Zuppa Toscana (or as I like to call it, “Bomb Soup” – abbreviated from “That bomb soup you made that one time,”) is literally my favorite thing in the world to eat. The first time I had it, my mother made it, and it was incredible. It is a flavor explosion on your tongue. Sweet, salty, spicy, creamy, brothy, decadent, comforting… it’s everything you could ever want in a soup.
Traditionally made using mild sausage and spinach and not nearly so much heavy cream, I have adapted this recipe into a keto friendly, low carb dream. Paired with an italian salad, it will fill you up and send you off on a night long journey of peace and at-one-ness with the world.
Keto Adapted Zuppa Toscana
(This recipe feeds 6 hungry adults)
Produce: 1 medium size head of cauliflower 1 large white onion 4 cloves of garlic 3 cups chopped kale
Meat: 1 pound italian sausage (mild or hot) 3/4 cup crumbled bacon
Liquids: 2 cans of chicken broth 4 cups (1 quart) of water
Spices: 2 tsp. red pepper flakes (1 tsp for milder soup) salt (to taste, but start with 1-2 tsp) pepper (also to taste)
Dairy: 2 tbsp. butter 1.5 cups heavy cream
Add 4 cups of water and 28 oz. of chicken broth or stock, along with 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes to a medium or large size stock pot over low/medium heat. (If you have a low tolerance for heat, you have a couple of options. You can either wait to add the red pepper flakes until you’re almost finished, or you can cut it down to 1 tsp. and add it at this point.) While your broth base is heating, mince 4-5 cloves of garlic and dice one large white onion (I’ve found that the red onions become slightly bitter in this soup), and add to your broth.
The original recipes call for potatoes, which you can use here, but I actually LOVE this soup with cauliflower, so I encourage you to skip the carbs and try it out. Remove the leaves and stock from your medium size head of cauliflower. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the entire cauliflower into approximately 1/8” thick slices. Trim or pull apart slices into spoon sized pieces. You can use the tender part of the stalk here are well. Add to the broth and allow to heat through and tenderize.
While the cauliflower is softening up, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a nice, large sauté or frying pan, and take your pound of Italian Sausage (I like to use spicy, but you can go mild, it’s still super delicious)- remove casings if you’re using linked sausage, and brown over medium/high heat. When the sausage is about 2/3 of the way cooked, add 3/4 cup of pre-cooked crumbled bacon (this lazy cook likes to use the pre-cooked crumbles from Costco- so easy- but feel free to cook and crumble your own bacon) and finish browning. Add entire contents of the pan into your broth, including the yummy yummy grease. Stir well. (This is when the magic really starts to happen.)
Chop the kale up into spoon size pieces. I like a lot of stuff in my soup, and use around 3 cups of kale. (A note about kale choices: I have used several different types of kale in this soup. Kale stands up amazingly to cooking, and I find the texture far preferable to the traditionally used spinach. Plus it has the added benefit of being a super food! I have found that the flatter leafed varieties tend to hold their crispness better than the frilly leafed varieties. Use whichever you prefer, they’re all delicious.) Add the kale to the soup pot, along with 1.5 cups of heavy whipping cream. (The higher the fat content, the better. I prefer to use 40%. Again, Costco.) Allow soup to warm through. Add salt and pepper to really make the flavor sing.
And voila! You’re ready to serve. Soup is HOT, so make sure you blow on it. lol.
Suggested pairing: Green leaf salad with bacon, pepperoncinis, shredded parmesan and sliced black olives, dressed with your favorite Italian dressing.
Click here for a printable version: Keto Adapted Low Carb Zuppa Toscana (PDF)
Bear in mind, this information reflects MY ingredients. Your nutrition info may vary slightly depending on what ingredients you use.