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:
Serve alongside an easy salad. My favorite is my Easy House Salad or Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette.
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:
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Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana (Paleo, Whole30)
This simple Zuppa Toscana that comes together effortlessly with 10 minutes of prep! 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.
- 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.
Milinh Montanez says
I used to order this soup whenever we went to Olive Garden. I’m so happy to see a healthier version of it! But what kind of sausage do I use? Mild/sweet turkey Italian sausage or spicy turkey Italian sausage?
I change it up each time I make it. Either type of sausage works great!!
I just used plain turkey. You really don’t need to use sausage because of the fennel.
Making this for the second time tonight. LOVE! So delicious.
YAY!! So glad you love it, it’s one of my favorites too!
Missy Malacarne says
I just want to tell you how much I LOVE this soup! I have been following a Paleo diet for about 2 years and this is definitely the BEST Paleo soup I have ever made! It tastes just like the Olive Garden version but it’s way healthier for you! My teenage daughter who recently joined me on my Paleo diet had 3 bowls of this soup the night I made it and has been taking it to school for lunch everyday since:-)
I only recently found your website and am so excited to make more of your recipes! I made the Morning Glory bread earlier this week and that was wonderful as well!
Thanks for all the great recipes!
Thank you, Missy!! So glad that you are enjoying the recipes 🙂
I’m going to try this with rice milk as my daughter is allergic to every other dairy alternative. Hope it still is yummy.
I’m going to try this with rice milk as my daughter is allergic to every other dairy alternative. Hope it still is yummy.
I made this soup in my brand new instant pot. I veganized it by using plant based sausage, vegetablebroth and coconut milk. All i can say is amazing!!!! This was my favorite soup when i ate the standard American diet and i am elated that i can still have it as a vegan.. Thank you!
Love these changes Rosanna! So glad it worked for you. Thanks for stopping by!
This is delicious! To cut the carbs, I used frozen riced cauliflower instead of potatoes. I added a little of the cauliflower prior to pressure cooking it, then added the rest during step 8.
Mmm – This is one of the best soups I’ve ever made!!!!
I used 2 instead of 3 potatoes, added peppers and carrots and an extra sausage link. I also accidentally added the red pepper flakes with the herbs and it added the perfect amount of spicy! I was a little hesitant to add the coconut milk since the soup was still very good without it but it definitely made it more flavorful. Can’t wait to make this again!
What is the fennel in this recipe? I was only able to find fennel seed at my local store.
Yes, it’s fennel seed!
Can the coconut milk/heavy cream be omitted completely, or will the consistency of the soup be largely affected? Just curious since it’s such a (comparatively) small amount and not an ingredient I typically have on hand! Thanks!
Yup! Can omit completely. Won’t have that creamy texture, but still yummy!
This was so good! I changed a few things.- I used spicy zesty sausage instead of Italian, and used spinach instead of kale. My husband hates kale and Italian sausage, so these substitutes worked well. Perfect for a cold day. Thanks for sharing
I could eat this every day!
How many calories are in one cup of soup?
Katie Allred says
Is Fennel Seed the same as Dried Fennel?
Yes, most brands will have the spice listed as fennel seed.
This is insanely good. I already can’t wait to make it again. Wow! Thank You!
Forgot to rate it- easily 5 stars!
Is this sausage like links? Or ground sausage?
It is ground sausage, but I usually get them in casing and cut it to get to the ground sausage (I use a ground turkey sausage).
Did you ever find the answer to this question? I was going to make this today and was wondering if I can use ground turkey?
Yes, you can!
I accidentally added the milk with the broth, do you think I ruined the soup?
No, it should be ok. Keep me posted!
Do you mean fennel seed? I cannot find dried fennel anywhere unless it’s seed form.
Yes! Some brands list as dried fennel or dried fennel seeds, either one.
