This Whole30 healthy Zuppa Toscana is rich and creamy, spicy, and absolutely bursting with flavor. You’ll love this filling, Whole30 soup anytime, but especially during cold, wintry months. Dairy free, gluten free, grain free, and sugar-free, this is one of the best Whole30 soups out there and my favorite healthy soup!
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Healthy Zuppa Toscana (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free)
We started a recent Whole30 with this soup, and I have to say: we did it right. I even posted a snap (?) on Instagram, lamenting how oh. so. hard. it is to do a Whole30, with lots of crying emojis… I’m subtle.
In previous rounds, I tired quickly of large slabs of animal protein, so I knew I had to shake things up a bit this round. And leading a group Whole30 and Facebook support group (join us!) means coming up with new and delish recipes to keep things interesting.
Et voilà, my friends, the Whole30 Zuppa Toscana. Who isn’t a fan of the creamy, spicy soup at your favorite Italian-food chain, laden with potatoes and kale and bacon and Italian sausage and “ohhhh boy”. Especially during the winter, my cravings for creamy, filling soups multiply like four-hundredfold, so we find ourselves in a tricky spot.
A spot where you’re 100% committed to doing a strict Whole30, but you really, really want Zuppa Toscana.
Why this Whole30 healthy Zuppa Toscana recipe is so good:
- This Whole30 soup is rich and creamy like traditional Zuppa Toscana but totally dairy free.
- It starts with an easy but delicious Italian sausage recipe, made from scratch! But don’t be nervous – it’s super quick and couldn’t be simpler.
- The combination of coconut milk, kale, potatoes, Italian sausage, and bacon make this healthy Zuppa Toscana super filling and a one-pot meal.
This Whole30 Zuppa Toscana is based on a regular Zuppa Toscana recipe, subbing simple ingredients for the dairy, grains, and sugar. I recommend making your own Italian sausage, which is insanely easy, but you could use compliant storebought Italian sausage, too, of course. Make sure you use compliant bacon if you’re on a Whole30, as well. It can be tricky to find bacon that doesn’t have sugar in it, but Whole Foods has a few brands of that, as well.
I have a tendency to be super hungry on the Whole30, like eat. all. the. things., but this soup kept me super full all night. I might have had to bite my knuckles to get past my craving for Glutino pretzels on tap, shoveled into my face during our nightly screenings of Boardwalk Empire, but it wasn’t from hunger, that’s for us.
That, my friends, is a habit that, I have to say, I kind of still miss. Baby steps, fam. Baby steps.
- If you avoid potatoes, try cauliflower florets in place of the diced potatoes. You can even try celery root!
- Try ground chicken in place of the pork, if you prefer or don’t eat pork.
- If you’re allergic to coconut or are worried it might have a “coconutty” flavor, swap the coconut milk out for cashew cream. Combine 1 cup raw cashews with 3/4 cup water in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Don’t overcook the soup after you’ve added the kale. You want it bright green and just wilted.
- Make a big batch of this Whole30 healthy Zuppa Toscana on Sunday and eat it all week. Comfiest meal prep ever!
- Leave out the extra 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes in the soup if you’re sensitive to heat.
Make your Italian sausage: combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands. Alternately, simply pour all ingredients into a large pot and mix with a spoon while browning. Brown the sausage in a large heavy-bottomed pot, preferably a Dutch oven, breaking up with a spoon or spatula. Remove from pot, drain, and set aside.
Fry bacon until crisp and remove with a slotted spoon. Don’t get rid of bacon grease! Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add coconut milk and sausage; stir until smooth. Add in kale and bacon and cook until kale is bright green and just wilted.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup
- Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Soup (Whole30)
- Bruschetta Chicken (Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb)
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Whole30 Zuppa Toscana
- 4 slices Whole30-compliant bacon cut into about 1/2″ pieces
- 1 pound Italian sausage made from below recipe or storebought
- ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 medium yellow potatoes about 1 pound 3 ounces, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced, about 4 cloves
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ bunch kale stems removed and leaves chopped, 4 cups
- 1 can coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade Whole30 Italian Sausage
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground fennel seed optional
- pinch dried oregano
- pinch dried thyme
- If making Italian sausage: combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Alternately, combine all ingredients in the saucepan and stir well when browning.
- In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed medium pot over medium heat, add Italian sausage and sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over. Use a spoon to break up the pieces. When browned and cooked through, drain and set aside.
- Cook the bacon pieces in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the crisp bacon and set aside – don’t get rid of the bacon fat! Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the onions and garlic, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 10-20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk and the cooked sausage; heat through. Add the bacon and the kale into the soup just before serving and cook ’til the kale is bright green and softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe was originally published in January 2017 but was updated with step-by-step photos, video, and tips August 2018.
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.