Vegan Butternut Squash Zuppa Toscana

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 32 votes

Vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana is a creamy, satiating, robustly flavoured, and autumnal twist on the classic Italian soup with plant-based sausage and cashew cream. Flavour from dried oregano and thyme, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and nutritional yeast makes for an ultra savoury profile.

An overhead shot shows a bowl of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana. The soup is creamy and pale orange in hue with chopped parsley, bits of cooked vegan veggie sausage, and kale. An antique spoon is sticking out of the bowl.

This recipe for stovetop-simmered vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana tastes as good as the original, with a unique Fall season twist. It combines a quick, homemade cashew cream with plant-based spicy Italian sausage, chopped kale, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, vegetable stock, and tender cubes of butternut squash for a rich and creamy vegan soup recipe that will satisfy all types of eaters. This pot of goodness comes together in one pot in about 1 hour.

An overhead shot shows a pot of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana. The soup is creamy and pale orange in hue with chopped parsley, bits of cooked vegan veggie sausage, and kale. A wooden spoon is sticking out of the pot.
An overhead shot shows a bowl of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana. The soup is creamy and pale orange in hue with chopped parsley, bits of cooked vegan veggie sausage, and kale. An antique spoon and a piece of crusty bread are sticking out of the bowl.
An overhead shot shows ingredients used in a vegan butternut squash zuppa Tosacana on a rough wooden board.
An overhead shot shows prepped ingredients for a vegan soup: chopped veggie sausage, cashew cream, minced garlic, chopped parsley, chopped onions, and minced sun dried tomatoes; all on a rough wooden board.
An overhead shot shows a hand emptying a bowl of spices into a pot with sautéed onions.

I love making a totally plant-based version of zuppa Toscana with vegan sausages, especially when I know that a cold snap is coming. I try to eat mostly whole foods when I can, but veggie sausages are a thing that I just crave sometimes. For this recipe, I recommend either Field Roasts’s Italian Garlic & Fennel or Beyond Meat’s Hot Italian options.

The inspiration for this recipe:

  • Zuppa Toscana translates to Tuscan soup. Of course there are many different styles of soup that are made in this region of Italy. When trying to learn about the origins of this soup, websites point to a variety of soups that include hearty greens, potatoes, sometimes beans, stale bread etc
  • But mostly, the popularity of The Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana seems to be what most recipes are pointing to when discussing this recipe. This is my inspiration as well.
  • The restaurant’s version (and recipes inspired by it) uses sausage, kale, potatoes, and a dairy-based creamy broth as the main components. I veganize this easily with veggie sausages and cashew cream.

For an extra Autumnal bowl of goodness, I used diced butternut squash in place of the potatoes. The sweetness of the squash plays off of the spice in the veggie sausages really nicely. If you want something that sticks to the original, replace the squash with chopped potatoes. The cooking time will be roughly the same.

Cashew cream gives us a lush texture, but 1 ¼ cups of your favourite unsweetened non-dairy creamer or rich, unsweetened oat milk (like this one) will work in a pinch. To give this vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana recipe deeply savoury flavour, the veggie sausages do a lot of heavy lifting. But I also use chopped sun dried tomatoes, garlic, nutritional yeast, dried herbs, and smoked paprika.

I hope that you enjoy making this next time you need a hearty soup to warm you up. Fans of this may also like my butternut minestrone with sage, chickpeas & chard, or community fave creamy white bean soup with kale, rosemary & lemon.

An overhead shot shows a hand emptying a bowl if minced sun dried tomatoes into a pot with sautéed onions and spices.
An overhead shot shows vegetable stock being poured into a pot with onions and butternut squash pieces.
An overhead shot shows bright white cashew cream being poured into a pot of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana
An up close, overhead shot shows a pot of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana. The soup is creamy and pale orange in hue with chopped parsley, bits of cooked vegan veggie sausage, and kale. A wooden spoon is sticking out of the pot.
An up close, overhead shot shows a bowl of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana. The soup is creamy and pale orange in hue with chopped parsley, bits of cooked vegan veggie sausage, and kale. An antique spoon and a piece of crusty bread are sticking out of the bowl.

