This 5-star Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup is a lightened-up Whole30 version of the popular Olive Garden favorite. Each bite in this dairy-free Zuppa Toscana soup includes lean Italian turkey sausage, creamy potatoes, and hearty kale; it’s delicious and better than the restaurant version.
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I have mentioned this before, but I worked as a waitress at the Olive Garden long ago (in another life). Those were fun times filled with lots of salad, breadsticks, and yummy food.
Pasta Fagioli, Healthy Baked Ziti, Healthy Chicken Parmesan, Healthy Fettucine Alfredo, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Turkey Meatballs, and Healthy Artichoke Spinach Dip are healthier copycat versions of my favorite Olive Garden recipes. And you’d never know these are lightened-up recipes because each one is delicious.
Today, I’m sharing a Whole30 and Paleo version of the popular Zuppa Toscana.
Reasons you’ll love this recipe.
- Easy to prepare. Everything goes into one soup pot!
- Nutritious. This healthy Zuppa Toscana soup is filled with lean protein, high-fiber kale and potatoes, and a dairy-free creamy base made without heavy cream or half and half. It’s also gluten-free Paleo, Whole30, and, with a couple of swaps, Keto-friendly.
- Delicious! This copycat Zuppa Toscano consistently gets 5-star ratings from readers! It’s super tasty without all of the fat and calories.
- Make-ahead. This creamy potato sausage soup can be made on Sunday for the week or frozen for a quick lunch or dinner later on.
Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make a pot of this tasty, healthy Zuppa Toscana soup. For the full instructions, see the recipe card.
- Italian turkey sausage. You can either purchase ground Italian sausage or poultry links. If you get links, then remove the casing before using the sausage in the recipe.
- Onion and cloves of garlic. The starting foundation for this healthy Zuppa Toscana.
- Dried basil, oregano, and thyme. This seasoning blend adds the perfect layer of flavor to this soup. You can also use a teaspoon of this homemade Italian seasoning mix.
- Crushed red pepper flakes. This gives the soup a nice spicy kick.
- Potatoes. A classic Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana soup uses russet potatoes. However, Yukon gold potatoes, also called yellow or butter, are my favorite to use in this soup recipe. I’ve used both many times, and I prefer yellow over russet because they have a creamier buttery texture. Russets tend to get grainy. However, both will work.
- Unsweetened coconut milk. Instead of heavy cream or half and half, I used unsweetened coconut milk. It adds the perfect creaminess to this soup without the extra saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Use the coconut milk found in the dairy section not the canned coconut milk.
- Fresh kale. You can purchase cleaned and chopped kale bags from the produce section to save time. If you buy whole kale leaves, then clean the leaves thoroughly and remove the stem before chopping. You can also use frozen kale. Here are my instructions for freezing kale if there are leftovers.
How to Make Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup
Start by heating olive oil in a large soup pot on the stove top and cook the Italian sausage over medium-high heat until it is no longer pink. Use a large spoon or spatula to break the sausage into small pieces as it cooks. Because you’re using poultry sausage, you won’t need to drain any grease.
Add the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes to the sausage and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion and garlic start to soften.
Stir in the potatoes, chicken broth, and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Then reduce to a simmer over medium heat until potatoes are fork tender – this takes about 15-20 minutes. Give the soup a taste, and then add in the salt.
Stir in the kale and cook for another 15 minutes or until the kale is tender. Season with more salt and black pepper if needed. Serve hot!
This Whole30 Zuppa Toscana soup is a meal in itself, but if you want some different sides, then try these ideas:
- Gluten free Caesar salad or another green salad.
- Roasted broccoli, Italian roasted veggies, or roasted asparagus.
- Leave the skin on the potatoes. I’ve made it both ways, and both are tasty. Make sure to clean the potatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
- Adjust the spice level. If you like a spicier soup, add extra crushed red pepper flakes. You can also control the spice by using either mild or hot Italian poultry sausage. Remember that using hot Italian sausage, you might not need crushed hot pepper flakes. It depends on how spicy you want the soup.
- Adjust the consistency of the soup. If the soup seems too thin, mash up some potatoes to thicken it up. On the flip side, if it starts to thicken up as it sits, you can stir some chicken broth to loosen it up.
My Favorite Soup Pot!
- If you don’t want to use kale, then baby spinach, Swiss chard, or other greens will work fine as a substitute.
- You can also use almond or other non-dairy milk, but coconut milk provides a creamy texture; the others don’t. Or swap in dairy milk or half and half if you don’t need a dairy-free soup.
- To create keto-friendly Zuppa Toscana recipes, swap in cauliflower florets for potatoes.
- For extra flavor, add in bacon or pancetta. Cook 4-6 slices of bacon, remove it from the pan, and set it aside. Crumble it once it cools. Drain most of the bacon grease, cook the sausage, and continue with the rest of the recipe. After the soup cooks, stir in the bacon, saving some to sprinkle on top.
