Creamy and super flavourful, this vegan Zuppa Toscana is so delicious you won’t be able to stop at one bowl. It’s so good, meat-eaters in your life are absolutely not going to believe it’s vegan.
This creamy vegan Zuppa Toscana is probably the best thing I’ve ever cooked in my life. I’m not one to exaggerate but trust me, it’s THAT good.
I have been a massive fan of Zuppa Toscana for the past years, but finding quality Italian sausage to make a decent one is rather difficult where I live. So I couldn’t have it as much as I wanted last winter (read every week).
But then a brilliant idea dawned on me. I’m not a vegan, as you perhaps know if you read my blog regularly, but I’ve eliminated almost all meat from my diet over the last years. My love for Zuppa Toscana actually counted for approximately half of the meat I ate for the past year.
So what if I made my beloved Zuppa Toscana meat-free? It’s not a revolutionary idea, of course, but after testing a couple of options, I finally came up with the perfect vegan Zuppa Toscana recipe that’s super easy to make and tastes better than the real thing. I know you might be raising an eyebrow right now, but it really does.
I created this recipe for the pressure cooker because it’s super convenient, but there are instructions in the recipe card for making it on the stove as well if you prefer it that way.
Let’s get down to the ingredients
So what do you need to make this Zuppa Toscana?
- Chickpeas — this is what I used instead of sausages. I found that if you use the right combination of herbs, you can fry up chickpeas in some extra virgin olive oil and they’ll have the same flavour of Italian sausage. The texture is also lovely and the chickpeas will retain it even if you’re cooking them in the pressure cooker. You can use chickpeas from a tin, which is what I did, or dry ones that you soaked overnight.
- Garlic — this is not a good recipe for you if you don’t like garlic. You’ll need six cloves of garlic, and make sure you don’t skimp on it, because you’re going to miss out on some amazing flavours. The garlic needs to be freshly crushed when it goes in – don’t use garlic paste substitutes and don’t use chopped garlic – it has to be crushed, trust me on this.
- Red-skinned potatoes — I like to use these in soups because they boil nicely without turning into mush. They are a kind of potato that goes in the pressure cooker and gets out in intact pieces.
- Herbs — and lots of it. The trick here is to make the soup taste like it had sausage in it, so I used the power of herbs to achieve this. You’ll need sage, fennel seeds, mixed Italian herbs and chilli flakes, plus lots of freshly ground black pepper.
- Vegan cream alternative — use your preferred type here; in the UK, I prefer the Elmlea Plant double cream alternative.
- Cavolo nero — you can substitute this for any kind of kale, but make sure you remove all hard stems.
How to make vegan Zuppa Toscana?
These are the instructions to make Zuppa Toscana in the Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. If you want to make it on the stove, check out the notes in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Start the pressure cooker on the “sauté” mode on high heat. Add the olive oil; when it’s hot, add the chickpeas and fry them until they start to get golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat to medium. Add the sage and fennel seeds and cook for one more minute.
Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until it softens.
Add the garlic, the Italian herbs, and chilli flakes and cook for a minute until fragrant.
Increase the heat back to high and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the potatoes and cook on medium pressure for 5 minutes.
Stir in the cream and kale and put the lid back on for 2-3 minutes until the kale leaves soften.
What to serve with Zuppa Toscana?
This vegan Zuppa Toscana is perfect on its own, but you can serve it with some sides as well. Ideas include:
Any type of crusty bread
Can I use dried chickpeas instead of canned?
You can, but remember that you’ll need to soak and cook the chickpeas first before using them in this recipe, so the cooking times are obviously going to be longer.
Soak 250 g (1/2 lb) dry chickpeas overnight, rinse them, then add them to a large pot of water and cook for about 1 hour until done. You can then use them in the recipe as you would do with canned ones.
If you liked this vegan Zuppa Toscana recipe, have a look at some of my other vegan recipes:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 can (400 g / 14 oz) chickpeas
- 2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp Italian herbs
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 650 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
- 600 g (1 1/2 lb) red-skinned potatoes
- 200 ml (1 cup)vegan cream
- 100 g (7 oz) Cavolo nero, chopped, hard stems removed
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the pressure cooker
- Start the pressure cooker on “sauté” mode on high heat. Add the olive oil; when it’s hot, add the chickpeas and fry them until they start to get golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat to medium. Add the sage and fennel seeds and cook for one more minute.
- Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until it softens.
- Add the garlic, the Italian herbs, and chilli flakes and cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Increase the heat back to high and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the potatoes and cook on medium pressure for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and kale and put the lid back on for 2-3 minutes until the kale leaves soften.
For the stove
- Follow the steps for the pressure cooker, but use a Dutch oven or another heavy-based pot instead. Follow the same timings until step 6. After adding the potatoes, boil the soup on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender. Add the cream and kale and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the kale has softened.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 527mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.