This creamy Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana soup has an extra pack of protein with the addition of cannellini beans. Together, the white beans and pork blend seamlessly with milk and pecorino cheese make a soup hearty enough for a filling winter meal. Kale adds a punch of extra fiber too.
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What Is Zuppa Toscana
Zuppa Toscana is a popular Italian-American soup made with a base of cream, potatoes, sausage, and kale. It’s a hearty winter soup, sort of like pasta fagioli.
Making Zuppa Toscana in the Instant Pot, or electric pressure cooker, makes the whole process a lot more easy to make. This means you can have a hearty soup perfect for the winter in a little over 30 minutes.
Is Zuppa Toscana Authentic Italian?
Zuppa Toscana translates from Italian into English as Tuscan soup. Tuscany is in central Italy and is the region surrounding Florence. The cuisine in Tuscany is different from the cuisine in southern Italy, which most Americans are familiar with. Southern Italian cuisine, from Sicily and Naples is very heavy on tomato – think ziti with red sauce and pizza.
Tuscan food tends to be more based on rustic meats, truffles, cream and cheese. It’s more similar to the food from our favorite Italian region, Emilia Romagna, rather than Naples.
This soup is probably most recognizable to Americans because it features on the Olive Garden menu. I’ve never had this soup in Italy, to be honest. I’ve had ribolitta, which is probably the most similar and is popular in Florence. That said, there’s nothing wrong with making an Italian American dish that is not traditionally Italian!
What Makes This Zuppa Toscana Different
This version of Instant Pot Tuscan soup is a bit different. We add cannellini beans, or white beans, to beef up the recipe a bit. I do this, in part, to stretch the dish and to use less meat. The white beans also make the soup even more creamy! Cannellini beans are also common in northern and central Italian cooking.
The other thing that makes this a little different is that we make the soup in an Instant Pot. This speeds up the process. Using canned beans instead of dried beans also speeds up the cooking time.
We have the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1. It has a six-quart capacity, which is more than enough to cook for two people or for a small group. There is also an 8-quart option for families. For this recipe, use the pressure cook function.
Check out our other Italian-inspired recipes:
Ingredients For Zuppa Toscana With Cannellini Beans
Sausage And Bacon
Yes, we use the cannellini beans to cut back on the meat, but we are not vegetarian – particularly when bacon is involved. This Tuscan soup recipe calls for thick-cut bacon or pancetta. It also includes Italian sausage. You can remove the sausage from the casing, or just cut it into pieces. I cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces because that’s how Eric likes it. Either one is fine.
Seasoning, Spices, And Vegetables
Almost every bean recipe on this blog includes salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to add a good amount of salt, even a teaspoon or more. Salt doesn’t make food salty, it helps bring all the flavors together. And, it is better to add salt while cooking rather than at serving because the salt is able to interact with all of the other ingredients.
Other spices include ground cumin, which adds an earthy or nutty flavor to the soup and dried oregano, which adds an Italian flavoring. If you don’t have oregano, then dried Italian seasoning will also work.
Vegetables for this Tuscan soup include a small yellow onion and garlic, both diced or minced. Russet or baking potatoes should be peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks. If the pieces are too small, they will dissolve. All of this is cooked in chicken or vegetable broth.
Ingredients To Finish Off The Tuscan Soup In The Instant Pot
All of the above ingredients are either sauteed in the Instant Pot or cooked with the pressure cook function. When the time is up, add a touch of crushed red chili pepper flakes to give a bit of heat. If you don’t like spicy food, just skip the chili pepper.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice brightens up the dish, along with the white beans, cream, and grated parmesan or pecorino cheese. Finally, roughly chopped kale adds extra fiber as well as color to this Italian-inspired soup.
How To Make Zuppa Toscana In The Instant Pot
Using The Saute Function
Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Add the bacon pieces and cook until crisp and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the bacon and put to the side.
Add the sausage to the Instant Pot and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the pink starts to disappear. The sausage does not need to be cooked all the way through. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
Add about ½ cup of the chicken broth and use a flat wooden spoon to deglaze the Instant Pot by scraping up all the brown bits. This is important to prevent the bottom of the pot from giving a burn notice. Add the potatoes, sauce, cumin, oregano, and the remaining chicken broth and stir well.
Using The Pressure Cooking Function
Close and seal the Instant Pot. Use the Pressure Cook setting and set the time for 8 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the white beans, kale, and parmesan. When the time is up on the Instant Pot, manually release the steam using a towel or oven mitt. Carefully remove the lid away from the face.
Finishing The Soup In The Instant Pot
Place the Instant Pot on the saute function. Add the lemon juice and crushed red pepper and stir. Stir in the white beans, kale, cream, and parmesan. Cook until the kale is wilted and the white beans are warmed through. Add the bacon from the first step and stir through. Reserve some bacon for garnish if you want.
- 5 slices of thick bacon, diced
- ½ pound of Italian sausage, cut into pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 medium-sized potatoes (Russet or baking potato), peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed (add after)
- 2-3 cups Kale, thick stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream or whole milk
- ½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino
- Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Add the bacon pieces and cook until crisp and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the bacon and put it to the side.
- Add the sausage and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to brown.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
- Turn the Instant Pot off (cancel). Add about ½ cup of the chicken broth and use a flat wooden spoon to deglaze the instant pot by scraping up all the brown bits. This is important to prevent the bottom of the pot from giving a burn notice.
- Add the potatoes, cumin, oregano, and remaining chicken broth and stir well. Close and seal the Instant Pot.
- Use the Pressure Cook setting and set the time for 8 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the white beans, kale, and parmesan.
- When the time is up on the Instant Pot, manually release the steam using a towel or oven mitt. Carefully remove the lid away from the face. Place the Instant Pot on the saute function.
- Add the lemon juice and crushed red pepper and stir. Stir in the white beans, kale, cream, and parmesan. Cook until the kale is wilted and the white beans are warmed through.
- Add the bacon from the first step and stir through. Perhaps save some of the bacon to add as a garnish.
- Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese or roughly chopped parsley with crusty bread.
If you are unfamiliar with Instant Pot cooking, please see the notes above.
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How To Serve Italian Zuppa Toscana
Serve Zuppa Toscana topped with additional shredded parmesan cheese or roughly chopped parsley with crusty bread. The soup will last 4-5 days in the fridge. Just reheat on the stovetop or even in the microwave. When reheating, add a bit more fresh kale or another squeeze of lemon to freshen it up.