November 16, 2019

Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup (Dairy-Free, Paleo, + Low Carb Option)

This Whole30 Zuppa Toscana is a healthier copycat version of everyone’s favorite Olive Garden soup. Dairy-free, Paleo, and made with only real-food ingredients, this hearty soup is full of flavor and so simple to make. It’s perfect for a quick dinner and reheats well for an even easier lunch. This creamy and cozy Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup is sure to be your new favorite!

Zuppa Toscana: A Healthier Paleo Copycat of Your Favorite

Who didn’t love Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Soup growing up? True story – I used to love Olive Garden as a kid. Their soup, salad, and breadsticks combo was my absolute favorite along with their chicken alfredo. Oh my gosh, I just could not get enough.

This soup is a healthier Paleo copycat of my old favorite. It’s packed with flavor from Italian sausage, crisp bacon, and plenty of fresh garlic. Even though it’s dairy-free, this soup is still creamy thanks to full-fat coconut milk and a special secret ingredient that I love to use as a thickener when making Whole30 versions of classic comfort food.

Watch How to Make This Recipe

I’m also sharing my best tips to make a lower carb version of this soup while still keeping it hearty and so delicious. Keep reading to learn how to make this yummy Whole30 version of Zuppa Toscana Soup!

sausage, garlic, and onions in pan

What to Look For When Buying Whole30 Italian Sausage

If you are doing a round of Whole30 and need to ensure that this soup is strictly Whole30 compliant, it is important to read your labels.

Carefully read the labels on the Italian sausage, bacon, and chicken broth before you purchase them. Sugar is usually a common ingredient in bacon and Italian sausage so you want to make sure to double check before grabbing these items.

soup in pot with wooden spoon

Zuppa Toscana Without the Cream: How to Make This Dairy Free Soup Creamy

You might be surprised to know that this dairy free soup is still creamy without the use of heavy cream. While heavy cream is traditionally used in classic zuppa toscana, this version uses one of my favorite ingredients, full-fat coconut milk keep the soup Whole30, Paleo, and dairy-free.

If you have never used full-fat coconut milk before, it works as a great dairy-free substitute for heavy cream. You can typically find full-fat coconut milk in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store. It will be unrefrigerated and sold in a can.

You can buy both full-fat and light versions of canned coconut milk. For this recipe, be sure to grab the full-fat version. The full-fat variety is thicker, creamier and works perfectly in this soup.

sausage and potatoes in pot

My Secret to Thickening This Soup – Arrowroot Starch

The other secret to creating a creamy dairy-free zuppa toscana is one of my favorite ingredients to work with when creating Paleo and Whole30 recipes – arrowroot starch.

Arrowroot starch is a Paleo and Whole30 compliant starch that can be used as a substitute for cornstarch or flour when you need to thicken soups and stews. This recipe calls for a few tablespoons of arrowroot starch to thicken the soup just a bit and make it nice and creamy.

If you prefer your zuppa toscana to be less thick and have thinner broth, you could use less arrowroot starch or leave it out altogether.

kale in pot with wooden spoon

Need a lower carb option? Make this Zuppa Toscana with Cauliflower!

I love the hearty potatoes in this soup, but if you need a lower carb option you can also make this healthy zuppa toscana soup with cauliflower florets instead of diced potatoes.

Here are a couple of things to note when making this Zuppa Toscana with Cauliflower:

  • Depending on the size of the cauliflower florets they will likely need a bit less time to cook and become tender. Check the soup after 15-20 minutes of simmering to see if the cauliflower florets cooked through.

  • Cauliflower releases water as it cooks, which may make the soup a bit thinner. If you want the soup to be a bit thicker, you can make a slurry with a tablespoon of hot water and arrowroot starch and stir that into the soup to thicken.

I hope you absolutely love this Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup. If you make it, can you do me a favor? Snap a picture and tag me on social media so that I can see and share! I love seeing what y’all are creating in your kitchens!

zuppa toscana soup in bowl with someone placing a spoon on the side

More Delicious Soup and Stew Recipes

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

Easy Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

Healthy Chicken Taco Soup

Loaded Cauliflower Soup

Print

Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup (Dairy-Free, Paleo, + Low Carb Option)

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 4 strips Whole30 compliant bacon, diced
  • 1 pound Whole30 compliant Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/21 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 4 cups diced russet potatoes
  • 32 oz Whole30 compliant chicken broth
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups curly kale

