Little bit of honesty here – I’m always a little nervous when I take a “healthy” recipe to a potluck or get together. Even if I know it’s delicious, I wonder if anyone who doesn’t eat vegan will like it. The first time I took this Vegan Zuppa Toscana to a potluck, I labeled it as “dairy free” and “gluten free.”  My thinking was that it might help out someone else who eats along these guidelines. I wish I could say it was well loved and eaten up in a hurry, but – guess what? My crock pot came home nearly full. (Honestly? No complaints though. I mean – a full pot of soup? Oh yeah – tomorrow night’s dinner – done!)

So, the next time I decided to bring it along to share at a dinner, I didn’t label it at all. And this time – my crock pot came home nearly empty! I had several people mention that they loved it and received multiple requests for the recipe. Maybe there’s some psychology that just because something is dairy free or gluten free it won’t taste as good?

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Today I’m sharing the recipe and you can make this Vegan Zuppa Toscana, knowing that it passed the blind taste test! My lesson learned – don’t tell anyone, and they’ll never know! *wink

I made this recipe on the stovetop for several years, but recently altered it so that I could make it in my Instant Pot. This makes it a double winner in my book. So super easy – just throw it all in and turn it on! No Instant Pot? Not a problem! I’ve included notes below about how to make it on the stovetop.

Full of Flavor

Packed full of flavor, you won’t miss the meat that traditional Zuppa Toscana recipes have in them. This soup is on the spicy side, which is just how I love it. If you’re wanting it with a little less kick though, simple reduce the amount of red pepper flakes that you put in it. It is so yummy served with rye rolls, if you can find a bakery that has them. (Or if you’re talented enough to make them yourself!) The bakery at my local grocer has them sometimes, but it can be hit or miss. When it’s a miss, I like to serve rye (or regular) Triscuit crackers with this soup.

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​Making Zuppa Toscana Soup

You will want to start with the Instant Pot on the Sauté setting. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they are soft, about 5 minutes. While that is cooking, dice up the potatoes and measure out all the spices. You can peel the potatoes if you prefer, but I never do. I don’t mind the texture and the red from the potato peels adds a nice color to the soup.

Once they are onions and garlic are soft, simply add everything else except for the navy beans, coconut milk and kale. Be sure that the seal is set to pressure, then set the Instant Pot to MANUAL and turn it on for 5 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, cut up the kale. I like to simply snip the leaves with some sheers. The recipe calls for 4 cups of kale, which seems like a lot, but once it cooks down, it really isn’t that much. The kale is my favorite part, so I love lots of it.

When the 5 minutes cooking is done, let it naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes. Then, flip to to manual and allow it to complete the pressure release. Carefully remove the lid. Add the coconut milk, navy beans and the kale. Set the Instant Pot to warm and return the lid, but don’t seal it (you don’t want it to come to pressure again.) Let it stay on warm for about 5 minutes before serving.

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​And … Here’s the Recipe …

1 cup chopped onion

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 cups vegetable broth (or 3 cups water, plus 1-1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Chicken flavor)

1 tsp anise seed

1 tsp caraway seed

¼ tsp crushed red pepper

½ tsp salt

4 red potatoes, cubed

1 can white beans (cannellini, navy, etc.) drained

1 can coconut milk

4 cups kale, chopped into small pieces

 

  1. Turn the InstantPot to sauté and add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add everything else to the pot, except for the beans, coconut milk, and kale. Set the seal, turn to Manual setting and set for 5 minutes.
  3. When the cooking time is finished, allow the pressure to release for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure. Once the pressure is released, carefully open the pot and add the beans, coconut milk and kale. Stir gently and return the lid loosely on top. (If you close it all the way, it may come to pressure again.)
  4. Let the soup sit, covered for 5 minutes until the beans warm up and the kale becomes soft.

No InstantPot? Here’s the stovetop directions:

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes until they are soft.
  2. Add everything else to the pot, except the beans, coconut milk, and kale.
  3. Cook, covered, on medium heat until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, coconut milk and kale. Stir gently. Cover the pot again and allow to warm for 5 minutes before serving.

Just a heads up – if you’re planning to make this ahead of time (for something like a potluck where you secretly don’t want anyone to know how good it is for them….) wait to add the kale until just before serving. If you leave it on warm too long it will turn green.

Yes, I do know this from experience. Luckily, my kids were the ones consuming it that time so there was no need to worry about the pot coming home full. 

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