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How to Make Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana That’s Easy, Tasty, and Dairy-Free!

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Updated on May 21, 2024

Reviewed by Fatma Mohamed

If you’re craving a hearty, flavourful soup that warms you from the inside out, look no further than Zuppa Toscana! This beloved Italian soup features a steaming bowl of rich broth studded with tender potatoes, vibrant kale, and savoury sausage crumbles. Each spoonful explodes with the essence of Tuscany.

With our guide to the ultimate dairy-free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe, you can embrace the charm of Tuscan flavours without compromising on dietary preferences. The Instant Pot is the secret weapon for making this delicious dish in no time.

So, let’s dive into the simplicity and robust flavours of dairy-free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana and unlock the secrets to achieving that rich, creamy consistency without a drop of dairy. 

What is Zuppa Toscana?

A bowl of Zuppa Toscana photographed on a rustic wooden table with fresh ingredients and Italian herbs.
Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana, literally meaning “Tuscan soup,” is a hearty and flavourful soup originating from the Tuscany region of Italy. It is known for its comforting and rustic appeal, making it a beloved dish in Italian homes and worldwide restaurants.

Zuppa Toscana is known for its robust and well-balanced flavours. The combination of sausage, potatoes, greens, and seasonings creates a comforting soup that is perfect for colder weather. 

In Tuscany, the soup is traditionally made with leftover bread, soaked in the broth before being mashed and incorporated into the soup. This adds a unique texture and richness.

The soup has gained popularity, particularly in the United States, where it is often associated with the Olive Garden restaurant chain, which features its own version of Zuppa Toscana on the menu.

Olive Garden has popularised a version of Zuppa Toscana that is creamier and richer than the traditional version, often including heavy cream and additional spices.

Dairy-Free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Recipe

Zuppa Toscana is a perfect balance of flavours that can be made effortlessly in the Instant Pot. This dairy-free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana is just as satisfying and flavourful as the classic version, and it’s perfect for a cosy winter meal.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 kg Italian sausage (turkey, chicken, or plant-based)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based milk 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Turn on the “Saute” function on your Instant Pot. Once hot, add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. 
  2. Add the sausage and cook for another 5 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. 
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth, potatoes, basil, and fennel. Secure the lid and set the pressure valve to “Sealing.” Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  4. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure.
  5. Carefully open the lid. Stir in the kale and plant-based milk. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the kale is wilted. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley, crumbled vegan bacon (optional), or a drizzle of olive oil. Serve hot. 
Easy Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Recipe

Zuppa Toscana Recipe Variations

You can customise the Zuppa Toscana recipe to suit your taste and dietary needs. Here are some delicious variations you can try for your dairy-free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana:

Protein Variations

  • White Beans: Replace the Italian sausage with a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans and chickpeas to add a hearty vegetarian protein boost. Add them with the potatoes and broth. 
  • Lentil and Mushroom: Swap the sausage for 1 cup of dry brown lentils and 250g of sliced cremini mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms with the onion and garlic before adding the lentils and broth. This earthy variation is packed with plant-based protein and fibre.
  • Tofu: Crumble 400g of extra-firm tofu and marinate it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sriracha for 15 minutes. Add it with the kale and plant-based milk for a quick protein addition.

Vegetable Variations

  • Roasted Butternut Squash: Dice 1 butternut squash, toss with olive oil and spices, and roast for 20 minutes before adding to the pot with the broth. This adds a touch of sweetness and creaminess.
  • Spinach and Artichokes: Replace the kale with 150g of baby spinach and a can of drained and rinsed artichoke hearts, quartered. This Mediterranean twist adds a briny depth of flavour.
  • Broccoli and Cheddar: Add 1 head of chopped broccoli florets with the potatoes and broth. Stir in 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast or dairy-free cheddar cheese shreds before serving for a cheesy broccoli soup twist.

Flavour Variations

  • Smoky: Add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika with the dried herbs for a smoky bacon-like flavour.
  • Spicy: Add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes with the salt and pepper for a kick of heat.
  • Lemon Garlic: Zest 1 lemon and add it with the garlic. Drizzle in some fresh lemon juice before serving for a bright and refreshing touch.
  • Roasted Garlic: Roast 5 cloves of garlic wrapped in foil at 200°C for 30 minutes. Mash them into the soup before serving for an intense garlic flavour.

Tips for Making Perfect Dairy-Free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

How to Make Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana That's Easy, Tasty, and Dairy-Free!
Zuppa Toscana

You should pay attention to some tips to create a dairy-free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana that’s rich in flavour, creamy in texture, and a satisfying alternative to the classic version with dairy.

