Friday, September 13, 2013

Recipe Day: Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana... Primal Style

Stormy Fall Evening in Moab
Fall has really been making an appearance in Moab the last few days. Just last week the temperature reached 109°F (43°C for my Canadian friends) and this week, we were as low as 58°F (14°C)!! Autumn means I can start cooking soups and stews. To me, there is nothing like a piping hot bowl of goodness to warm you up and make you feel cozy!

A couple of years ago someone gave me a recipe for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup and while I love it, it just doesn't fit in with my new lifestyle. Let's look at the ingredients and see what I can Change:

  1. Spicy Italian Sausage - I can have this, or so I thought. All of the stores carried it but, it had added corn syrup or sugar. I don't eat corn syrup or sugar. The solution: Make my own! I'll share the recipe for the spice mix below.
  2. Bacon - This is a go! I can have this!
  3. Chicken Stock - Also a go! Some of the brands in the store work just fine or, if I was feeling ambitious I could make my own.
  4. Potatoes - Well, these are an absolute no, no, NO! The solution: Thinking, thinking... oh my goodness the smoke is getting thick.... Oh!! Turnips, I'll try turnips!
  5. Kale - Oh Absolutely!  
  6. Garlic and onions - Yep! And the salt and pepper too.
  7. Heavy Cream - Now technically I could probably have this but, I have become slightly lactose intolerant the last few months (milk, ice cream and too much cheese set me off). So, off to the internet I went looking for an alternative that would work for me. Low and behold, there was a fairly simple answer, Coconut Cream. What is coconut cream? Take a can of coconut milk, put it in the refrigerator and the next day, scrape out the cream leaving behind the water. Voila, Coconut Cream!
All changes figured out, I headed to my kitchen and gave this a shot. Here is the recipe I came up with:

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana... Primal Style

  • 1 1/2 pounds of Spicy Italian Sausage 
  • 1/2 pound Bacon (you can cook more and reserve for garnish)
  • 7 cups Chicken Stock
  • 3 medium purple topped Turnips peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 3 cloves Garlic (I use 3 tsp of Jared Minced Garlic)
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Kale
  • 1 cup Coconut Cream (I found out you can whip this into a whipped topping too.... hmmmm...)
  • Cook your Italian Sausage drain and then set aside. In your large soup pot, cook bacon until almost done (don't drain grease) then add the onions until they are slightly translucent. Add your Garlic and saute a minute more. Add your turnips and saute for 3 minutes. Pour in your Chicken Stock and then add your Kale. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the turnips are fork tender. Just before serving, stir in the Coconut Milk and Salt and Pepper to taste. That's it!  You can garnish with a little more bacon if you would like.

Oh yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

All I have to say is... THIS SOUP IS AMAZING!! I absolutely think it is wonderful and, even better than the stuff from Olive Garden. Oh!  And here is the link to the seasoning recipe for the Italian Sausage:  Spice World. You may never buy Italian Sausage again!

One of the things I love about my new way of eating is the challenge of taking my old recipes and making them fit into my new lifestyle. This one was such a success I am just glad I got to share it. So, here's a challenge for you... send me a recipe and let me see if I can tweak it to work for me. I don't know if it will always work but, I will give it a shot!

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  1. Im going to have to try that recipe out! That sounds amazing!!