I know we just stepped into summer, but soup is always present around here no matter the season. So I figured I might as well go ahead and share my healthy version of Vegan Zuppa Toscana with you already. I have a feeling you’ll also be enjoying it all year long as we do.
Better than the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana:
- This recipe features the incredible plant based Italian sausage from Beyond Meat. It’s pan seared in a little drizzle of olive oil the added back into the luscious soup made super creamy with a quick homemade cashew cream.
- I’m a huge fan of the simple things in life so a large enameled cast iron pot is all I need to make my kitchen go around. This soup however can also be made in the slow cooker, crock pot or Instant pot if you prefer to go that route.
Make It Without the Sausage, WFPB Recipe:
Think oyster or chanterelles, hen of the woods, shiitakes or simple button mushrooms will work too. For that authentic flavor that usually comes from the sausage seasonings just add a pinch of ground fennel and smoked paprika to your soup, works like magic!
What is Zuppa Toscana Anyway ?
- Technically the translation really means “Tuscan Soup”. The traditional recipe usually involves a mix of tomatoes, cannellini beans, carrots, celery and bread, in essence a Ribollita. For an authentic Italian recipe try my Tuscan White Bean Kale Soup and Italian Pappa al Poomodoro also known as Tuscan bread soup.
- The North American version made popular by the Olive Garden restaurant is made with Italian sausage seasoned with fennel, (use a cruelty free sausage like Beyond Meat), red chili flakes, onion, garlic, potatoes, kale and cream (make the dairy free cream recipe below or use a store bought kind alternative).
I made a rich thick cream using quick soaked raw cashews and water. You could opt for store bought dairy free cream or full fat coconut, almond or cashew milk instead. If you prefer your soup on the thicker side just blend one tablespoon of tapioca into the plant milk of your choosing before adding it to the soup.
- Is there a substitute for white wine ? You can just use a splash of veggie stock instead.
- Will my soup taste like coconut If I use coconut milk ? Yes, doesn’t matter what anyone says, coconut milk has a rich flavor and it will affect the taste. Just use the cashew cream recipe below instead, it’s super creamy and easy to make in your blender.
- How long does the Zuppa last ? You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or freeze in lidded containers up to 3 months.
- Love potatoes ? Make sure to try this potato pizza, paprika potatoes and our to die for scalloped potatoes.
P.S. If you make this recipe please come back here to rate it snap a photo and tag me with #VeggieSociety on Instagram, it always makes my day!
How to Make the Best Vegan Zuppa Toscana:
Vegan Zuppa Toscana Recipe
- 3 links Beyond Meat Italian Sausage sliced (or 24 oz mushrooms)
- 2 lb golden potatoes sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 7 cups vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup dry white wine or more stock
- 1 tsp olive oil optional
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1 leaf bay
- 1 tsp red chili flakes or to taste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 4 cups Lacinato kale chopped (sub with spinach or broccoli)
- 1 pinch ground fennel OPTIONAL
- sea salt to taste
Make the Cashew Cream:
- Start by soaking the cashews in hot water for 20 minutes while you prep your soup. Drain the soaked cashews then add them to a powerful blender together with one cup of filtered water and the tapioca. Blend until smooth and creamy. (The tapioca is totally optional, only use it if you prefer a thicker soup, it is very rich and creamy without it).
Make the Soup:
- Preheat a heavy bottom pot over medium flame. Add the olive oil and sausage and pan sear for a few minutes until golden brown. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and keep warm.
- Add the onion and red chili flakes to the sausage drippings and cook a few minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook until you can smell its fragrance then pour in the white wine.
- Use a flat wooden spoon and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the wine has evaporated.
- Add the sliced potatoes, thyme, bay leaf and smoked paprika then pour in the veggie stock. Bring to a simmer, add the nutritional yeast and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the potatoes have softened but still hold their shape. Check after 5 minutes and keep a close eye on them.
- A couple of minutes before the potatoes are ready add the chopped kale. Give everything a good stir then mix in the cashew cream. Simmer another minute or so until the kale has wilted and the soup is creamy.
- Add the cooked Beyond sausage back into the soup, adjust seasonings and serve hot with freshly cracked black pepper on top.
- To make this Zuppa Toscana whole food plant based compliant simply replace the olive oil with a splash of veggie stock and the Beyond sausage with 24 oz of your favorite mushrooms. Add a pinch of ground fennel to make up for the authentic Italian sausage flavor.
Instant Pot Method:
- Set your Instant Pot to the high sauté setting. Add the olive oil and Beyond sausage slices and sautee a few minutes until golden brown. Add the onion and red chili flakes and continue cooking until the onion is translucent. Pour in the white wine and scrape all the little brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
- Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and smoked paprika.
- Add the sliced potatoes, veggie stock and nutritional yeast.
- Select manual setting, adjust pressure to high and set time for 4 minutes. Once finished cooking quick-release pressure according to the Instant Pot manufacturer’s instructions.
- Meanwhile prepare the cashew cream then add it to the soup together with the kale. Cook one or two minutes until the kale has wilted.
- Adjusting seasonings to taste with sea salt and black pepper and serve.
- To make this soup lower in calorie you can use a mix of golden potatoes and cauliflower florets.
- If you prefer your soup thicker make sure to mix 1 tablespoon of tapioca with the cashew cream or whatever plant based milk you decide to use here.