Vegan Zuppa Toscana Recipe : Olive Garden Copycat
This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission through those links at no additional cost to you. See our full disclosure here.
You and your whole family can enjoy one of Olive Garden’s most famous soups right at home with this gluten-free and dairy-free Zuppa Toscana recipe. This recipe can also be made in the instant pot. My recipe card for the Olive Garden copycat requires minimal effort, a speedy cooking time, and is so rich in great flavor that it’ll make you forget you’re not out to dinner at a restaurant.
Considering that Olive Garden is one of my personal favorite restaurants, my dinner guests can usually find a flavorful soup in store as an appetizer, and the instant pot Zuppa Toscana soup is often my go-to. Packed with so much flavor, it’s one of the easy instant pot recipes I know that can also be made ahead for a family meal which can be stored for months when frozen! I can’t deny that this may very well be one of my favorite soups.
Most of the ingredients for the pressure cooker Zuppa Toscana are common and inexpensive, yet the recipe still manages to be a fairly hearty soup. From heavy cream to dairy-free options like cashew milk, there’s plenty of room to adjust, add, or remove whatever you’d like. Here’s the recipe I use for the Olive Garden copycat of a Zuppa Toscana instant pot dish.
What Sausage Is Used To Make Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot?
For this delicious soup, I typically like to use Impossible Spicy Italian Sausage, but this can also be substituted for one pound of spicy sausage like mild Italian sausage, but for those who like a bit more heat, other meats that work just as well are spicy Italian sausage, chicken sausage, and Italian turkey sausage. Any hot Italian sausage really works well here; just remember to remove the casings!
What Produce Is Added To Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot?
Like so many of my other instant pot soup recipes, the copycat Zuppa Toscana calls for the use of diced russet potatoes. They’re so delectable in soups and cook so well in the instant pot. Keeping the skin on or peeling the potatoes before cooking is up to you, but I’ve found that if you keep the skin on, they hold their shape better.
This popular soup contains chopped kale with all of the stems completely removed. Some like to replace the kale with fresh spinach for the main green in this course, but I prefer the taste and the texture of kale after it’s been cooked. Spinach in this recipe ends up a little bit too mushy for my liking!
Lastly, to give this sausage soup a lovely flavor, you’re going to want to include 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 medium, diced onion. Other seasonings to perfect my copycat Olive Garden soup are red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt to taste, of course.
Are There Other Ingredients To Add?
Cooked, crumbled bacon is also a popular addition to the instant pot version of this Olive Garden Italian soup. Particularly, about 6 slices of bacon is often the recommended amount to include. Considering that bacon is amongst the more expensive grocery list items, you should note that the creamy soup is still a hearty treat without it!
Another great add-in to this instant pot Tuscan soup is one can (roughly 15.5 ounces) of cannellini beans. Simply drain the can’s liquid and pour the beans into your pressure cooker alongside the potatoes in Step 3. Cannellini beans give the soup such an irresistible taste; whenever I choose to include them, I find that, in my opinion, they’re nearly the best part of the experience and blend so well with spicy sausage!
How to Make Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot:
In short, now that we’ve deep-dived a little bit into what ingredients we’ll be using for my Zuppa Toscana copycat soup, let’s get started on the steps you’ll need to take to cook it.
- Start by washing and drying all your produce to ensure safety. Once everything is prepped and chopped, it’s time to switch on the instant pot, and you’ll want to do this by activating the sauté function on your slow cooker. Begin by adding a tablespoon of olive oil and start heating.
- Once the olive oil has been warmed (sub for sauteeing with water if you want to make this recipe oil-free), you can add the onion first, stirring frequently until it becomes translucent. Next, put in the ground sausage and break it apart as it cooks for 5 minutes. Stir in the roughly ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and garlic to the meat mixture. Depending on your preferred spice level, you can add more or less of the little chili flakes.
- From here, the sausage can be drained of its excess grease and then returned to the instant pot. Now, what’s this potato soup without its luscious potatoes? If this is your first time making zuppa toscana instant pot, you’ll likely love how great the cooked potatoes taste in it. Take 3 medium, diced potatoes and add them to your pot, plus 6 cups of chicken broth. If you’re using cannellini beans, you’ll add them in this step as well. Salt and pepper to taste.
- This step is extra important. Be sure to lock the lid into place and switch the valve over to “sealed”. Select “manual”, or otherwise written as “pressure cook”, and set a timer for a 15 minute cook time on high pressure.
- When the soup is done cooking, carefully turn to “venting” for a 10 minute natural pressure release followed by a quick release of pressure for the next step. The quick pressure release happens relatively fast so you’ll want to keep a watchful eye on it.
- Whenever you see that the pressure valve has dropped, you can unlock the lid, take it off, and add the two cups of chopped kale and bacon. Steps 6 and 7 should be done fairly quickly!
- Whisk in 1 cup of heavy cream (or Ripple Plant-Based Half & Half for the dairy-free option) and combine gently; I love watching the liquid turn to a creamy broth!
- Serve as a hot soup with a side of crusty bread and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese (sub non-dairy cheese to make this dairy-free, I love this brand).
How Do I Make Zuppa Toscana To Store In A Freezer?
Planning on having a busy week with little time to cook? Making meals to have on hand that can be stored in the freezer is a great way to combat a full schedule, and the Olive Garden copycat of Zuppa Toscana has got to be one of the best soups for this.
