Word on the street is Olive Garden makes a pretty bomb Zuppa Toscana and there are a lot of copycat recipes out there to prove it. However, this recipe is inspired by a bomb-ass Zuppa Toscano that I had on our trip to Fredericksburg, TX almost two years ago. This delicious bowl of soup was at The Black Pig Café way off the beaten path. It’s a stationary food truck about a 20 minute drive from Main St. in the middle of the Texas hill country and the owner, Edie, is who I want to be when I’m older – set up shop where you want, feed people, and watch them leave with smiles on their faces.

Writing about this trip two years later makes me smile because we decided to go last minute, had to rearrange our plans due to weather, rolled with the punches and had a great time!

We worked up an appetite by waking up early Saturday morning and headed up to Enchanted Rock for a quick hike. Hung out for a couple hours, explored the Rock and enjoyed the views it had to offer. It started to get too crowded so we headed down and were on our way to The Black Pig!

We got there right when they opened, it’s nothing fancy, but that’s beyond the point. Edie greeted us, offered us some coffee, walked us through her menu, and gave her recommendations. Spencer got the fried catfish. I wanted everything, but went with the roasted garlic & goat cheese crostini and, the reason for this post, her soup of the day – Zuppa Toscano. As Edie described it, “…Like the Olive Garden! But mine’s better.” #truth

We loved it all! The fried catfish was so light and not greasy at all. The roasted garlic & goat cheese – no explanation needed. The soup? I wanted two more servings. Spencer was taking one too many bites and I threated him with my plastic knife. We ended with a slice of blackberry cheesecake, while I don’t normally like cheesecake, that slice was the exception. This was my favorite meal of the trip. The atmosphere, the food, and Edie make The Black Pig so memorable. She came out and talked with us since no one else was there and just made us feel at home. We saw Petunia, her 400 lb pig, and hung out with Wendell the cat.

Wendell getting some Spencer-time

We left with happy bellies and spirits, only wishing we didn’t live so far so we could go there every weekend. I love that food can just bring people together, even in the middle of nowhere. Edie does just that. If you’re ever down in Fredericksburg, make some time to drive on over to the Black Pig for some delicious food and great company. Also, it’s BYOB, so you’re in no hurry to leave! You won’t regret it. And if you do, I didn’t suggest it to you.

I could go on and on about this trip, but back to the soup! Normally, Zuppa Toscana is cream based, I wanted to try and lighten it up a bit, but also didn’t want to sacrifice that thick & creamy consistency. Enter, cauliflower + coconut milk! Pureed cauliflower provides a nice thickness and coconut milk brings in the creaminess. By roasting the cauliflower and garlic (ode to the roasted garlic from the Black Pig), you’re just adding a welcomed layer of flavor. Bonus points if you’re doing Whole30 or follow a paleo diet, this is a great recipe to try! (Tastes good too. Hahaha.) Just use ingredients that fall within your plan, which should be relatively easy as I do not have anything that cannot be substituted.

If you give this recipe a try and post it, please share it with me by tagging @swanninthekitchen on Instagram! I’d love to see your creations!

And don’t forget – The Black Pig!

Happy cooking!





  • 1 Tbl. preferred cooking fat (olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, ghee, etc.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 4-5 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed (can use ground turkey or ground pork as a substitute)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, or more to taste if you’re brave!
  • About 1-1.5 lbs unpeeled potatoes of your choice (Russet, Yukon Gold, red, etc.), thinly sliced quarters
  • 5 oz. fresh kale, stems removed & chopped
  • 6 c. chicken broth (homemade, or try this organic free range, lower sodium chicken broth)
  • 6-8 oz of canned full fat coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Toss cauliflower florets and garlic cloves in cooking fat and spread onto a baking sheet.
Bake about 25 minutes, until browned and tender, stirring halfway through. Don’t worry about the charred bits, they’ll add more flavor!
While the cauliflower is baking, heat a soup pot on medium-high heat.
Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Leaving the bacon fat in the pot, lower heat to medium and add in the sliced potatoes – sauté for 5-7 minutes, allowing them to brown and partially cook. Remove from pot into a medium bowl and set aside.
Add in the Italian sausage and begin to break up the sausage.
When the fat has begun to cook out of the meat, add in the chopped onions, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.
Once sausage is cooked through, lower the heat and follow one of the two processes to finish the soup…

If you have a hand immersion blender:
Remove the sausage from the pot and put into the same bowl as the potatoes.
Place the roasted cauliflower and garlic into the pot, add in about 2 cups of chicken broth. Blend roasted cauliflower and garlic until it’s a relatively smooth consistency. If you want some chunks, feel free to leave some chunks!
Add the remaining broth, sausage, potatoes, kale, lemon juice and coconut milk.
Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

No immersion blender:
Leave sausage in pot, adding back potatoes and kale.
Add about 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
Place roasted cauliflower and garlic into a food processor or blender, add in about 1 cup of chicken broth. Pulse/blend until smooth, adding in chicken broth as needed. When you’ve reached your desired consistency, add the cauliflower/garlic mixture, lemon juice and coconut milk to the pot. Stir until everything is well incorporated.
Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.
To serve, top with crispy bacon pieces!

1 comment on “Zuppa Toscano”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *