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overhead view of a bowl of vegan pesto zuppa toscana

Pesto Zuppa Toscana

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This recipe for Vegan Pesto Zuppa Toscana is a hearty and cozy meal that's totally vegan! Inspired by the Olive Garden favorite, "Tuscan Soup" is a perfect weeknight dinner full of protein and nutrients. 


Units Scale
  • 1/3 cup cashew pieces
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 block of tempeh, crumbled (optional, white beans work well as a substitute)
  • 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced into thin pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup pesto, homemade or store bought (I like Trader Joe's Cashew Pesto)
  • 8 small red potatoes (or 2-3 medium-size russets), chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or 3 cups full sodium broth + 3 cups water)
  • 5 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar


  1. Begin by preparing cashew cream. To a high-speed blender, add cashews and 1 cup water. Blend until creamy. If you do not have a high speed blender, let the cashews soak in 1 cup of hot water for a little while until they are slightly softened. Set aside. This is our "cashew cream."
  2. To a large pot on the stove, add olive oil over medium heat. Add tempeh pieces and let brown for 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add tamari/soy sauce. You want the tempeh to take on some color. Add a splash of water if it begin to stick (this will also help steam out any bitterness from your tempeh).
  3. Add to the pot the chopped onion and celery. Stir to combine and add a pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper. Let cook for 5 more minutes until onion is golden. Add garlic, red pepper, and pesto and cook 1 minute more.
  4. To this pot, toss in your chopped potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and let cook for 6-9 minutes, until potatoes are soft enough to be pierced with a fork.
  5. Remove from heat and add in reserved cashew cream, kale, lemon juice. Taste and see if you'd like to add more salt or lemon.


Soup can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 days.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Soup
  • Cuisine: Italian-American


  • Serving Size: One sixth of recipe
  • Calories: 277.4 calories
  • Sugar: 4.5 grams
  • Sodium: 359.2 milligrams
  • Fat: 17.5 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 3.1 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 14.4 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 21.8 grams
  • Fiber: 4.2 grams
  • Protein: 12.1 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams