This Vegan Zuppa Toscana has a rich and creamy garlic broth and is packed with hearty sausage, potatoes, and kale. A simple yet cozy and delicious soup!
I would always look forward to “soup sundays” growing up. My mom would whip up a large pot of veggie soup and some homemade bread; she would either go with a creamy milk base or a tomato base, and I was always partial to the former.
Maybe that’s why I love this Vegan Zuppa Toscana so much. It’s both nostalgic and new – a creamy, garlicky broth loaded with potatoes, vegan sausage, and a little kale for good measure. This plant-based Olive Garden copycat is just as indulgent and delicious, and both vegans and non-vegans will be lining up with spoons in hand 😉
INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION
Zuppa Toscana is an Italian phrase that simply means “Tuscan Soup.” The Tuscan version of this soup usually includes white beans, lot of veggies, bread, and bacon. This version is a copycat recipe of the popular Olive Garden variation – a creamy, rich soup loaded with white potatoes, sausage, kale, and lots and lots of garlic (read: a whole head).
This soup is naturally gluten-free, and is easily made vegan with a few simple swaps! I used a plant-based sausage and oat milk to make the soup nice and creamy. I’m not a fan of most vegan bacon substitutes, so instead I opted to add some liquid smoke to the broth to give our soup a smoky, meaty flavor.
A note on potatoes – I highly recommend using russet potatoes here – they are a bit starchier, and break down some to make the soup even more creamy. If you prefer waxier potatoes, use yukon gold potatoes instead.
HOW TO MAKE ZUPPA TOSCANA SOUP
You don’t need any fancy blender or extra equipment for this recipe, other than a large pot and a stovetop. Simply brown your aromatics, add the broth, and simmer until everything is creamy and tender!
- Sauté the onion and sausage until browned, then add in the garlic.
- Toss in the potatoes, broth, water, and liquid smoke. Simmer until the potatoes are tender and stir occasionally.
- Stir in the kale and non-dairy milk. Serve warm, topped with vegan parmesan.
I love to top my vegan Zuppa Toscana with an extra crack or two of black pepper, and have a side of toasted crusty bread on the side for dipping. If you love garlic you will love this soup – it’s packed with spicy garlic flavor, but it’s not too overwhelming thanks to the oat milk and kale, which mellow it out a bit.
A steamy bowl of this soup can cure any rainy (or snowy) day blues – it’s truly a hug-in-a-bite and I love how it’s both comforting and wholesome.
COOKING TIPS + FAQ:
- Can I use vegetable broth instead? Yes you can – this recipe is traditionally made with chicken broth which is why I prefer to use an imitation vegan flavor, but it’s still delicious with veggie broth too!
- What can I use instead of sausage? I highly recommend using a softer (meatier) vegan sausage for this recipe as it adds a lot of hearty texture and creaminess. That being said, you could also use a seitan or wheat-based sausage and finely dice it up, or even use white beans or lentils instead! I recommend adding extra oil and spices to compensate for the flavor lost from the sausage. See the recipe notes for more details!
- Can I make this spicy? I used a spicy flavored sausage so did not need to add any extra spice, but you can always amp up the heat by adding crushed red pepper flakes to the broth with the garlic in step 1!
- Storage: this soup will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze this soup in jars or airtight containers for up to 2 months. The potatoes will break down slightly upon defrosting, but they are still enjoyable!
This Vegan Zuppa Toscana has a rich and creamy garlic broth and is packed with hearty sausage, potatoes, and kale. A simple yet delicious soup for the coziest of chilly days!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegan butter
- 14 ounces (400 g) Spicy Vegan Sausage – see notes
- 1 head garlic, minced (about 10 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cups (950 mL) vegan imitation “chicken” broth (or sub vegetable)
- 5 cups (1.2 L) water
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 3–5 russet potatoes (790 g), quartered and thinly sliced
- 6 cups (120 g) chopped kale, stems removed
- 1 cup (235 mL) full-fat oat milk*
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Vegan Parmesan, to serve (optional)
- Aromatics: Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the sausage and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to break it up. Add the onions along with a pinch of salt and black pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add the garlic and nutritional yeast and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Make the Soup: add the potatoes, broth, water, and liquid smoke to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to medium-high and boil the soup for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Make it Creamy: Reduce the heat to medium low, but maintain a simmer. Add the kale and oat milk and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the kale is tender. Turn the heat off and season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
- Serve: top with vegan parmesan (if desired) and serve warm. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Vegan Sausage: I used the Impossible spicy breakfast sausage and it added a LOT of flavor! I would recommend using a “soft” vegan sausage (Impossible or Beyond Meat) as it adds a lot of creaminess to the broth. I don’t find the Beyond Italian sausages to be as flavorful as Impossible, so I would add up to 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning if you choose to use them. You can also replace the sausage with cooked lentils or cannellini beans and add the Italian seasoning as well, for a more plant-based option!
- Oat Milk:oat milk can be replaced with another creamy milk, like full-fat coconut milk or a homemade cashew milk. Unsweetened vegan whipping cream would also work well here.