Period Food Recipe: Zuppa Toscana

Period Food Recipe: Zuppa Toscana

By Bittina Erickson

At my house, we call this “Kale Soup” and it’s my version of the classic Zuppa Toscana. I like to sneak in extra veggies when I can, and I see no reason not to even if the traditional recipe doesn’t call for them. This is one of my favorite soups to make in the cold winter months here in the PNW, and one of my go-to dishes to bring to the people I love. It is hearty and healthy. Modifications for dairy- or gluten-free restrictions can be made, which tend to be the most common ones I work with. January is off to a bit of a crazy start but I have a feeling we have better days ahead. I hope all of you enjoy your January box and it helps you Go With The Flow. Until we “meet” again. Give yourself some grace and eat those veggies.


  • ½ - 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 4 strips Bacon
  • ½ Sweet Onion, Diced
  • 3-4 small white potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 carrot, “peeled” into ribbons
  • 4 Mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2-3 leaves Kale, chopped
  • 1 C Whole Milk or Canned Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan Cheese
  • Chicken Broth or Bullion
  • Salt


Slice the potatoes thin and boil them in chicken broth or water with bullion in a medium saucepot. While potatoes are cooking, cook your 4 slices of bacon in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Save a little bit of the bacon grease to use later. Next, add the Italian sausage to the bottom of your soup pot and cook until browned. Dice the onion, and add to the sausage, cook until translucent, adding a bit of the bacon grease and then the garlic.

By now your potatoes should be almost done, and you can add them (liquid and all) into the soup pot. At this point, depending on how big of a batch of soup you want or how much room you have in your soup pot, add about 3 more cups of broth. Next, add the carrot ribbons, mushrooms, and chopped kale. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the kale and mushrooms are no longer stiff. Reduce the heat to low and add the milk and nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and cook for a few more minutes. Personally, I like to add the nutritional yeast while it’s cooking, and then a bit of parmesan to finish the dish when I serve it.

When you are ready to serve, top with chopped bacon and parmesan if desired.

I typically use only ½ a lb of sausage when making this dish and use it as an excuse to make another Italian dish the next day or day after, but if you want some extra protein - go ahead and use the full pound.

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