If you’ve ever been to the Olive Garden, you know Zuppa Toscana soup: spicy Italian sausage, kale, and potato stewed together in a hearty broth. When I was growing up, The Olive Garden was my favorite restaurant. No lie, I loved it. And my favorite part was never the main courses, but their Zuppa Toscana soup (and the unlimited breadsticks, obviously).
Well, I haven’t been to an Olive Garden in years and even if I went, I couldn’t enjoy their sausage-filled soup because I’m a vegetarian now. But it’s getting cold here and I’ve been craving a decent soup so I decided to make a vegan version based on a recipe I had stashed away years ago.
Zuppa Toscana literally translates to “Tuscan Soup”. Other than that, my research yielded a lot of copycat Olive Garden recipes but little information on whether this soup actually originated in Tuscany. Regardless of where it came from, it’s delicious and easy to make, with only 8 ingredients and 1 pot. Let’s make it!
The secret to this soup is Field Roast’s Italian Sausage links. This is a vegan, soy-based faux sausage that tastes pretty close to the real thing and is packed with the same spicy flavors. And no, I don’t have any sort of marketing contract with Field Roast, I just really like their product. You’ll also need vegetable stock which is different from vegetable broth. Vegetable stock typically consists of carrots, onions, celery, and a few spices, but has a subtler flavor than broth. I used Engine 2 vegetable stock and was pleased with the result (no sponsorships here either). Finally, I used a combination of plant-based milk and olive oil to replace the heavy cream in this recipe. For the milk, I would recommend soy, almond, or anything with a mild taste but not something as bold as coconut milk.
Perhaps the easiest thing about this recipe was that I just added ingredients as I finished cutting them – it’s incredible how fast and stress-free this soup is!
Throw everything in the pot, and let it simmer until it tastes good to you. I found that after 30 minutes, the potatoes were tender but not too mushy – just right. Buon appetito!
Vegan Zuppa Toscana
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup plant-based milk
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound potatoes
- 1 pound Field Roast Italian Sausage, diced
- 4 cups baby kale
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 soup pot
- Combine the vegetable stock with milk and olive oil in a large soup pot and cook over medium heat.
- Peel the potato and slice into bite-sized pieces (about 1″ cubes). Add to soup as you finish.
- Add the sausage, kale, and spices.
- Let the soup simmer for at least 30 minutes. It’s ready when the kale is wilted and potatoes are tender.