This simple Zuppa Toscana that comes together effortlessly! You’ll love the creamy broth with Italian sausage, potatoes, and kale. Directions for both the Slow Cooker and Instant Pot so you can set it and forget it on a busy weeknight. 10 minutes of prep time is all you need! This soup also has a creamy dairy-free option making it Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 approved!
What is Zuppa Toscana?
Zuppa Toscana literally translates to Tuscan Soup. This classic Italian soup became well known in American thanks to Olive Garden! There are several ingredients that you may find in Zuppa Toscana: Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, beans, bacon, heavy cream, spinach, and more!
In this variation, I am lightening things up a bit and making it super simple in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. As a nutritionist, I want to be sure my recipes are nutrient dense, flavorful, and super easy! We are definitely doing that with this recipe.
I love soup as a filling meal. It’s a way to feel hydrated, full, and still pack in some veggies and herbs! This soup has definitely been huge hit for everyone in the family. Full of flavor and texture! Because of the Instant Pot, this soup can be made super fast for a busy weeknight meal.
What is in this healthy variation of Zuppa Toscana?
Here is what you will need to make this soup:
- Oil: for cooking the sausage. My preference is avocado oil because of it’s high smoke point
- Onion: for flavor, onions are also a great source of Quercetin, a powerful antioxidant!
- Garlic: I am always adding garlic to my recipes! I obviously love the flavor, but did you know it also serves as an antibacterial food?
- Sausage: to up the protein content and give us the Italian flavor, use Italian Sausage. Feel free to use turkey or pork sausage.
- Yukon gold or russet potatoes: I love how filling potatoes are, they are also a great way to add in fiber. If looking for a lower carb variation, you can substitute cauliflower.
- Chicken broth: can also use vegetable broth
- Dried herbs: basil and fennel
- Fresh kale: fresh kale really packs in vitamin C and K, and is a powerful antioxidant. Feel free to substitute with spinach.
- Coconut milk: This gives us that creamy decadent texture, and is a great way to up the fat content in a healthy way to make us feel satisfied. You can also use heavy cream or half and half in it’s place.
- Crushed Red Pepper: Just for a little spice and kick!
How to make Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana:
This recipe could not be easier. Whether you use the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot.
- We start by cooking the sausage, onion and garlic. This can be done in the Instant Pot on the saute function, or on the stovetop if using the slow cooker.
- You will then add broth, potatoes, and fresh herbs. Walk away and let your appliance do the work!!
- At the end we add in the kale, coconut milk (or heavy cream), and some crushed red pepper. That’s it you guys!!
Tips and Notes:
- Reheating: So far I’ve made this soup twice this past week. Once for dinner, and once to save a pot for us to enjoy as a grab and go lunch. It re-heats really well and tastes better even the next day.
- Coconut Taste: I did use coconut milk to give the soup a creamy texture. When I experimented with adding in a full cup, there was a pretty strong coconut taste. With only a half cup, the taste was really mild and added great flavor. If you have an aversion to anything coconut, I would probably recommend omitting it altogether. Some dishes I make creamy with coconut milk are completely unnoticeable, but this one you will be able to taste it. If you are not following a dairy-free diet, feel free to add in half and half or heavy cream. Maybe even sprinkle some fresh parmesan on top! My kids enjoy theirs with the parmesan.
Serving and Storing:
Can this be frozen? Yes, several readers have commented that they have had success with freezing and re-heating. If you are doing this, I would suggest adding in the kale and coconut milk after freezing, once you have re-heated.
Other Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Soups you will enjoy:
Here are a few of our favorites:
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana (Paleo, Whole30)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 medium sized yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb Italian Sausage can be turkey or chicken*
- 3 large russet potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried fennel
- 2 cups chopped fresh kale*
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk or heavy cream*
- 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Slow Cooker:
Heat up a large skillet or pan and add your cooking oil of choice. Add onion, garlic, and sausage. Cook for approximately 5 minutes (meat doesn’t have to be cooked all the way, but brown it). Drain any grease and place the sausage mixture in your slow cooker.
Top sausage with potatoes, herbs, and chicken broth. Set your slow cooker to cook on low for 4 hours. At the end of 4 hours, add in kale, cover lid and cook another 30 minutes.
Add in coconut milk or cream, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
For the Instant Pot:
Select the Saute function on your Instant Pot. Once hot, cover bottom of pot with oil of choice. Add chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add in garlic and sausage. Brown the sausage until cooked (about 5 minutes). Select cancel on your instant pot.
Pour chicken broth over the sausage, add in potatoes and herbs.
Secure the lid. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Use a quick release. Remove the lid and select saute function. Add in kale. Stir for a few minutes until kale begins to wilt. Add in coconut milk or heavy cream.
Season with crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
*If following a Whole30 diet, be sure to use sausage without sugar and artificial flavorings.
**The kale should be the large leaf curly kale (not baby kale). You want it to be extra crunchy before throwing it in the soup.
***If not following a dairy-free diet, you can add up to 1 cup heavy cream or half and half.