Paleo Zuppa Toscana Soup

IMG_1971Back in our pre-Paleo days we used to eat out on occasion at the Olive Garden and were big fans of the Zuppa Toscana soup.  I was reminded of it a couple of months ago when a friend posted a recipe for a home-made version on Facebook and I added it to my list of recipes to try.

A couple of weeks ago we were dining out at one of our favorite restaurants in the South Loop, Tapas Valencia.  The soup of the day was a gluten free creamy garlic and it was so delicious.  I decided now was the time to attempt a version at home.  An online search yielded several recipes, most of which had cauliflower in them, then I found one on Wellness Mama called Soothing Garlic Soup with coconut milk.

I made the Garlic Soup when the kids were home from college for winter break and added hot Italian sausage.  It was good, but my daughter said this could be just like Zuppa Toscana if you added potatoes and kale.  So for Christmas Eve dinner we had my version of Zuppa Toscana.

The roasted garlic is caramelized and sweet, coconut milk provides creamy richness while the spicy Italian sausage gives it zip!  My daughter gave it a “10”!

  • 5 heads of garlic
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 1-2 cups kale
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced into small pieces

Roast the garlic:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel away any of the outer layers of skin that are no longer intact.  Avoid pulling off too much, as you need the bulb to remain whole.
  3. Cut off the very top portion of the bulb, about 1/2″ so that most of the individual cloves are exposed.
  4. Place the bulbs on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle each with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Close up the foil around the bulbs and crimp to seal.
  6. Place foiled garlic on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic is tender when pierced with a fork.
  7. Remove the garlic from the oven, open the foil immediately so that the heat escapes and it begins to cool.
  8. Once cooled you can easily pop each individual clove out.  Disposable gloves are a great idea for this step.

While the garlic is roasting:

  1. Melt butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.  Saute onions, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes longer.
  3. In a skillet, brown the Italian sausage, breaking up into small pieces.  Drain on paper towels on a plate (I like to use a pie plate) and set aside.
  4. Remove the stalks from the kale, wash and chop into small pieces.  Massage a bit to tenderize before cooking.

Finish the soup:

  1. Add the roasted garlic cloves and chicken broth to the onions and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes, cool slightly and carefully puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
  3. Return soup to a simmer,  add the potatoes and coconut milk and cook another 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  4. Add the Italian sausage and kale and heat through.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

I am grateful each day for wellness, happiness and the opportunity to share with you.