Slow cooked keto Zuppa Toscana with a creamy cauliflower broth, Italian sausage, wilted kale, roasted cauliflower florets and garnished with crispy pancetta.
This is a dish popularized by Olive Garden Italian Restaurant. I’m not sure it exists beyond the restaurant chain but it’s a favorite of many. It traditionally has a creamy broth and prepared with russet potatoes. My low carb version swaps the potatoes with roasted cauliflower florets to give it the same familiar texture.
I’ll admit, I’ve never actually tried the Italian chain’s soup prior to going keto. When I first started a low carb/keto way of eating I quickly found the keto Zuppa Toscana was a super popular option with several recipes already in existence. I made it countless times, using varying methods, before eventually settling into my own version of the soup. I figured since so many recipes were already available, I never rushed to publish my own. However, since this is one of my top favorite meals, I knew I had to get it down to share with everyone.
A few notes on Ingredients
One of the distinguishing components to this soup is its broth base. The common version is prepared with potatoes. This gives it that thick and creamy consistency. To achieve a similar consistency I slow cook riced cauliflower over a long period. This allows the cauliflower to break down and thicken the soup. Moreover, to bring back the texture and flavor, I add roasted cauliflower florets to provide that additional mouth-feel. It’s a wonderful combination of texture and flavors which is why it remains one of my favorite dishes.
As far as ingredients go, if you prefer your soup really spicy, use two pounds of ground spicy sausage. However, since not everyone in my household likes it spicy, I’ll use one pound of mild and another pound of spicy. This gives you a nice balance of flavor without being over powering (I always add red pepper flakes on mine anyway). Also if you’re not a fan of kale, feel free to swap it out with spinach, just be sure you’re removing the tough stems of either option. Finally, while pancetta is preferred, you could easily substitute your favorite bacon. Either option is great for a salty and crispy finish.
Keto Zuppa Toscana
- 8 oz pancetta diced
- 2 lbs ground Italian sausage Spicy or mild (or both)
- 14 oz riced cauliflower
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 large garlic cloved minced
- 48 oz chicken stock
- 12 oz cauliflower florets
- 1 bunch kale leaves de-stemmed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
- 1 pinch salt & white pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
- Italian Parsely chopped
- red pepper flakes
- In a large saute pan over high heat, fry the diced pancetta till cripsy and set aside for later garnish.
- Season the ground pork with salt and pepper and brown in the saute pan. Cook the pork, leaving a little pink, then remove from pan and set aside.
- Using some leftover rendered fat from the pork, saute the diced onions and riced cauliflower for 4-5 minutes with a pinch of salt & pepper, then add garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Return the ground pork to the pan, add 48oz of chicken stock and simmer for 3-4 hours. The riced cauliflower will break down and thicken the broth over the long simmer.
- An hour before serving, pre-heat oven to 425°F and toss cauliflower florets with a little oil. Roast cauliflower in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. Add roasted cauliflower and torn kale leaves to soup base and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes.
- At the very end, add heavy cream and Parmesan Cheese to soup. Stir to combine. Taste & season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve with crispy panchetta and additional grated parmesan cheese. Red pepper flakes and Italian parsley are also great optional garnish.