Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gluten and Dairy Free Zuppa Toscana

This recipe was one of my first triumphs against food intolerance. I am pretty sure that everyone who has been told that they should stay away from a particular food starts making a mental list of all the things that they can not have. Even though I was not all that upset when I found out that I would need to avoid casein in addition to the gluten which I had already stopped eating, I did start that list. Lasagna was the first item on the list, closely followed by cheese enchiladas. Surprisingly, I was okay with that. Then, however, I thought about zuppa toscana. My heart dropped a little. Zuppa toscana is a household favorite. Everyone enjoys it, and it is simple to prepare, not an easy thing to accomplish.

Over the next few weeks as I wrote up menus and did the grocery shopping, I found myself pondering what substitutions I could make to the original recipe to replace the heavy cream. Soy creamer was a possibility, as well as making extra-thick almond milk. I ended up using canned coconut milk, and I think I actually prefer my casein-free version more than the original.

  • 2 lb. bulk Italian sausage (check the label to make sure it is gluten-free)
  • 2 large potatoes (I use really large ones from Costco, so if you have smaller ones, just chop up how much you want)
  • 2 Tbsp. Better than Bouillon Chicken Base (or equivalent bouillon cubes)
  • 8-9 cups of water
  • 1 bunch kale (about 9 cups chopped)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour (not absolutely necessary if you don't have it, but does thicken up the broth nicely)
In a large pot, brown the sausage and drain the excess fat. Remove the pot from the heat while you skin the potatoes and thinly slice them. If the potatoes have a large diameter, you may want to cut the potato in half lengthwise before making the thin slices....trying to eat an enormous piece of potato is not an attractive look for anyone. :) Add the potatoes to the pot and cover with water. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour with a small amount of water, then add to the pot. Add in the chicken flavoring, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

While waiting for the potatoes to cook through, wash and coarsely tear the kale. Ripping up the kale is a great job for little helpers, just make sure that the coarse stem doesn't accidentally make its way into the soup pot. Princess really likes helping with the kale.

Drop the kale into the pot and stir it around a bit. Pour in the entire can of coconut milk and stir until it is fully blended. Simmer for about 5 more minutes and serve.