Haley Homemaker: Healthy(ish) Zuppa Toscana Soup

Welcome back, or for those of you that are new to my column, welcome! My name is Haley Hogoboom; I partnered with Watershed Voice and started this Haley Homemaker column back in May of 2020. I had so much fun being your weekly source of yummy food; I even threw in a cleaning hack. I got a little busy for a bit, but now I am back. You should expect to see something from me on the last Friday of each month. I’m excited to get back in the saddle and keep yummy food recipes coming your way. 

This months recipe is something I’ve seen floating around on the internet a lot lately. If you haven’t made a homemade Zuppa Toscana you’re not going to want to sleep on this! I started making this version of the soup many years ago and it’s now become a winter time staple in our home. It’s so hearty, filling and packed with tons of nutrient dense ingredients. Some would call this a “paleo” version. Just a way to keep it a little healthier for those of you with New Year’s Resolutions, but feel free to sub out some of the ingredients if you have a different preference—heavy cream instead of coconut milk, white potatoes instead of sweet. 

However, I feel that this combo is pretty perfect if I do say so myself. 

I really hope you make and enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and don’t forget: tag me/use the hashtag #haleyhomemaker so I can see it. Let me know your thoughts! 


  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (approx. 3 cups cubed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 3 cloves of garlic 
  • 6 cups stock (Make your own with the tips below, or substitute store-bought)
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper


Making homemade veggie stock is an easy process. That being said, it does take some planning ahead. I keep a gallon size freezer bag in my freezer at all times. Every time I chop up veggies, I toss the scraps in the bag and pop it back in the freezer. Onion skins, broccoli stems, carrot peels, etc; can all be added to this bag. Once the bag is full, dump the scraps in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. I usually simmer for about an hour. When done, strain the broth and use it in any recipe that calls for veggie broth!


  • Store the broth in the fridge for up to a week.
  • To use the broth at a later date you can pour it into an ice cube tray. Freeze the cubes then toss them in a gallon size freezer bag for up to 6 months! When you need to add a little extra flavor to a dish you can just take out a few of the cubes and toss them in a pan or use them for a soup later. 


  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, brown the Italian sausage and add the crushed red pepper. When cooked through, drain and set aside. 
  2. Chop the bacon and throw it in the same pot over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Do NOT strain the bacon grease.
  3. Chop the onion, garlic and sweet potatoes. (You can peel the potatoes if you prefer, but I leave the skins on.) 
  4. Sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining bacon grease left in the pot. After sautéing for a few minutes—add the cubed sweet potatoes, oregano, basil and salt and pepper to taste. You’ll want to sauté a little longer to get a bit of color on all your veggies.
  5. Pour the stock into the pot without removing the onion, garlic and potatoes. 
  6. Simmer for 10-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. 
  7. Reduce heat and add the sausage and coconut milk, warm through. 
  8. Add the cooked bacon and chopped kale right before serving. Before turning off the heat, let it sit long enough so that the kale is softened and bright green in color. 
  9. Add the juice of 1 lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this yummy, hearty and healthy soup however you like to enjoy your favorite soups; maybe with your favorite crusty bread!

I hope you get a chance to make this soon! If you do, reach out and let me know what you thought. Follow me on instagram @haley.homemaker for more yummy food inspiration. 

Haley Hogoboom