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Low Carb Zuppa Toscana is packed with sausage, cauliflower, and kale for a lower-carb version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup. This twist on the classic is one you’ll want to make over and over! 

Low carb zuppa toscana in a gray bowl with salt and red pepper flakes in the background

There are quite a few recipes that I love, but I only make for myself because Eric & Elle aren’t really the biggest fans, and this Low Carb Zuppa Toscana is one of those recipes. Neither of them are cauliflower lovers, but it just so happens to be one of my faves.

I’ve been super into Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana for years and back when I taught school, I’d eat it for lunch multiple times a week because Olive Garden is just around the corner.

The great thing about this Low Carb Zuppa Toscana is that it is super versatile. You can use hot sausage instead of sweet, baby spinach instead of kale and cauliflower instead of potatoes.

I love making a batch of this on the weekend, so I can eat it for lunch all week long.

Close up of low carb zuppa toscana in a bowl with a spoon


You all know how much I love soup when the weather is below 75 degrees.

I may eat the most soup during the fall and winter months, but there is something about a cozy bowl of soup on a dreary, drizzly March day that warms me right up. 

But as much as I love recipes like my Cheeseburger Soup or my Loaded Baked Potato Soup, I don’t always love how they weigh me down. 

Ingredients for low carb zuppa toscana arranged on a gray countertop

Some time ago I started making this lower-carb version of my homemade Zuppa Toscana. By swapping the potatoes for cauliflower, I get a soup that’s just as filling but isn’t quite as heavy.

Let me tell ya, you won’t even miss the potatoes in this Low Carb Zuppa Toscana. It’s even become my go-to over the original! 

I like to serve classic Zuppa Toscana alongside Beer Bread or Soda Bread. But if you want to keep the whole meal low carb, try serving this version alongside Low Carb Almond Flour Bread or Keto Breadsticks.

Browned Italian sausage and onions being stirred by a wooden spoon in a large dutch oven


The name “Zuppa Toscana” just means “Tuscan Soup.” 

There are a lot of variations on a classic Tuscan soup, but the Olive Garden version is probably the most famous here in the United States. That version uses just a few ingredients for a rich and hearty soup:

  • Italian sausage
  • Onions and garlic
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken broth
  • Kale
  • Heavy Cream
Cauliflower florets and chicken stock being stirred into a pot with cooked Italian sausage for zuppa toscana

By making our Zuppa Toscana with cauliflower instead of potatoes, we’re making it lower carb without sacrificing flavor – I promise! 

You can make this soup with sweet or hot Italian sausage. I love spicy food, so you know that the version with hot Italian sausage is my favorite!

If you aren’t a big fan of kale, you could always try this recipe with fresh spinach instead.

Kale being stirred into a pot of low carb zuppa toscana


This soup is one of the easiest to make! In fact, it only has 3 main steps:

  1. Brown the Italian sausage with the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and chicken broth and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked through.
  3. Add the kale and cream and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Overhead view of low carb zuppa toscana in a large red dutch oven

That’s it! This really is a 30-minute meal, especially if you buy bags of cauliflower that has already been cut into florets. 

In fact, sometimes I even buy bags of frozen chopped onions to keep on hand for days when I’m short on time and don’t want to dice an onion for the meal I’m making. These little shortcuts can save you a few minutes and effort here and there and make the difference between actually cooking dinner or ordering takeout.

And I promise – this is a dinner you’ll be glad you took the small amount of effort to make.

Ladle serving up a portion of low carb zuppa toscana from a large dutch oven of soup


I don’t typically recommend freezing soups made with a lot of dairy. They can sometimes change in texture or separate when thawed. No thanks.

There’s still a way to freeze your Low Carb Zuppa Toscana, though. Prepare this soup up until the point of adding the cream and the kale. Let it cool, then freeze it in an airtight container.

Overhead view of a bowl of zuppa toscana alongside a green salad and a cloth napkin

When you’re ready for dinner, just bring the thawed soup to a simmer before adding the cream and kale and cooking for 10-15 minutes as noted in the recipe.

You’ll still cut down on the prep time needed on the day you want to eat your soup, without having to deal with a weird texture when it’s ready!

Bowl of low carb zuppa toscana on a gray countertop
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Low Carb Zuppa Toscana

By: Jamie
4.53 from 34 ratings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Low Carb Zuppa Toscana is packed with sausage, cauliflower, and kale for a lower-carb version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup. This twist on the classic is one you’ll want to make over and over!


  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 24 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 48 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale chopped
  • 12 ounces heavy cream


  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, brown sausage until cooked through. Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain excess fat and return pot to the stove.
  • Add cauliflower and chicken broth to the sausage mixture. Continue cooking over medium heat until the cauliflower is cooked through.
  • Add heavy cream and kale and continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.



To kick things up a notch, substitute hot italian sausage for the sweet and increase the amount of red pepper flakes. Please note the color of the soup may take on an orange color with this substitution due to the spices in hot sausage.


Serving: 1, Calories: 389kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 1402mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Trusa says:

    5 stars
    This is an awesome soup! Initially I thought I would have to add a lot of spices, but the Italian sausage really gives it flavor. Of course, I admittedly added more Italian seasoning, but not much. I will be making this over and over again!

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback.

  2. Jen says:

    WOW this was great. I followed the recipe as is, and then added a sprinkle of nutmeg and squeeze of a lemon to brighten it. Absolutely delicious, will definitely make again!

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad you enjoyed the soup, Jen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback!

  3. JB says:

    This is sooo good. I found the recipe searching for ways to get more veg in our diet. My husband, who is not a soup person, asks for it often. Even in the summer. I just throw in a whole head of cauliflower (the bigger the better) and whole bundle of kale. Because we were not specifically going low carb I also make a separate pot of pasta noodles and we add a bit to our bowls to make it a little more filling.

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, JB! Love your ideas for the cauliflower. Happy soup season! :)

  4. AbbyT says:

    This was simple and lovely! Served it with a sprinkle of smoked paprika, shredded cheddar, lots of pepper, and crusty homemade rye with garlic butter. And don’t laugh… I’m veg and subbed the meat with some faux crumbles (w/lots of Italian spices) and slices of faux Italian sausage (and veg vice chix broth) – it TOTALLY worked! My Very carnivore hubby [who would eat sausage every day if I let him] even loved it, but we’re with you, we adore cauliflower. Easy, healthy, and ingredients I generally have on hand. Will make again and again, thank you madam!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Abby! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback and adaptations.

  5. Nina says:

    We have been making it with rice cauliflower for a couple of years now. We do half sausage & half beef mixed together & spinach instead of kale. Love this zoupa!

    1. Jamie says:

      Yay! So happy to hear you enjoy the recipe. Love the cauliflower swap!

  6. Machelle Wright says:

    Can Coconut milk substitute for the cream?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Machelle-
      I have never attempted this substitution so I am not sure how that will taste. If you give it a go please let me know how you like it.

    2. Nina says:

      @Jamie, It’s great! I get the riced cauliflower from Costco. Just thaw it, press out the excess water & add it in. The first time I had it, I had no idea if wasn’t minced potatoes. I actually prefer it over potatoes. Just use a couple of bags!

    3. Jamie says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Nina! Love the idea of using riced cauliflower.

    4. Linds says:

      @Machelle Wright, yes, this is how I do it, I also use chicken sausage which is healthier. It’s much better with coconut milk