- Instead of turkey sausage, you can use pork sausage, ground chicken, or ground turkey. Of course, keep in mind this will change the soup’s flavor.
- Bulk up the veggies. You can add celery, carrots, and other vegetables to this soup.
Zuppa Toscana gets better by the day, so it’s a great soup to make on Sunday for lunch or dinner all week. Or freeze it to have dinner ready for later on.
For the week. After the soup cools, place it into an airtight container and refrigerator for up to 4 days. I like to use individual containers to keep portions under control and also so I can quickly heat and eat.
For the freezer: I’ve frozen this Zuppa Toscana recipe numerous times. I’ve never had a problem with the coconut milk separating or curdling.
After the soup cools, place it into containers leaving an inch from the top for expansion. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I also love to use Souper Cubes 1-cup portion silicone trays to freeze this and other soup recipes. You can get more tips in my how-to-freeze soup tutorial.
More Healthy Soup Recipes
If you are looking for a couple of more healthy and delicious soup recipes, take a look at this list:
- Cheeseburger Soup
- Buffalo Chicken Soup
- Pizza Soup
- Healthy Potato Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Healthy Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Chicken Tortellini Soup
See all of my healthy soup recipes.
Healthy Zuppa Toscana
- 5 1/2 quart dutch oven or soup pot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground Italian turkey or poultry sausage or 6 links with casings removed
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 lbs yellow or russet potatoes skins removed and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups chopped kale
- salt and black ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and cook the italian sausage until no longer pink. As it's cooking use a spoon or spatula to break into small pieces.
- Add the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes to the sausage and cook that for 5 minutes or until the onion and garlic start to soften.
- Stir in the potatoes, chicken broth, and coconut milk and bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are soft – this takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Give the soup a taste, and then add in the salt.
- Stir in the kale and cook for another 15 minutes or until the kale is tender.
Did you make this recipe?
Have you tried this Healthy Zuppa Toscana Recipe? I can’t wait to see it! If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny.
I am not a stellar cook, but I successfully followed this recipe. THIS IS DELICIOUS. Will make again, for sure. I subbed out the kale and used spinach instead, and it worked beautifully. Thank you for this!
Tammy Overhoff says
Yes I’ve made it with spinach too! This is one of our favorite soups for sure!
cheryl ODonnell says
This is the best of both worlds…glad you shared a healthier version. So good. Thank you!
What is the serving size for the 310 calories? 1g doesn’t make sense.
Tammy Overhoff says
Sorry, Serving size is about 1 1/4 cups. I will fix that.
Suzanne Kiser says
This is one of my husband’s favorite soups – it’s #1 in his soup rotation! But I just noticed the recipe now says coconut milk. Any particular reason for the change? I’ve always just used the milk I have on hand which is usually 2%. Would coconut milk change the taste?
I made this tonight and it is great! I used Jennie-o Italian ground turkey instead of turkey sausage and added some fennel and Italian seasoning while it was cooking. I used Yukon gold potatoes because I had them on hand and used extra kale to get it out of my fridge. Also used whole milk. I’ll absolutely make this again – my partner loved it, too. Thanks for posting!
Tammy Overhoff says
That’s great! So happy you loved this zuppa Toscana soup recipe. We love it too!
Suzanne K says
I’ve made this several times for my husband but just noticed tonight the recipe talks about the kale and salt twice. Looks like you included steps 4, 5 and 6 in step 3. Might want to give that an edit to reduce confusion. Excellent recipe – thank you!
Tammy Overhoff says
Thanks so much! I just made that adjustment.
Southern Agenda says
We have been making Zuppa Toscana since my daughter worked for Olive Garden over 10 years ago. She took a copycat recipe and just kept experimenting. My daughter now uses sweet potatoes in her version and more red pepper. I use an entire bag of kale usually and never use cream. I save my calories for chocolate ❤️
This was my first time using this recipe. I needed to use up the greens growing in my garden before I lose them to our freezing temps. I followed it completely, but used COLLARD GREENS and it turned out fabulous! #itsakeeper #comfortfood
Tammy Overhoff says
That’s great! I’m so glad you loved it!
I’ve made this so many times for different family members and they’ve all loved it!
However, I don’t have milk on hand right now and I want to make it before my mom gets home, can I add the milk in at the end and heat it up?
Tammy Overhoff says
Yes that will work. And I’m so happy every loves this soup, it’s one of our favorites too.
Kimberly N Riefstahl says
Easy to make and so delicious!! This is a wonderful recipe.
Tammy Kresge says
This is one of our favorites too!
Can coconut milk be used instead of the 1%? Very sensitive to dairy but would love to make this soup.
Tammy Kresge says
yes I’ve substitute coconut milk in MANY soup recipes and it works great. I even use it in mac n cheese and nobody notices.