When I was a little kid, the Olive Garden was my go-to special occasion restaurant. We’d go on my birthday or whenever I got As in my classes, and I’d always eat way too many of the unlimited breadsticks (which I’m pretty sure contain some type of addictive drug, and positive contain too much butter) and the Zuppa Toscana.
In fact, I always make a joke of the fact that I didn’t eat vegetables until I met Zack, but the kale in the Zuppa Toscana might’ve been my first foray into the produce world. Of course, it was swimming in cream and butter and hanging out with decidedly not grass-fed or pastured bacon and sausage, and it probably had way too much refined sodium. But still! Kale!
If you haven’t had the Zuppa Toscana at the Olive Garden, it’s okay: you’re not missing out, because I’ve created a far better, far healthier version that you can make super quickly and easily at home.
It’s savory, packed with veggies, and perfectly creamy (sans dairy, of course). Want to make it vegan? Just leave out the sausage; it’ll be just as good (and if you do choose to use sausage, please go for an ethically raised, pastured chicken version).
I hope you love this recipe! I’m so excited to cozy up with it all winter long. If you DO make it, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see and share!
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound organic, pasture-raised spicy chicken sausage (if vegan, omit and add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes at the end)
- 1 large yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2–3 cups diced red, new potatoes
- 2–3 cups diced cauliflower (from about 1 small head)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 4 cups veggie broth
- 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Red pepper flakes, to garnish
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high. Add sausage, breaking it apart into small pieces with a wooden spoon, and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate; don’t wash out pot.
- If you’re vegan, start here: add 1 tablespoon of additional olive oil to the pot. Add the potatoes, onion, cauliflower, and sea salt. Cook on medium-high until just brown, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, and thyme, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (these help make the soup delicious!). Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- Add the garlic (leaving it until this point makes it far more immune-boosting, which you can read about more in my cookbook), kale, and sausage (if using—if omitting, add those red pepper flakes now). Cook until the kale is bright green and wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 4; can be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days.