Zuppa Toscana

This week’s recipe was inspired by watching a video by Laura Vitale from Laura in the Kitchen. She did a Zuppa Toscana recipe that looked great, but there was a lot of fatty meat in it and lacked vegetables. I wanted to make a healthier vegetarian version that would give you all of the comfort of a hearty soup with the healthy benefits of vegetables. I was able to find a recipe to start with for a vegetarian version from Veggie Society. The calorie and vitamin profile were close, but the sodium was way too high. Easy fix. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I replaced the vegetable broth with a low sodium variety to reduce the sodium.
  • I deleted the added salt.
  • I deleted the beyond meat Italian sausage and replaced with tofu Italian sausage to reduce the sodium.
  • I reduced the amount of potato and added butternut squash and red bell pepper
  • I replaced the kale with baby spinach.
  • I replaced the cashew cream with almond milk and cornstarch.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:


Vegan Zuppa Toscana

Serves 6

  • 6 clove, Garlic
  • 1/3 cup, Dry White Wine
  • 1 tsp, Olive Oil
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp., Crushed Red Chili Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp, Smoked Paprika
  • Pinch ground fennel
  • 2 tbs, Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 pound butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 Yukon gold potato, cubed
  • 3 oz Baby spinach
  • 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large, Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup, Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp(s), Cornstarch

Tofu Italian Sausage

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 packages extra firm tofu
dry ingredients
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Mix the wet and dry ingredients for the sausage in a bowl.  Crumble the tofu into the mixture and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat a heavy bottom pot over medium flame. Add the olive oil and tofu sausage and pan sear for a few minutes until the liquid evaporates and the tofu turns golden brown. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. Add the onion and red chili flakes to the pan and cook a few minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook until you can smell its fragrance then pour in the white wine.
  4. Use a flat wooden spoon and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the wine has evaporated.
  5. Add the potatoes, squash, red bell pepper, thyme, bay leaf and smoked paprika then pour in the veggie stock. Bring to a simmer, add the nutritional yeast. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the potatoes have softened but still hold their shape. Check after 5 minutes and keep a close eye on them.
  6. A couple of minutes before the potatoes are ready add the spinach. Give everything a good stir then mix in the almond milk mixed with the cornstarch. Simmer another minute or so until the spinach has wilted and the soup is creamy.
  7. Add the cooked sausage back into the soup, adjust seasonings and serve hot with freshly cracked black pepper on top.

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