Method

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced bacon to a large stock pot and cook until crispy. Stirring occasionally.
  2. When the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pot. Drain the bacon on paper towels and then set aside.
  3. Remove all but two tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pot. Next add the Italian sausage to the pot. Brown the sausage and break it up as it cooks.
  4. When the sausage is brown, add the diced onion, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper to the pot. Let everything cook for a few minutes until the onions start to become tender, roughly five minutes.
  5. Next sprinkle the arrowroot starch over the meat mixture and stir until well combined. Then, add the diced potatoes and chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for around 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  6. When the potatoes are tender, add the coconut milk and kale to the pot. Simmer until the kale is wilted. Lastly, stir in the crisped bacon and then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

!!
  • My favorite Whole30 Italian Sausage is Pederson Farms. Just be sure to check the labels before purchasing.
  • I used a full teaspoon of red pepper flakes in this recipe and it definitely had a kick to it! If you don’t care for spice, you can feel free to lower the amount of red pepper flakes or leave them out altogether.
  • Three tablespoons of arrowroot starch gave this soup the perfect amount of thickness in my opinion, but if you want a thicker soup, you can add a tablespoon more of arrowroot starch.
  • Be sure to use full-fat canned coconut milk for best results.

Keywords: Whole30 zuppa toscana, zuppa toscana soup, paleo zuppa toscana soup, healthy zuppa toscana soup

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Recipe rating

    99 comments
  1. This was a delicious gluten free + dairy free soup option. I try new soups constantly and this one is a keeper! Thanks for a great recipe, Ashlea.

  2. This is a staple in our home and we fight for the leftovers! By far the best zuppa toscana recipe I’ve seen out there and is so quick, easy and tasty. I cannot recommend this recipe enough. I make it year round no matter the weather it’s so so good. Trust me, TRY THIS!

  3. Zuppa is my favorite soup. I haven’t had it since I went dairy free last October. I was so happy to find a copy cat version that I could have. My sister made it for us before we took the kids Trick or Treating. It was as good as I remember!!! Only wish I had been the one to make it so that I could have more than one night of it 🙂 Plan to make it for the family. Will cut down on the salt per my own personal preference.

  4. This has become one of my go tos every winter. The minute the temperature drops below 70 this is in my first batch of soup season soups.

  5. This soup is so delicious! My husband keeps going on and on about how good it is! I used 2 T tapioca flour instead of arrowroot and it turned out perfectly!

  6. This gets a 10/10! A perfect easy weekday meal that is so good even my 4 & 6 year olds asked for more. Substituted diced prosciutto instead of bacon because that is what I had at home. Will keep this in heavy rotation

  7. This is my favorite soup recipe of all time! I love how savory it is. It’s so good that I can’t not believe it’s dairy free and that I made it.

  8. I’ve been making this soup for a solid year from the screenshot of an IG post on Whole30 Recipes. It’s legitimately my favorite soup, and my husband’s too. It’s actually the only way he’ll eat kale, and strangely, he always requests extra. I figured it was time to track down the original recipe and leave a review, something I never do, because I love it that much. Thank you for bringing this into my life.

  9. This recipe’s become a go-to for me when I’m craving soup! I love the combo of coconut milk and starch to do a little thickening without getting a coconut flavor. Plus, it’s filling and pretty easy to throw together. Highly recommend! 🙂

  10. This is by far the BEST zuppa toscana I’ve ever had! It’s become a staple in our home and I’m asked to make it several times a month! You don’t even miss the cream or cheese. Trust me, you have to make this!

  11. I made this tonight, and it didn’t disappoint! It is SO delicious, and it’s the perfect comfort food soup for a rainy night in Atlanta. I already can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow!

  12. This was very filling, flavorful and rich in flavor. I added an extra cup of broth to make a larger quantity. This would be perfect soup for a cold winter dinner! Thank you for another great recipe!

  13. This soup was absolutely amazing!!! Really easy to make and I can’t wait to make it again!

  14. Great recipe! It’s so nice being able to come to a website that regularly posts gluten free/dairy free recipes. Accidentally bought low fat coconut milk from the store, but the recipe still turned out well. Had it with some gluten free biscuits and will definitely be making this again!

  15. This was so good! I was surprised at how creamy and flavorful it was with clean ingredients. Even the kids liked it! Will definitely make again.

  16. This soup was delicious! So flavorful. And easy, once I got everything prepped. I couldn’t find Whole30 compliant Italian sausage, so I used ground pork and added spices. It was still dang good. This is the first time I’ve been excited to have leftover soup for lunch.

  17. This soup is so rich, so hearty, so delicious! Perfect for these winter months, and no worry about lactose intolerance with this one. Telling all my friends!