  1. Opt for high-quality Italian sausage to infuse robust flavours into the soup. Look for varieties without added dairy or fillers.
  2. Don’t just sauté the sausage! Brown it in the Instant Pot before adding other ingredients to release rich, caramelised flavours.
  3. Roast potatoes, onions, or garlic for a deeper, nuttier flavour before adding them to the soup.
  4. Use russet potatoes for their starchy texture, which contributes to the soup’s thickness without the need for dairy.
  5. Mash a portion of the cooked potatoes before adding the kale and plant-based milk to create a natural thickening agent without affecting the flavour.
  6. Choose a flavourful broth. Vegetable broth with roasted vegetables or mushrooms adds more flavour than plain broth.
  7. Choose full-fat milk for creaminess without dairy. Shake the can well before using it to ensure a smooth consistency.
  8. Use cashew cream, almond milk, or coconut milk for a creamy texture. Each option offers a slightly different flavour profile, so choose based on your preference.
  9. Consider adding other starchy vegetables like butternut squash, parsnips, or even cooked white beans. These naturally thicken the soup while adding additional flavour and textures.
  10. Add kale at the end and let it wilt in the residual heat. Overcooked kale can become mushy, affecting the soup’s texture.
  11. The potatoes and greens will continue to cook slightly after pressure release, so be careful not to overcook them in step 3.
  12. For a cheesy flavour without dairy, sprinkle nutritional yeast into the soup. It adds a savoury and umami element.
  13. Herbs, like dried thyme, oregano, rosemary, or sage, add a burst of aroma and freshness. For an extra layer of flavour, toast the dried herbs in a skillet for a minute before adding them to the pot.
  14. A touch of acidity brightens the flavours. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of vinegar, or a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  15. Allow the soup to rest for a few minutes after cooking. Flavours meld and develop during this time.

Zuppa Toscana Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving your delicious dairy-free Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana, the goal is to create a warm and inviting presentation that complements the rich flavours and textures of the soup. Here are some ideas to inspire you.

  • A classic pairing, crusty bread like sourdough, baguette, or focaccia is perfect for dipping and soaking up the soup. You can even toast the slices for added crunch.
  • Fry thinly sliced shallots in olive oil until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle them over the soup for a delightful textural contrast.
  • Make your own garlicky breadsticks by brushing baguette slices with olive oil and garlic powder, then baking until golden brown. Dip them in the soup for a burst of flavour.
  • Add a touch of heat with homemade spicy croutons made by tossing cubes of bread with olive oil, chilli flakes, and herbs, then baking until crispy.
  • Garnish your soup with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley, basil, or oregano for an extra pop of flavour.
  • Add a light and refreshing contrast with a simple green salad drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. You can also add chopped nuts, seeds, or avocado for extra texture and flavour.
  • Elevate the meal with roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or sweet potato wedges. These add pops of colour, texture, and additional nutrients.
  • Top your soup with a scoop of cooked quinoa or brown rice for a boost of protein and fibre.
  • Get creative with your bowls! Choose bowls that are the right size and colour to showcase the vibrant soup. Rustic stoneware, colourful ceramic bowls, or even elegant white porcelain can all work depending on the desired ambience.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Zuppa Toscana

The Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana tastes even better the next day, so be sure to store any leftovers. However, properly storing and reheating it is important to maintain its taste and quality. Here are some guidelines to help you. 

  1. Leftover soup can be refrigerated in airtight containers or covered bowls for up to 3 days.
  2. To freeze the soup, let it cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. Label them with the date and contents for easy identification.
  3. When reheating the soup, thaw frozen portions overnight in the refrigerator before heating.
  4. For stovetop reheating, pour the desired amount of soup into a pot and warm over low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  5. In the microwave, transfer the soup to a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high in 1-minute intervals, stirring between each interval, until hot.
  6. If using an Instant Pot for reheating, place the leftover soup in the pot and select the “Soup” function for a quick warm-up.
  7. Remember to stir well before serving to distribute any settled ingredients evenly.


Finally, don’t be afraid to try different combinations of flavours and thickening techniques to find your perfect dairy-free Zuppa Toscana. If you want more Italian inspiration, check out the endless resources that our website offers.

For a refreshing contrast to the richness of Zuppa Toscana, delve into our vibrant collection of Italian green salads; each is a burst of freshness and flavour. As no meal is complete without delectable appetisers, we have another collection of Italian appetiser recipes ready to transport you to a cosy trattoria in the heart of Italy.

Buon appetito!

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