Remember Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana? The rich, decadent soup made with sausage, bacon, kale, heavy cream and potatoes? It’s one of those comfort foods that makes my mouth water every time I think about it. I ran across a copycat recipe by Damn Delicious on Pinterest yesterday and I almost cried because it looked so good and because I absolutely couldn’t eat it. As my newly svelte husband would say, it’s just not consistent with my nutritional goals.
So I did what I always do when I can’t eat something somebody else made. I try to cook something better. I can’t believe how good this Paleo Zuppa Toscana recipe turned out. A velvety smooth cauliflower puree effortlessly replaces the traditional potatoes and heavy cream. You won’t miss them! Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage adds the same savory kick as pork sausage with about half the calories and a third of the fat.
This soup was a huge hit with the kids – H.T. loved it so much he scraped the dregs out of the bottom of the pot.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 cups of low sodium chicken stock
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 pound spicy Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
- 3 cups kale, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut 1½ cup of ½-inch florets from head of cauliflower and spread them out on small baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for garnish.
- Chop the remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt and sautee until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and chicken stock and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low and cook until cauliflower is completely tender, 25-30 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is simmering, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 7 minutes. Crumble into pieces aside. Add the Italian sausage and cook until browned, 3-5 minutes, crumbling it into pieces as it cooks. Drain excess fat and set aside.
- When cauliflower is tender, pour the cauliflower and stock into a blender and puree.
- Return the pureed cauliflower mixture to the stock pot and add the sausage and the chopped kale. Cook until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Serve piping hot, garnished with the roasted cauliflower pieces and bacon.