Postpartum Meals Series: Zuppa Toscana

written by: Lo Mansfield, RN, MSN, CLC

When all of my kids were born, I was blessed with a ton of meals. If you have never had or don’t participate in MealTrains, you need to start! A postpartum meal, after a death, after a surgery – there is just no sweeter blessing to receive or give than hot, fresh food you didn’t have to create yourself.

When it comes to postpartum recipes – have you heard of the book: The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother? The book is based off of the idea of zuo yuezi, or a set period of “confinement.” Inside, it has a ton of support, guidance, and direction about the art of healing a mother after birth, particularly through her diet. It’s full of soup recipes, as well as other foods and snacks, and I just love it’s emphasis on slowing down and honoring what both mama and baby need. I highly recommend it!

bowl of zuppa toscana soup postpartum meal

Who is The Labor Mama and Why Am I Here? 

Hey friend! I’m Lo – also known around here and social media as The Labor Mama. I’ve spent my nursing career in labor, delivery, and postpartum, have birthed 3 of my own babies, have labored thousands of mamas at the bedside, have taught hundreds of students online, and have even delivered a few speedy little babies with my bare hands (oops).

Here at TLM, I offer online birth classes to empower you the way everyone should be. The education + support I offer gives you experience, evidence, and empathy; you’re getting all of my years of “clinical” RN knowledge, beautifully combined with my real experiences as a mama and a nurse. These are not your hospital birth classes (those won’t do it, I promise), and honestly, birth doesn’t follow a textbook or protocol anyway – you need to know so much more than that.

If you want to connect with me further, head to Instagram. There are hundreds of thousands of us over there learning together daily.

A favorite postpartum soup recipe

My first daughter was born in November, so we got a lot of soups and hearty comfort food meals in the weeks after her birth. Some variation of this soup showed up three times on our porch, but there is a good reason for that! The combination of sausage, potatoes, and veggies is enough to satisfy the man who says soup isn’t a meal (ahem, my brother-in-law, Michael), but it also feels light and fresh. Apparently, this is a knock-off of an Olive Garden soup → but honestly, this is so good that I have zero desire to try theirs!

Kelvin happily ate all three of those versions that showed up those first weeks of her life and we have added it to our repertoire repeatedly every Winter since. It’s also become my go-to for those Winter MealTrain drop offs. I just brought it to a new mama of a sweet baby girl a couple of weeks ago and immediately got the “this is so good, can I have the recipe?” text that I have now come to expect.

Ok, let’s get you to the recipe ⇩


Source: Emily Bites


  • 4 diced uncooked strips bacon
  • 1 lb Italian poultry sausage (I use chicken sausage)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ lbs baby yellow potatoes, cubed (bite-sized)
  • 3 oz baby spinach
  • 1 ½ C fat free half and half
  • S + P, to taste


  1. Bring a skillet to medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook the bacon until it starts to sizzle and then stir occasionally, continuing to cook it until the bacon pieces are crisp. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel and dispose of the bacon grease. (You can also bake your bacon in the oven). Chop when cooled.
  2. Bring a stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the sausage. Once the meat starts to break apart, add the onion and garlic and stir together. Continue to cook while breaking up meat and stirring regularly until sausage is cooked through and onions are softened.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the stock pot and increase heat until broth comes to a boil. Add in the cubed potatoes and wait for the soup to return to a boil. Reduce the heat back to medium and allow to boil approximately 10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. 
  4. Stir in the baby spinach for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Stir in the half and half and allow to heat through another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve hot and garnish with the chopped bacon, shredded parmesan cheese, and crusty bread.

Recipe Notes

  • Cheese Rinds: If you think about it, freeze your Parmesan cheese rinds when you get to the end of a block! When you are making a soup like this, throw those rinds in the pot and let them infuse all kinds of flavor. I leave them in while making the soup, and then toss them out when the cook time is done and it’s time to serve.
  • Freezing Leftovers: I think that this soup saves well in the refrigerator, but I don’t always love the ways the potatoes freeze. I’ve definitely frozen it before, but I do prefer eating it fresh/within a few days.

Other favorite postpartum recipes:

Pasta Fagioli

Chop Chop Salad

Lactation Cookies

If you are taking this Zuppa Toscana to a postpartum mama, don’t forget to bring that parmesan cheese for topping, a simple side caesar (or the chop-chop), and some fresh, crusty bread! I also like to keep the bacon on the side so they can add it as they want.

Try this, let me know what you think, and/or any modifications you’ve made! I think there are a lot of ways to get creative with this recipe. xx – Lo

fresh, steamy zuppa toscana soup for a postpartum mom

More resources (and freebies!) for you to take a peek at:

A note: This post may include affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will earn a small commission (thank you)! Rest assured, this comes at no additional cost to you. You can read TLM’s full disclosure here.

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About the Author

Lo Mansfield RN, MSN, CLC, is a specialty-certified registered nurse + certified lactation consultant in obstetrics, postpartum, and fetal monitoring who is passionate about families understanding their integral role in their own stories. She is the owner of The Labor Mama and creator of the The Labor Mama online courses. She is also a mama of four a University of Washington graduate (Go Dawgs), and is recently back in the US after 2 years abroad in Haarlem, NL.


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