This Chicken Gnocchi Soup is better than Olive Garden! Loaded with tender chicken, chunks of vegetables, spinach in a creamy, flavorful broth – don’t forget the crusty bread!
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So over the last couple years as our girls are getting older, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of taking them out on dates a little more often.
Whenever we’re in the city, Olive Garden is our extra special spot to go for lunch, and every time — without fail — I have to have the unlimited soup and breadsticks.
Now, I love them all: the Zuppa Toscana (see my Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana here), the Minestrone (see my Minestrone soup here), the Pasta e Fagioli — but a good chunky, creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup will always have my heart.
The thing is, the last couple times I’ve been there I’ve just been so disappointed in what Olive Garden is calling “Chicken Gnocchi Soup” these days — I feel like a more accurate name would be “Thin Creamy Broth with One Carrot, One Piece of Spinach and Two Gnocchi’.
It doesn’t have the same ring, does it?
Instead of the thin, disappointing Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup, in this soup you’ll get plenty of:
- flavor! All those veggies add a ton of it
- tender chunks of chicken — that cooks right in the soup, making it tender and lending more flavor to the broth!
- pillowy soft gnocchi
- and enough creamy broth to soak up with your favorite breadsticks 😉
Plus, you get the added benefit of making your house smell amazing in the meantime 😉
This soup is so simple to make, and I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to make it even easier:
- Saute your onion, celery and carrots in a great big dutch oven or soup pot
- Add your spices and seasonings — cooking them first in the dry pot wakes up their flavor!
- Add your broth, raw chicken breasts or thighs (you read that right!), and other vegetables — I use a bag of matchstick carrots to make this even easier.
- Cook it until the chicken and vegetables are tender, then stir in some cream, gnocchi, spinach and a big sprinkling of Parmesan — let it cook just until the gnocchi is tender.
- Serve it up! Don’t forget the bread 😉
This Chicken Gnocchi Soup is also easy to make in the slow cooker if you need to plan ahead!
Simply saute your onion, celery and spices as the recipe originally calls for (if you’re really in a time crunch or hate dishes, you can skip this part, but you’ll get the best results this way).
Add the chicken and other vegetables to the crockpot with the broth, and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Shred the chicken and add in the gnocchi, cream, spinach and Parmesan and cook another 20-30 minutes.
One of the great things about this soup is it makes great leftovers! The flavor continues to develop as it sits so it’s perfect for making ahead.
In the refrigerator:
You can store this soup in the refrigerator up to 4 days in an airtight container.
In the freezer:
You can freeze this soup in freezer safe containers (I prefer to freeze mine in large freezer bags, frozen flat, so that it thaws quickly!), leaving an inch or two of space in the container at the top.
Freeze up to 3 months.
To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in a pot on the stovetop on low.
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- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery finely chopped
- 1 cup carrot matchsticks (or finely chopped carrots)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2" pieces (or whole, see recipe instructions)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 3 cups small gnocchi (500g)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot, add oil and cook onion, celery and carrots over medium-high heat until slightly softened.
- Add parsley, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and stir.
- Add chicken breasts (if you prefer, you can add them whole, and shred them after cooking) and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- Whisk together cream and corn starch and stir into the soup with the gnocchi. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes until gnocchi is tender and soup is slightly thickened.
- Stir in spinach and Parmesan and serve.
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