Vegan Butternut Squash Zuppa Toscana

Vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana is a creamy, satiating, robustly flavoured, and autumnal twist on the classic Italian soup with plant-based sausage and cashew cream. Flavour from dried oregano and thyme, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and nutritional yeast makes for an ultra savoury profile.
5 from 32 votes
An overhead shot shows a bowl of vegan butternut squash zuppa Toscana. The soup is creamy and pale orange in hue with chopped parsley, bits of cooked vegan veggie sausage, and kale. An antique spoon is sticking out of the bowl.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 vegan veggie sausages (see notes), chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, minced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups chopped squash)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, plus extra
  • 4 cups chopped kale, lightly packed (from about 1 small bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • chopped parsley, for garnish

Notes

  • My favourite vegan sausages for this recipe are either Field Roasts’s Italian Garlic & Fennel or Beyond Meat’s Hot Italian options. I used the Beyond Meat ones in these photos.
  • If you have enough oil in your jar of sun dried tomatoes, I recommend using that instead of regular olive oil for the sautéing steps.
  • If you do not wish to make cashew cream as outlined in the recipe, I recommend using 1 ¼ cups unsweetened non-dairy creamer or a rich oat milk instead. Add it in step 5 (and obviously skip step 1).
  • If you want something that sticks to the original zuppa Toscana, replace the squash with chopped Yukon gold potatoes. The cooking time will be roughly the same. 

Instructions

  • Make the cashew cream. In an upright blender, combine the cashews and water. Blend until completely smooth–like a thick milk. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Swirl the oil around and add the chopped vegan sausages. Brown the sausages on all sides, breaking the pieces up a bit with your spoon. Once fully browned and cooked (after about 5 minutes), transfer the cooked sausage to a plate.
  • Add remaining olive oil to the pot and swirl. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, dried thyme, and dried oregano. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun dried tomatoes and stir again.
  • Add the chopped butternut squash and some big pinches of salt and pepper. Stir everything up and then pour in the vegetable stock. Place a lid on top of the pot, slightly askew to allow venting. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Once squash is tender, add the kale and simmer until it is soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add more stock (or water) if you need to at this point. Pour in the cashew cream from earlier and add the cooked veggie sausage. Stir. Bring to a boil and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Serve the butternut squash zuppa Toscana hot with chopped parsley and extra ground black pepper on top.
18/10/2023 (Last Updated 25/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, cashews, creamy, gluten free, kale, main course, refined sugar-free, salty, smoky, soup, spicy, tomatoes, umami, vegan, winter

30 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Sylvia

    5 stars
    Made this using pureed squash I had frozen last fall and 2 medium potatoes, diced. It was excellent. I will definitely make this again.

    • Laura Wright

      Love that you added potatoes! Thanks for this comment and review, Sylvia :)
      -L

  • S&P

    5 stars
    This was excellent, we made with almost no modifications except changed the cashew cream to a cashew milk we had on hand and used kale that I had dehydrated earlier in the week that were starting to get less crispy.

    Will absolutely make again.

    Thank you!

  • REGAN

    5 stars
    Yum! great recipe!

  • Stacey

    Hi Laura!

    This looks amazing and the reviews are great! I have one question. I am hosting a dinner party and am wondering if this can be made ahead and defrosted the night before or the morning of. Do you think it would be just as wonderful? I’m trying to balance the amount of preparation I have for the dinner overall with wanting this to be delicious for my non-vegan-eating guests.

    Thank you!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Stacey,
      It’s totally fine to make this ahead of time and freeze it. I would skip adding the kale and parsley if you are doing this though! Just add them to the pot when you’re reheating it and serving guests.
      -L

  • Linda

    Well-developed recipe, really delicious. I’ll make this one again. Thank you.

  • Mike

    5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe. I’ve already made it twice since I found it a month ago.

  • Jesseline G

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe Laura! I used the Field Roast spicy chorizo sausages, and omg it was so delish. Sweet and spicy and perfect. Thank you for the work you do to create easy, wholesome and flavourful recipes. I am on your blog, or leafing through your cookbook weekly.

  • Kathleen

    5 stars
    Laura, you’re a scary-good recipe writer! This one checked all the boxes for me and my omnivore partner. I’m a little lazy, so I used my food processor for the onions and then for the sun-dried tomatoes as well. I was thinking of adding a can of beans, before deciding to make it as written. It came out hearty and full of flavor. I didn’t have parsley in the house so I improvised by adding thinly sliced scallions and dill. Worked great.

