This creamy and hearty Vegan Zuppa Toscana is super comforting, and the perfect easy fall or winter dinner recipe. If you’ve ever had Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, then this recipe should look familiar! This vegan & vegetarian soup is a copycat version of Olive Garden’s. It’s packed with flavorful Italian (vegan) sausages, smoky vegan bacon, and hearty & healthy kale. It’s all simmered in a creamy, savory broth that has a delicious spicy kick to it!
Why You’ll Love this vegan Zuppa Toscana
This homemade vegan Zuppa Toscana is extra creamy thanks to a generous helping of vegan butter, flour, and some plant milk.
Served with a chunk of rustic bread, this vegan & vegetarian soup makes a hearty and cozy fall dinner. It can actually also be made with just one pot, making clean-up a breeze.
This may be a vegan version of Zuppa Toscana but it’s totally omnivore approved, so picky meat-eaters won’t even know it’s veggie-friendly. Good luck eating just one bowl!
what is zuppa toscana?
The literal translation of “Zuppa Toscana” is Tuscan Soup. While the name suggests that this soup may have Italian origins, Zuppa Toscana is actually a very Americanized recipe that the restaurant Olive Garden created. This recipe that I’m sharing today is a vegan and vegetarian copycat version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It does have a great Italian-inspired flavor but isn’t the most authentic Italian dish. This soup is loaded with russet potatoes, kale, vegan sausage & bacon, and a creamy flavorful broth.
The Vegan Ingredients
This easy vegan Zuppa Toscana recipe only uses 11 ingredients plus some salt and pepper. To make this zesty healthy soup, you’ll need to gather the following pantry friendly ingredients:
- Russet Potatoes
- Vegan Butter
- Chili Flakes
- Vegan Sausage
- Vegan Bacon
- Veggie Stock
- Non-Dairy Milk
- Plus salt & pepper
the best dairy free milk
A lot of vegan soup recipes use canned coconut milk to make the soup creamy. While full-fat coconut milk will work perfectly fine in this recipe, it will have a distinct coconut taste. I personally prefer using dairy-free milk that is more neutral in flavor but still creates the creamy texture I desire. In this recipe, I’m opting for unsweetened plain soy milk.
Below are some of my favorite plant milk alternatives to coconut milk:
- Unsweetened Plain Soy Milk
- Plain Almond Milk
- Cashew Milk
If you’d like, you could also make cashew cream to add to the soup. To do this, blend 3/4 of a cup of soaked cashews and 1/4 cup of water until very smooth.
Then, add as much cashew cream to the soup as you’d like. I didn’t end up adding this to my soup since I felt it was perfect as is. But that being said, some people prefer creamier soups. So if that sounds like you, this may be a great add-in!
the best vegan sausage and bacon
There are so many different types of vegan ‘meats’ on the market now! I used two specific products, listed below, in this soup, but you could substitute in your favorite brands.
The Vegan Sausage:
For the vegan sausage, I ended up using Tofurky’s Plant-Based Italian Sausage. This product is great because it’s already packed with tons of seasoning, which means we don’t have to add as much to the soup. The texture is also really nice and holds up great even the next day after sitting in the broth overnight.
If you don’t have access to Tofurky Sausage, you could substitute it with another vegan brand. Beyond Meat’s Hot Italian Sausages would be delicious. Field Roast also makes delicious vegan and vegetarian sausages.
The Vegan Bacon:
For the vegan bacon, I used Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon. This product is made with vital wheat gluten and is flavored with smoky hickory, sage, and garlic. Trust me, this plant-based bacon adds an IMMENSE amount of savory, umami flavor to this soup.
If you’re not a fan of vegan meats and you’d like to omit these two ingredients, I recommend adding a good helping of Italian seasoning to taste.
how to make zuppa toscana
When I tell you this soup is super easy to make, I’m not joking! All you need is one pot and you’re good to go. Below are the main steps for making this Zuppa Toscana:
- In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add 1 tbsp of the vegan butter. Add the diced vegan sausage and red pepper flakes. Brown all sides (about 5 minutes).
- Remove the sausage from the pot. Then, add the vegan bacon strips. Brown for 3 minutes. Remove them from the pot.
- Deglaze the bottom of the pot with ½ cup of water (you could also use dry white wine if you have it). Let the water simmer mostly away, then add the remaining 4 tbsp of vegan butter.
- Once melted, add the onion and garlic. Saute until translucent, about 5 mins. Sprinkle on the flour and stir. Cook the flour for 2 mins.
- Add the diced potatoes, then cover the potatoes with the vegetable broth and simmer covered for 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
- Next, add in the salt, pepper, 2 cups of dairy free milk, chopped kale, all of the pre-cooked vegan sausage and ½ of the vegan bacon. Simmer for another 10 minutes uncovered.
- Use the remaining ½ of the bacon for serving. Enjoy hot with some rustic bread.
Substitutions & Add Ins
This soup is a great way to use up produce in your fridge, so even if you don’t have the exact ingredients, you can use what you have on hand. Below are some substitutions you could make or ingredients you could add in if you’d like:
- White Beans: cannellini beans or white beans are often a traditional ingredient in potato, sausage, and kale soups. They have a lovely texture and add some protein as well.
- Spinach: if you don’t have kale, no worries! You could substitute in spinach.
- Collard Greens: again, if you don’t have kale, you could use collards instead.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: if you don’t have russet potatoes, feel free to use another type like Yukon Golds.
You can keep this soup in an air-tight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.
It may thicken up more after the first day and from being stored in the fridge, but you can thin it out with a little more veggie stock or dairy-free milk. Good to go!
Tips and Tricks
For this recipe, I like to use Tofurky Italian Sausage. It holds up great, even after simmering. But you could use your favorite brand of vegan sausage instead.
Non-dairy milk that is unsweetened and neutral in flavor works best in this soup. I prefer plain unsweetened soy milk. You could also use plain unsweetened almond milk. While you can use coconut milk or other kinds of dairy-free milk with stronger flavors, I’ve found that they overpower the other flavors.
Adding flour and dairy-free milk to the soup helps thicken it up a good amount. If you’d like your soup even creamier, you can also add in some cashew cream.
If you like your vegan soup extra thick and creamy you can add a bit of extra flour to help thicken it.
Instead of 3 tbsp of flour, you could add in a full 1/4 cup of flour.
Keep in mind, this soup will also continue to thicken as it cools down.
Looking for more vegan soup recipes?
- The Best Vegan “Beef” Stew
- 30 Minute Vegan Potato Leek Soup
- Roasted Sweet Potato Carrot Soup
- Easy Vegan Ramen
- Creamy Vegan ‘Chicken’ Gnocchi Soup
- Panera Copycat 10 Vegetable Soup
- Italian Pastina Soup
Did you make this Vegan Zuppa Toscana? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
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