Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup: Low Carb, High Protein

healthy zuppa toscana

This healthy Zuppa Toscana soup recipe is low in carbs and high in protein by using cottage cheese instead of heavy cream, adding 26 grams of additional protein. It has a bit less creaminess than the original, but all of the flavor – plus it’s a bit more nutritious. 

Reasons to give this soup a try? This recipe can help boost your immunity, while also providing a full, satisfying meal due to its’ higher protein content. Some soups don’t really feel like a full meal, but this one does! I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

Ground Italian Sausage (12 oz. )

For this recipe, I used mild Italian sausage but spicy would work just as well, depending on your spice preference

Non-Fat Cottage Cheese, Small Curd (1 Cup)

Adding a whipped cottage cheese to this soup makes it creamy while being low in fat and high in protein. For a richer soup, use a higher fat cottage cheese or add an additional cup of cottage cheese.

They are also selling whipped cottage cheese now! If this is available at your local grocery store, buy it already whipped and save yourself a step.

Cauliflower (Medium Sized, Chopped Small)

High in vitamin C and fiber, yet subtle in flavor. Diced cauliflower gives this soup some texture, while the vitamin C provides some immune support. Cauliflower is also higher in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar and increase the feeling of fullness.

Carrots (3-4 Large, Diced Small)

I like to have at least 1-2 veggies in my soups, so I used diced carrots for this recipe. However, frozen or fresh spinach – or really whatever vegetables you like – could be substituted. If you prefer your soups less chunky, feel free to omit either the carrots or cauliflower.

Cannellini Beans (One Can, Drained)

Add one can of cannellini beans for even more protein and fiber. 

Chicken Broth (48 ounces)

Chicken broth is used as the base of the soup. Water could be used as well, with increased bouillon for more flavor.

Add more chicken broth if you prefer your soup more “soupy”, and add less if you like it more chunky. It won’t change the macronutrient composition of this dish much – but adding more broth may increase the servings of the dish.

White Onion (One Medium, Minced)

Chopped finely, white onion act as an aromatic for this soup. 

Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

This ingredient just adds a little more flavor to the soup! Omit if you’re watching your sodium, as it is high in salt. 

Garlic (3-4 Cloves, Minced)

Garlic just makes everything better. It adds a depth of flavor that works well in a comforting soup.

Parmesan Cheese (For Garnish)

Top this soup with parmesan cheese for garnish!

creamy sausage soup

Creamy Sausage Soup Directions

1. Assemble Ingredients

Assemble all ingredients including a cutting board, knife, blender, and Dutch oven. 

2. Dice the Carrots, Cauliflower, Garlic and Onion

Mince the garlic, and chop the onions very small. 

Dice the carrots and cauliflower about the same size – in small, bite-sized pieces.

a pot of healthy zuppa toscana soup

3. Cook the Sausage, Carrots, Caulifower and Onion

With 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, add the Italian sausage and onions to a Dutch oven on medium heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, breaking the sausage into small pieces while cooking.

Once the sausage is broken up, and turning slightly pink – add the carrots, cauliflower and onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

adding the cauliflower and carrots to the soup

4. Add the Chicken Broth and Garlic

After the sausage has cooked through, and the carrots, cauliflower and onions have softened- add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Then, pour the chicken broth into the soup. Let it cook on medium-high heat while you blend the cottage cheese.

5. Blend the Cottage Cheese and Drain the Beans

While the soup continues to cook, blend the cottage cheese until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of water to thin it out, if needed.

Drain the beans using a strainer, and rinse. 

blending the cottage cheese for healthy zuppa toscana soup

6. Add Cottage Cheese, Bouillon, Beans, and Season With Your Heart

Add the cottage cheese and stir. Incorporate the cannellini beans and bouillon. Cook on low for about 5 more minutes.

Have a taste – and season with salt and pepper per your preference. I found that with the bouillon, the soup did not need any additional salt. 

However, I did add some crushed red pepper flakes for more heat! If it looks a little chunky, just keep stirring.

7. Top with Parmesan Cheese. Enjoy!

Ladle some soup into a bowl, and top with parmesan cheese! Bread optional.

Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup
Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup

Healthy Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe: Low Carb, High Protein

Alex Evink, MS, RD
This is a healthy take on a Zuppa Toscana soup recipe, which packs a nutritional punch. It is not only low in carbohydrates, but high in protein, Vitamin C, and fiber. A perfect staple for soup and flu season.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 442 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Dutch Oven or Pot
  • 1 Cutting Board
  • 1 Sharp Knife
  • 1 Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oz. Italian Sausage, Ground
  • 1 cup Non-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 48 oz. Chicken Broth Use less broth for a more chunky soup
  • 1 Tsp. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 1 Medium Cauliflower, Diced Small
  • 3 Large Carrots, Diced Small
  • 1 White Onion, Minced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Can Cannellini Beans Drained
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes Optional

Instructions
 

  • Add sausage and onions to a hot Dutch oven with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and break into small pieces. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.
    a pot of healthy zuppa toscana soup
  • Once sausage is broken apart and slightly pink, add carrots, onion and cauliflower. Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables have softened.
    Add minced garlic, and cook for one minute.
    adding the cauliflower and carrots to the soup
  • Pour chicken broth into the pot, and let cook on medium-high heat for another 10 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, blend cottage cheese until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of water (or less) to thin it out, if needed.
    Drain the beans using a strainer, and rinse.
    blending the cottage cheese for healthy zuppa toscana soup
  • Incorporate the cottage cheese, beans, and bouillon.
    Season with salt and pepper, per your preference. Add red chili flakes for more heat.
    Ladle into bowls, top with parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
    closeup of Zuppa Toscana soup

Notes

Calories are an estimation: 442 calories, 34g protein, 25g carbohydrates, 895mg sodium, 7g fiber, 184mg Calcium, 4mg Iron, 399mg potassium
Keyword cottage cheese soup, creamy sausage soup, high protein recipe, high protein, low carb recipe, zuppa toscana

Can I Make This In a Crockpot?

Yes, this recipe can be made in a crockpot! The sausage would need to be cooked prior to adding to the crockpot with all of the other ingredients, and the carrots, cauliflower and onions should be softened. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

How Do I Make This Soup Vegetarian or Vegan?

To make this soup vegetarian, omit the sausage and increase the beans from one to 2-3 cans. Replace the chicken broth, cottage cheese and parmesan cheese with a vegan alternative. Instead of Better Than Bouillon, increase the salt content for more flavor.

What Did You Think?

If you make this recipe, let me know what you thought in the comments! 

While it is higher in sodium, this soup is a great addition if you’re wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. I love that it is packed with Vitamin C, ideal for “flu season”, and contains a lot of fiber which is often lacking in our diets.

For more high protein cottage cheese recipes, try my butternut squash pasta or cottage cheese mac and cheese

If you’re striving for all the benefits of a high protein diet, check out my 100 grams of protein per day meal plans

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