  18. Delicious!! I skipped the bacon and subbed spinach for kale and it still came out great!! I loved how creamy and thick it was – perfect for the cold winter week ahead. Thank you!!!!

  19. This soup was delicious and so easy to make! I added cilantro to the recipe because it’s my fav and it exceeded my expectations. I will be trying more of the “things” soon!

  20. This was DELICIOUS and made great lunch leftovers too! I have loved every recipe I’ve made of yours– thank you!

  21. Absolutely loved it! My wife loved it, and she’s not a soup person lol, but she said I could make it whenever because it was that good!

  22. This soup is delicious! Flavour is perfectly balanced, the kale is scrumptious, and the broth is the perfect thickness. This has been added to our monthly rotation!

  23. This soup was delicious. It was so hearty and so filling. I was nervous about using coconut milk. I’m not a huge fan of its taste and was worried about the sweetness in this soup. I used it anyway and I’m so glad I did! My husband had no clue the soup was dairy free!!

  24. This is so so good. My husband LOVED it. So flavorful, hearty, and comforting. My only call-out would be that it was on the saltier side – next time I would start w/ 1 tsp of salt and then season a bit more to taste if needed. I also diced my potatoes a bit small (~1/2- 3/4″) so they were already tender around the 20-minute mark. Will definitely be making this one again and again!

  25. This was so good! The liquid is so flavorful. I loved mixing cauliflower and potatoes, and adding lemon to the bowl!

  26. I’ve used a different whole30 zuppa toscana recipe and this one turned out so much better!

    Also, I made mine in the instant pot. After adding broth and potatoes sealed at high pressure for 10 mins. Released steam then added kale and coconut milk. Perfect!

  27. Oh, my goodness! This hearty soup was out of this world delicious! Look forward to making again this winter.

  28. This is a staple – I make it all the time! I usually either ditch the bacon and it’s still amazing.

  29. This recipe is delicious and reheats really well! My husband said it is his new favorite. This is definitely a weekly staple!

  30. So good! I made it with spinach instead of kale because it’s what we had and will be making again 😍😍

  31. Made this to eat for lunch all week. It’s the perfect recipe for chilly weather. It’s delicious, flavorful, filling and I don’t miss the dairy.

  32. This soup is so good!! My husband doesn’t like kale so I subbed spinach. This soup is a new regular!

  33. Such a great recipe. We made it with Swiss chard instead of kale, because that’s what was on hand, and it was delicious! Perfect soup for a cozy winter night at home.

  34. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! So creamy and flavorful. To take it to the next level of “healthy”I skipped the bacon, and used lentils instead of potatoes. It was amazing. I ate two bowls no problem! I think next time I’ll use the bacon just to see the difference, I can only imagine it will be even better. Thanks for sharing!

  35. This soup is absolutely perfect. I made it with cauliflower (instead of potatoes) and coconut milk. I only got one serving before my boyfriend gobbled the remainder!!! Definitely added into the permanent rotation.

  36. this looks so good, do you have any recommendations for using a different kind of meat that also goes well? Thank You!

  37. So good! I did turkey sausage because that’s what the store had and it turned out amazing. A real crowd pleaser with my friends.

  38. Seriously delicious! I wanted more liquid so added a few cups of water then upped the spices. Will definitely be adding this to the rotation!

  39. This is my husband’s favorite meal now! He’s pretty picky and quite the cook himself, so it’s high praise that he loves this soup so much he requests it almost every week.

  40. Hello! If I only have regular flour should I use the same amount called for as the arrowroot? (Not aiming to be Paleo or Whole30 compliant). Thank you!

  41. My very picky 26 year old son loves this Olive Garden soup so I made it for him and dropped it off. He called me and said “I have to give credit where credit is due. I like this better than Olive Garden”.

    My son will go to any length to NOT compliment me, so this is a huge props to this recipe!🤣🤣

  42. This is one of my go-to soups during quarantine. I make it at the beginning of the week and use it for lunches all week! The whole fat coconut cream is a must! And all the red pepper!

  43. This breathes fresh new energy into my whole30s! Oh my gosh it is the BEST dang Zuppa I’ve ever made! The consistency is perfect and the flavors are amazing! Even if you arent doing a whole30, you must make it!!

  44. I just made this. #CookinginQuarantine and it came out fantastic. The coconut milk really made it so rich and creamy yet bellyache free! Thanks for another fantastic recipe.

    • Thank you so much for your kind review, Geri! I’m so happy you loved the recipe and that it left you feeling good, too! Sending you lots of love!

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