Transforming it into a freezer meal, however, requires us to change up the preparation portion of the instant pot Zuppa Toscana recipe. Start by cooking the onion and pork sausage as you would normally. After being cooked thoroughly and drained of grease, the meat can then be stored inside a gallon-sized freezer bag or a freezer-safe airtight container.
Russet potatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, kale, cooked bacon, drained cannellini beans, salt, and pepper can now be added to the bag and then placed in the freezer where it can be kept for up to 90 days. Note that the potatoes may break apart during the reheating process, but this has no effect on the overall quality of the dish.
Reheating Frozen Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot:
- Empty the contents of your freezer bag or container into the instant pot and add 6 cups of chicken broth. In the event where the ingredients inside of the bag will not come out, simply run some warm water over the bag until it can be loosened and removed.
- Close and seal your lid, and set to “manual”, like most instant pot soups demand. Set a timer for 30 minutes and allow time for a quick release of pressure once it’s done.
- Remove the lid when it’s safe to do so, then stir in either heavy cream or any of the non-dairy options listed above with a whisk.
There you have it! What a way to have a hot meal ready on the table in under an hour when you need it, right? Nothing beats convenience like that, and I utilize freezing plenty of recipes for later, like lasagna soup and even my instant pot chicken noodle soup.
Is There A Paleo Version of Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana?
Anyone hoping to add Olive Garden’s copycat Zuppa Toscana to their winter soups list will be happy to find that there are Whole30, Vegan, and paleo-compliant ways to cook it that’ll still make for one of the most comforting soups there is. The regular chicken broth can be replaced with a chicken stock paleo bone broth. Substitute the russet potatoes with chopped cauliflower florets to make this whole food plant-based compliant (WFPB). Substitute the sausage for vegan sausage to make this vegan.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to complain about an afternoon or evening out for a good meal with family and friends. Besides, who doesn’t love unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks while you wait for your appetizers and main course? Olive Garden’s restaurant version of this spicy sausage Zuppa Toscana soup is one of my favorites to enjoy for one of these special occasions, but it’s just way cheaper to make my copycat recipes at home!
The next time you’re heading out to the grocery store, you might want to grab a couple of the tasty ingredients needed to make my Zuppa Toscana instant pot soup if you don’t already have them on hand. I love how simple this wholesome meal is to put together and how it truly hits the spot with every bite.
- Is there a substitute for white wine ? You can just use a splash of veggie stock instead.
- Will my soup taste like coconut If I use coconut milk ? Yes it will. If you don’t have access to Ripple’s Half & Half, my next best suggestion is to use cashew milk. It’s creamy and won’t leave a hint of sweetness in your soup like coconut milk will.
- How long does the Zuppa last ? You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or freeze in containers with lids for up to 3 months.
How To Make Vegan Zuppa Toscana:
- 7 oz Impossible Italian Spicy Sausage - 7 oz. would be half the package. You can substitute for any kind of sausage if you prefer something else.
- 2 lbs golden potatoes and/or red potatoes - sliced in 1/4 inch slices and halfed
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 6 cups vegetable stock - (or 2 cubes of Not Chick'n Bouillon Cubes)
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 tbsp red chili flakes, - or to taste
- 4 cups Lacinato kale or Curly kale - chopped (sub kale with spinach)
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt, - or to taste
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup dry white wine - or sub vegetable broth
- 2 cups Ripple Plant-Based Half & Half - sub cashew milk or milk of your choice
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon - or sub 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat a cast iron dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Crumble the Impossible Meat Italian Sausage (or substitute) and add water to sautéeuntil brown. Transfer sausage to a bowl and keep warm.
- In the same pot, add the onion and red chili flakes to the sausage drippings and cook until soft and translucent. Add more water if needed to prevent from sticking. Stir in the garlic, cook until you can smell its fragrance then pour in the white wine
- Use a flat wooden spoon to stir in the garlic and scrape any brown bits from the pot until the wine has evaporated. Add in the thyme and stir.
- Add in potatoes, vegetable stock and pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 7-10 minutes until potatoes have softened, but still hold their shape.
- Right before the potatoes are down, add in the kale and simmer 3-4 minutes until the kale has wilted. Add the sausage back into the pot.
To Make The Cream Sauce
- Add the butter and simmer on low heat in a pan. Add the flour and stir slowly and consistently with the melted butter.
- Slowly add in the milk, while stirring to prevent caking. Add in the bouillon cube (or substitue salt)nd stir for a 2-3 minutes.
- Once done, add cream sauce to the pot of soup. Stir and enjoy.
Instant Pot Method
- Set your Instant Pot to the sauté method and saute the sausage. Once done, remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion and red chili flakes and continue cooking until the onion is translucent. Pour in the while wine and scraping the sausage bits from the sides of the pot, stirring until the wine has evaporated.
- Stir in the garlic and thyme.
- Add the potatoes and vegetable stock.
- Select the Manual setting on the Instant Pot and cook on High for 4 minutes. Once the soup is done at 4 minutes, release the pressure according to your Instant Pot's manufacturer's instructions (usually this is the button on top of the Instant Pot).
- Meanwhile, prepare the cream sauce and add it to the soup along with the sausage and the kale. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the kale has wilted.
- Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy.
This tastes soo good! I made this vegan and it’s just like Olive Garden. I used cashew milk.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Kiera! It’s one of my favorites 🙂
This is one of my favorites, easy to make, healthy, tasty and creamy. Dip some sourdough bread and its yum.
It’s one of my favorites too, I’m so glad you love it!