Zuppa Toscana

Creamy Italian Sausage SoupThis soup is similar to Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden restaurants, but mine has diced cauliflower standing in for potatoes.  I tend to use ground pork rather than Italian sausage, as I can control spices and salt doing that.  You just need to add oregano, fennel and garlic really.  But you can certainly substitute in commercial Italian sausage if you prefer for convenience.  It will almost DOUBLE the sodium and increase carbs though.   Just be aware of that.  This soups is delicious and we both gave it a resounding thumbs up.  It will make the rounds at our house.🙂

VARIATIONS:  Substitute 1/2 c. chopped parsley for the kale; substitute diced rutabaga for the cauliflower.

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6 slices bacon, cut into 3/4″ bits

12 oz.  lean ground pork, coarsely broken up to 1/2″ chunks

2 oz. onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1½ c. coarsely chopped kale (about 3 leaves after stemming)

3 oz. cauliflower, diced to ½”-3/4″ pieces

1 oz. pimiento (half a 2 oz. jar)

3 large mushrooms, sliced or cut however you like

4 c. homemade chicken broth (32 oz.)

1 c. water

1 c. heavy cream

Dash black pepper

Dash crushed red pepper

3-4 drops Tobasco hot sauce

¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves

½ tsp. fennel seed, crushed

DIRECTIONS:  In a large dutch oven over high heat, cook the bacon.  Add the pork, onion and garlic and saute until meat is no longer pink.  Lower heat to medium.  Add all remaining ingredients but the cream.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Add cream and simmer 5 more minutes.  Thicken with xanthan or gum if desired.   Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes six 1-1¼c. servings, each contains:

356 calories

30.5 g fat

5.51 g carbs, 1.08 g fiber, 4.43 g NET CARBS

15.6 g protein

865 mg sodium


6 comments on “Zuppa Toscana

    • I can buy it pre-ground at the grocery store. What I used in this was from my grass-fed beef supplier. He pasture raises his pigs and the ground I buy from him is a coarser grind but a little leaner than what I buy at the store. You could also grind your own chops or loin in a grinder (if you have one) or food processor. I have done that in a pinch.


    • The reason is for carb/calorie/nutrient accuracy in the nutritional information provided, Marty. Low-carbers, if they are serious about the diet, need to get a cheap scale at Walmart. They can be had for a song. The reason for using weights is that everyone has the physical ability to cram a different amount into the cup (when left in chunks or chopped is a wide variance, too) Therefore the carb count would be wrong in every single case unless bloggers used weights. Couldn’t tell you the amount in cups if I wanted to right now, as I have used up the head of cauliflower I had on hand.


  1. It’s going to sound weird, but plain little red radishes make an excellent alternative to potatoes in zuppa toscana. You don’t even have to peel them as most of the red leaves while cooking.
    The zuppa toscana soup was always a favorite of mine and one of the first I made sure to make my own tasty low carb version of. Your recipe has some fun additions that I’m going to have to try now too. So thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, they do indeed. Have used them, too. I’m just particularly fond of rutabaga. Today, when I created this for lunch, cauli was all I had on hand.😉


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