Snow in College Station means only one thing in my mind (besides making snow angels, of course)… an excuse to stay inside and create something warm and delicious! The famous, creamy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana soup was always one of my favorites when I was younger. I have never been too much of an Italian foods fan, but that all changes when this soup comes into the picture.
I believe this low-calorie, vegan recipe gives the classic Olive Garden recipe a run for its money. What’s the secret, you ask? The golden potatoes! Although Olive Garden’s original restaurant recipe calls for Russet potatoes, the golden potatoes have a natural buttery flavor. This vegetable is great for vegans who find it hard to add that “thick and creamy” taste to recipes without the addition of animal products. But, don’t just take my word for it… try out this mouth-watering recipe yourself!
Ingredients (yields 10 cups at 148 cals/cup)
- 12 oz. veggie “sausage”
- 48 oz. vegetable broth
- 1 large purple onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 5 golden potatoes (The original restaurant recipe actually calls for Russet potatoes, but the golden potatoes have a natural buttery flavor, which is great for vegans!)
- 1/4 cup veggie “bacon” bits (optional)
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 5 cups kale (5 stalks)
- 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
Begin by cooking your veggie “sausage” as stated on the label. I sautéed my “sausage” in a skillet on high for about 5 minutes.
Next, using a knife or food processor, dice the onion and garlic.
Chop the potatoes into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces.
Combine the “sausage,” onion, garlic, potatoes and vegetable broth together in a large pot. Stir, then cook on medium heat until the potatoes are soft. (This can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.)
After the potatoes have softened, add the veggie “bacon” bits.
Then, add the spices – dried parsley, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Let simmer for about 10 more minutes.
While the soup is simmering, separate the leaves and stems of kale. We will only be using the leaves in this recipe, but save the stems for your juice in the morning! Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
After the soup has simmered for about 10 minutes, add the kale and almond milk to the mixture. Stir until the kale is thoroughly heated… it will change colors, becoming a darker green color. Serve and enjoy!