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:
- It’s hot. Really hot. Most of the year ’round.
- We are super friendly – you’ll never meet a stranger here.
- 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!
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4-6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
- 1 small turnip, diced (optional)
- kale, about a handful
- mustard greens, about a handful or less (optional)
- 8 oz of diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
- vegetable broth or water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1/4 cup cream or milk, room temperature or scalded (optional)
- salt, pepper, Italian seasoning
- Parmesan cheese (optional for serving)
In a heavy bottomed saucepot, heat olive oil or butter over medium heat.
onion & turnip & sauté until the onion is translucent - about 2
minutes. Season with salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning. (IF you are
adding additional veggies, do it in this step.)
Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic & sauté for a minute or 2. DO NOT let the garlic get charred.
the heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes and just enough liquid
(vegetable broth or water) to cover the vegetables. "Scrape" the bottom
of the pot to incorporate all the flavor & seasonings. Let it simmer
for a few minutes before adding the potatoes & greens.
Add the potatoes, kale, & mustard greens at the same time. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Taste & adjust seasonings.
At this point, I like to smash a few of the potatoes - it helps to thicken the soup a bit.
Slowly stir in milk or cream, if you are using it.
Serve hot with crusty bread & parmesan cheese (opt). Enjoy!