Vegetarian Zuppa Toscana, Skinny Zuppa Toscana, Southen Style Zuppa Toscana

{Southern Style} Skinny Zuppa Toscana

My family loves soup. One of our favorites is Zuppa Toscana. I recently made Skinny Zuppa Toscana & shared it in my Instagram stories – lots of friends asked about it so I thought I’d share my recipe for a Vegetarian Zuppa Toscana with a Southern Twist (of course).

Everyone knows this soup made famous by The Olive Garden. But let’s talk about what makes it Tuscan? Some say it’s because of the bread you eat with it but I think it’s more because of the veggies that go into it.

The vegetables we’re most used to having in Zuppa Toscana are kale, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, sometimes carrots, celery, & zucchini. Even though most recipes call for certain specific vegetables, originally the soup was meant to be made from whatever is in season or what you already have on hand. That makes it great for using up extra veg or even leftovers.

It’s also packed with protein from Italian bacon or Italian sausage, and cannellini beans. A touch of cream or milk added at the end of cooking makes it extra rich.

To make it “skinny” vegetarian Zuppa Toscana, we’ll just leave out the Italian sausage/bacon. Or, if you wanted to make it even more Southern than I do, you could substitute some hometown Chappell Hill Sausage (it is the absolute best)!

Speaking of Southern… clearly we don’t live in Italy. We live in Houston, TX – the biggest small town in the US. Also very Southern because:

  1. It’s hot. Really hot. Most of the year ’round.
  2. We are super friendly – you’ll never meet a stranger here.
  3. We love great food – especially when it’s home grown – & love to share it with everyone!

Interestingly, most of the veggies in true old school Zuppa Toscana that were picked straight from Italian gardens grow very well here too! And any that don’t can easily be substituted with some that do.

That’s why this is my Southern Style Skinny Zuppa Toscana! It’s super easy to make in just 1 pot & 30 minutes!

Good Luck Soup - A Playful Black-Eyed Pea Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
A fun take on a quintessentially Southern dish!

Any of the ingredients can be substituted & you can add any additional vegetables you like.


  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • a handful of your favorite greens - I used kale + mustard + turnip
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (or use fresh)
  • broth (vegetable or chicken) or water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 lb turkey necks or sausage, cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
  • salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning to taste


  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepot, heat olive oil or butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onion & celery & sauté until the onion is translucent - about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, & Cajun seasoning. (IF you are adding additional veggies, do it in this step.)
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic & sauté for a minute or 2. DO NOT let the garlic get charred.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes, peas, & rice. Add enough liquid (broth or water) to cover. "Scrape" the bottom of the pot to incorporate all the flavor & seasonings.
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat the medium low. Simmer until peas & rice are mostly tender.
  6. Add the greens & simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Taste & adjust seasonings.

Serve hot and enjoy!


  • Using meat will add to the cook time. Turkey necks may add up to an hour.
  • If you are adding turkey necks, do it in before you add the peas & rice. They will need to simmer on medium heat for at least 30 minutes before you continue with the rest of the recipe. Another option is to cook them separately.
  • If you are adding sausage, do it in step 6 with the greens.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 701mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g

I am not a nutritionist or dietician. Please consult one or your doctor if you are on a special diet. These numbers are auto-generated based on the ingredients in my recipe.

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