This creamy sausage, potato, & spinach soup is a Copycat Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana with all of the creamy flavor, and none of the gluten and dairy!
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Cold weather comfort food, and a teen favorite!
Earlier this fall, my 13 year old had a potluck to cook for at school. We scanned the sign up, and noticed it was fairly “Italian” themed with different pastas and salad. When I saw the section that asked for someone to bring soup, I thought I’d show my middle schooler the delicious comfort of an old Olive Garden restaurant favorite, with a healthy real food spin of course!
A new teen hit with an old restaurant favorite
She helped me make that “Zuppa Toscana,” and I’m telling, you those middle schoolers licked every last drop clean! Creamy sausage and potatoes…what teenager wouldn’t love that?! We have made it a number of time since, and the girls have claimed this as one of their favorite winter soups now, so I just had to share!
The Method :: Brown the Sausage
You’ll start your Zuppa Toscana by browning some sausage in a soup pot. I like to use a little of the bacon grease leftover from the weekend to cook in to add even more flavor to the soup, but a little butter or olive oil work great too. And speaking of options, you have choices for the sausage too! If you have a local farmer that you like to support, you can get either their ground sausage, or get plain ground pork and season it yourself! I have an MSG free and sugar free Sausage Season Blend on the blog! There are even some store bought sausages that aren’t so bad in the ingredient department if you look around. At our home, we tend to use our grassfed ground beef from the cow we get for the freezer each year, and season it with my own Sausage Season Blend. If you have ground venison, turkey, or chicken, that does work too!
The Method :: Cook the veggies
After you brown the sausage, you’ll scoop the meat out with a slotted spoon, leaving behind all of the cooking fat. Use this flavorful cooking fat to sauté your veggies in. This step gives a yummy caramelized flavor to the veggies that will flavor the broth – don’t skip this step!
The Method :: The Potatoes & Creamy Broth
Once your veggies have softened, you’ll stir in some garlic and flour of your choice to coat the veggies. I use a GF flour blend. I would not try using almond or coconut flours as these will not yield the same texture results for the broth. The flour gives the broth a rich, velvety texture that will mix with the coconut milk or cream at the end to create a super creamy, decadent broth. After you stir the flour in, you can pour in the broth and toss the potatoes in. You’ll simmer this until the potatoes are soft, stirring along the way.
The Method :: Finishing the Soup
Once your potatoes have softened, you can stir in the spinach to wilt and also the coconut milk to add creaminess. You have some options here as well. I like to use baby spinach since I always have a large box of it on hand, and it wilts super quick. Baby kale works well too. If you want to use large kale, you’ll want to add it in while the potatoes are cooking for the last few minutes so the tougher kale has a chance to soften. If you don’t need to be dairy free, you can swap the coconut milk for cream or milk. If you are using raw cream or milk, be sure to add it after the heat is turned off so you don’t ruin the beautiful health benefits of the raw dairy!
The leftovers of this soup are…incredible! The flavors marry over time and just get better the next day. So plan this one into your dinner, and you can have it for lunch the next day, or pack it in the kids’ thermoses for school the next day! My teen and tween in particular ask for this in their lunchboxes a lot lately. I’m not a fan of freezing soups that have potatoes – they just don’t have the same texture when they thaw out, and I wouldn’t waste it. Make enough for the week and leftovers and enjoy. It’s simple enough to make on a monthly or bi-weekly basis if the family loves it that much!
Creamy Sausage, Potato, & Spinach Soup :: A Copycat Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana Done Gluten & Dairy Free!
- 2 tbsp bacon grease butter, or olive oil to cook in
- 1 lb ground sausage of choice See Notes for options
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic minced
- ¼ cup GF flour blend
- 1 ½ quarts bone broth
- 4 large yellow potatoes cubed in ½ inch pieces (ends up being about 4 cups of cubed potatoes)
- 4 cups baby spinach or baby kale chopped small
- 1 cup coconut milk or cream
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
- Melt the bacon grease in a soup pot over medium high heat, and brown the sausage. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pot once it is browned, leaving the cooking fat behind in the soup pot. There needs to be a good tablespoon of fat in the pot leftover from cooking the sausage – if there isn’t, add a little more bacon grease, butter, or olive oil so you can cook the veggies.
- Over medium heat, saute the onion, carrot, and celery in the leftover sausage cooking fat with a pinch of salt, until the veggies are soft and sweet, around 7 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic and flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the bone broth and potatoes, stir to combine, and put the lid on your pot. Bring the soup to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are very soft – about 10 minutes. Stir the soup every few minutes to be sure the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom.
- Once the potatoes are soft, stir in the cooked sausage and the chopped spinach to wilt in. If you are using kale, you’ll need to cook it down a few minutes to soften.
- Turn the heat off, add the coconut milk, and then salt and pepper the soup to your taste.