I have a confession to make. I’ve never had Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana But I know it’s popular and when I looked at the ingredients, I knew I could make it Zuppa Toscana keto friendly.
The basic soup is sausage, potatoes and kale in a creamy chicken broth. In true Tuscan fashion, it often has canellini beans (white beans).
How to Make Zuppa Toscana Low Carb
I simply replaced the potatoes with turnips and by the time they cook in the creamy broth, you actually think you are eating potatoes. I am not opposed to adding some white beans to this soup or pureeing beans to thicken instead of cream, but that would increase the carbs. I love the purple tops. Buy medium sized turnips, peel and do a large dice.
This is a soup you can make your own, adding in a can of tomatoes, interchanging the greens, and even replacing bacon with crispy pancetta. You get the idea!
How Turnips Replace Potatoes
Honestly, the turnips mellow and you think you are eating potatoes. If you do not overcook them. They have a wonderful texture.
I wasn’t sure I was going to like the bacon in the soup, but I made the bacon very crispy first and it held up greatly and added flavor.
While this is a simple soup, it’s still a balancing act. You must make sure the potatoes and or turnips and the kale are not overcooked, and make sure the bacon and sausage are well-cooked.
Thickening Zuppa Toscana
Here you have many options. You can use heavy cream like I did. I only used about 1/2 cup but I’ve seen recipes use 2 full cups. That’s too much for me, but you can feel free.
You can puree some cauliflower or white beans to serve as the thickener to avoid cream altogether.
I’m fussy when it comes to the Italian sausage and like to buy the Whole Foods house-made. I used the mild, but next time I would use the hot Italian sausage as the heat balances well with the cream.
What are the best greens for Zuppa Toscana?
Kale is my go to green for soups. It has more body, holds up better than spinach. I prefer the lacinato as opposed to the curly kale, but be sure to first remove those thick ribs in the middle. Kale is pretty fibrous, but will still break down and can become mushy if cooked for hours. I would only add it in in the last twenty minutes so it holds some body.
Did you know you can freeze kale so it’s always ready to throw into soup? Read about that here.
What broth makes the best soup?
I used two quarts of organic chicken stock from Costco. My other favorite brand is Whole Foods Organic Chicken broth. Homemade chicken stock is always a good choice.
What kind of grated cheese is best for soup?
Parmesan is always a good choice, but we prefer Pecorino Romano. Parmesan comes from cow’s milk; Pecorino comes from sheep’s milk. It is tangier and salty and pairs well with turnips and kale. Whatever you do, grate it fresh, and please don’t buy the green can. I cannot guarantee good taste using that.
More Soups from Spinach TigerPrint Recipe
Keto Zuppa Toscana
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 medium onion small dice
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 pounds Italian Sausage spicy
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 3 purple top turnips (or potatoes) peeled, large dice
- 1 bunch lacinato kale ribs removed, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup pecorino romano grated
- Slice bacon crosswise into small lardons (1/2 inch). Fry until crispy. Drain bacon. Set aside
- In separate pot that you will be making soup in, add olive oil.
- Add in chopped onions: sauté for two minutes stirring so onions don't brown, just soften.
- Add garlic. Saute, until almost golden, about one minute.
- If sausage is in links, remove and crumble into hot pan. Cook, stirring with wooden spoon until sausage is cooked through.
- Add broth to sausage. Add bacon back in.
- Add red pepper flakes.
- Add turnips and cook for about 30 minutes until turnips feel soft.
- In meantime, remove ribs from kale and chop. Add to soup for about twenty minutes. You don't want the kale to get mushy. It should still hold some body.
- Add in heavy cream, season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with Pecorino Romano.
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