  • Samuel

    5 stars
    That was far better than I expected!! Stoked to try your other recipes now :)

  • Casey

    5 stars
    Delicious and satisfying! I added some pasta to make this extra hearty. I made this for picky eaters and everyone enjoyed it. I think I’ll add a little more heat next time. Another great recipe, Laura!

    • Laura Wright

      Sounds amazing with pasta, Casey! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for leaving this review :)
      -L

  • Valerie

    5 stars
    So delicious and satisfying! I will definitely be adding this to the regular rotation!

  • Karen

    5 stars
    Delish! The whole family cleaned their bowls.

  • Lorissa

    5 stars
    This was so fantastic! I used Beyond Meat Hot Italian sausage and I did not add any extra oil and I loved the flavors so so so much. I was not expecting a full on party in my mouth! Thank you so much, Laura!

    • Laura Wright

      Haha, it really is a flavour party! Thanks for this review, Lorissa.
      -L

  • Kristina

    5 stars
    This soup is so good. It’s hardy and a little spicy from the sausage with the right amount of sweet from the squash and sundried tomatoes. We are making this again this weekend!

    • Laura Wright

      Really glad that you’re enjoying it, Kristina!
      -L

  • Elizabeth

    5 stars
    This soup is amazingly delicious! I’ve already made it twice. I’m generally not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes, but here they really work to add to the deep savoriness of the soup without really being noticeable. This soup is so satisfying and nutritious. It feels like a complete meal on its own (although a little bread on the side never hurts, haha), and it’s super comforting. I’ll be making it again and again!

  • AMC

    Perhaps it’s just my unsophisticated palette (sweet tooth), but I found that adding a bit of sweetness really enhanced this a lot! I tried honey in one bowl and a pinch of brown sugar in another.

    • Laura Wright

      I think sweetness would be great here! I’ve been favouring the sweeter honey nut squash over classic butternut in general, but also in this recipe, so I’m with you! :)
      -L

      • AMC

        And to be clear, it was delicious either way. What a gift you give us all with such consistently wonderful recipes!

  • Vegan4Life

    5 stars
    This really hit the spot! That broth + cream + chunky faux sausage, squash & kale = chef’s kiss! The only thing I did differently was add less vegan cream, about 1 cup, because that’s all I had. I used the Italian Field Roast faux sausage. I will definitely make this again. Thank you, Laura.

    Ps. I agree the state of the world can be utterly depressing but escaping into the kitchen to make wholesome meals can be a respite/good for the soul.

  • Christina Dale

    5 stars
    This is so delicious that you would swear it was cream-based. You could actually full your family and friends. I am just dipping my toe into the Vegan world and I’m really impressed with how this came out. I ended up using twice the amount of broth. I use the first 4 cups as directed, but then there was plenty more that was able to fit into the pot so I used an additional 4 cups. I also used a little extra kale which I guess is why it stretched out so much. And I added some cayenne at the end just to give it a little bit more of a kick. I might add mushrooms the next time I make it. It does need a good amount of salt , but other than that, it is absolutely a winner.

  • KNicole

    5 stars
    Forgot to add my star rating!

  • KNicole

    I loved this soup! I cheated though cuz I am not vegan and don’t have all the vegan meats, milks and stuff in my house. I made it with chorizo sausage, half and half cream and chicken stock. It is amazing! Thanks also for making your recipes so adaptable and giving suggestions in the notes. This soup is hearty enough to have all on its own as it has all the elements. I bet if you made it the day before, the flavours would be even richer.

  • Brenda Nejedlo

    5 stars
    This is delicious!!!! Easy to put together with superb results. Used Lacinato kale, as it was on sale, and I bought pre-chopped butternut squash, as the store was out of it. This would also be good with a spicy sausage, for a bit of a kick! Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Jen

    5 stars
    I made this tonight. It was absolutely fabulous! The only tiny change I made was to use an immersion blender after the squash was soft, to blend a small amount of the soup. After that I added the kale and continued with the recipe as written. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. I look forward to whatever you create next!

  • Lorraine Pyle

    5 stars
    The combination of spices in this soup were fantastic. For our family it is ‘Press Repeat’.