-and-half or heavy cream instead of the coconut milk. (Soup will no longer be dairy free). (I wouldn’t consider this soup to be overwhelmingly coconut flavored, but you can taste the coconut.)

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We highly recommend using full barrel coconut milk for the best flavor and texture in this soup recipe. Lite coconut milk doesn’t thicken as nicely and won’t result in the rich full flavor that regular coconut milk provides. Plant-based milks like soy, oat, and almond milk are a bit too thin for this recipe.

Up-close overhead image of the Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup, ready to be enjoyed

What To Serve With Zuppa Toscana

More Nourishing Soup Recipes:

Healthy Zuppa Toscana

This Healthy Zuppa Toscana features loads of veggies including carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale. This creamy, hearty, and delicious soup is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.

Healthy Zuppa Toscana

This Healthy Zuppa Toscana features loads of veggies including carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale. This creamy, hearty, and delicious soup is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.

Instructions

  • VEGGIES AND SAUSAGE: Add oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in diced onions and carrots. Sauté 5-7 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Press to the edges of the pan. Add Italian sausage to the center of the pan. Season to taste (I add 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper) and add smoked paprika along with red pepper flakes (if using). Cook, crumbling as you go, until browned. If there is more than 1 tbsp grease, drain off excess (See Note 4).

  • THICK: Add minced garlic and sprinkle flour over everything. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Very gradually add in the chicken broth, while stirring, and scraping the bottom of the pan. Once all broth is added in, add in sweet potatoes and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low (cook at a gentle simmer). Cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

  • KALE: Remove the lid and add in shredded kale and coconut milk; stir through. Simmer until kale is wilted, another 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat, ladle into bowls and use a microplane to grate a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top if desired (Parmesan cheese has dairy). Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sausage: This soup is on the sweeter side due to the sweet potatoes and coconut milk. To balance out the sweet, we add a touch of red pepper flakes along with smoked paprika. Using spicy sausage is another way to add some heat to balance against the sweet. That said, if you don’t like spice, use mild sausage– but note the soup will be on the sweeter side. If using sausage in casings, remove from casings first.
Note 2: Coconut milk: We highly recommend using full barrel coconut milk for the best flavor and texture in this soup recipe. Lite coconut milk doesn’t thicken as nicely and won’t result in the rich full flavor that regular coconut milk provides. While not overpoweringly coconut-flavored, it certainly is present. If you don’t enjoy coconut flavor, use half-and-half or heavy cream instead (soup will no longer be dairy-free).
Note 3: Parmesan cheese: This is a totally optional topping, so leave it out if you need this soup to be dairy-free. If using, we recommend grating the Parmesan cheese with a micro plane, which gives it a great texture and allows the cheese to melt beautifully into the soup.
Note 4: Grease: Drain off all but 1 tbsp of the sausage drippings. At the end of preparing this soup, if there is still too much leftover grease for your liking, allow the soup to cool for 15-20 minutes. The grease will rise to the top and you can gently skim it off the top.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 16g | Dish: 41g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 1410mg | Potassium: 946mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 25854IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 5mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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