Our neighbor kids just came in from playing in the snow and this pot of soup was devoured in minutes… with rave reviews! We used Italian sausage from our local butcher shop and it was incredible. Thank you for sharing your recipe! I’m curious why the crock pot version calls for straining the grease but the Instant Pot does not? I’m new to the Instant Pot and have noticed most recipes don’t call for straining the grease and can’t find anything that clarifies the reasoning. I did strain it this time. Thanks again!
Erin waidzulis says
What guidelines are you using for serving size? I made enough for 6 servings, is that 6-1 cup servings?
Yes, it’s an estimation of about 1-1.5 cups of soup.
Katie Gregg says
So yummy! Making it again!
Yay, Katie!! Thanks so much for commenting, glad you loved it.
1 tablesooon of crushed red pepper flakes seems excessive! Is that a typo?
No, I like a lot of crushed red pepper! You could always tame it down, but when I add that much to the whole pot, it doesn’t add too much spice. My kids don’t complain, and they are usually my official gauge when it comes to spice.
Hello, I love and follow your recipes, and I’m glad you doscovered the onsta pot.but for crock pot peopke like me, your recipes are great, my husband loves your beef stroganoff, which without cream was a feat. I love your crock pot recipes. Please don’t forget about us.
Should I use regular coconut milk or canned coconut milk? Will it ruin the soup if I use canned?
It’s supposed to be the full fat canned!!
I’m obsessed with this recipes. Best soup I’ve ever had!
Love to hear that!!
Katrina l Radley says
This recipe is incredible. I don’t really taste the coconut milk, the sweet potatoes are cooked perfect and it makes enough for two people to have leftovers. Really savory and filling. My husband loves the zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden and he says this is even better. Thanks!
Jenny Ward says
Can this soup get thrown in the freezer?
Yes, but I have only done it without the addition of coconut milk. It may not work as well with the frozen coconut milk.
Brittany matthews says
Hi! What brand of whole 30 sausage did you use ?
Hi Brittany, I get my sausage from my local Earth Fare grocery store. Their house made sausage is compliant!
I saw the comment about omitting the coconut milk if a portion is being frozen- can you add the coconut milk once it’s thawed and reheat?
Just made this soup in my instant pot – it’s lovely! It’s 28 degrees outside and this dish is the perfect thing to eat while snuggled up on the couch.
Is there a recommended turkey or chicken sausage to make it Whole30?
My local Earth Fare store does a housemade Sausage, and I use that. Just check to make sure the ingredients are only spices and herbs. No fillers, preservatives, or sugar!
Kerry Clemetson says
Do you have the nutrition facts on this soup by any chance?
Yes, just updated the recipe. Nutrition facts are in the Notes section!
These flavors are amazing!! The fennel is wonderful:)
Jen L says
Ending day 2 of Whole30 with this soup- it’s delicious!
Delicious! Thank you.
This was absolutely delicious! I subbed spinach for kale because I need more iron in my diet (did 20oz), and used diced radishes instead of potatoes for
Less carbs. BUT, all the aside, it’s the flavor of the broth and spices that makes this delicious. Thank you!
This is delicious – even better the second day! I would recommend draining the sausage in the IP, because I had a lot of fat on top when I went to reheat it. I didn’t change anything. I’m not a fan of coconut anything but used it anyway. You can’t taste the coconut milk at all.
If you refrigerate, you can always remove the solidified fat the second day!
Hello! This looks so good, but my husband and daughter don’t like regular potatoes. Would this work with sweet potatoes?
Yes! You could also sub cauliflower florets 😉
This just wasn’t a hit for our family. Flavors weren’t great and my kids didn’t like it either.
Portia Davenport says
Love this recipe!!!! I made the Insta pot version and it came out perfectly. I had to swap kale for spinach and Italian sausage for Andouille. It was delicious! My step son barely touches anything that isn’t a processed food, but he ate this and got seconds. Woot woot!
I’m excited to try this! I got it in the crockpot a little later than I meant to, so I was wondering if I could turn it on high and cook it for less time. Thanks!
Amy Rains says
You might, the problem is usually the potatoes! Let me know how it works out.
This soup is AWESOME. I have made it several times in the past month. It is a great big HIT.