Did you feel it in the air this morning too? Cooler weather is on its way, which means more nights for cozy Chicken Gnocchi Soup!
This recipe is sponsored by DeLallo.
A rich, thick, and creamy soup made with plump rounds of gnocchi, tender chunks of chicken, and a sneaky number of vegetables that we can keep our little secret, this is a healthy take on the Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup that was the pinnacle of my high school fine dining experience.
When you are 15, does it get much better than soup made with primarily heavy cream and a side of all-you-can-eat breadsticks to go with it?
Only if you order the chicken alfredo too! (Check out this Chicken Alfredo Bake for a healthy spin).
Fast forward a couple of decades, and here I am, craving the comfort of chicken gnocchi soup but without the caloric heft.
That’s where this lightened-up chicken gnocchi soup recipe comes in:
- Like the Olive Garden original that inspired it, this soup is decadently creamy and will warm your belly and your soul on even the chilliest night.
- Unlike the original, this chicken gnocchi soup is made of lighter ingredients including spinach, carrots, chicken breast, potato gnocchi, and evaporated milk in place of heavy cream.
What is Gnocchi?
Although gnocchi is commonly thought of as a pasta, gnocchi is actually a potato dumpling.
Like pasta, you can serve it with a variety of sauces and toppings, and of course, use it to make the most delicious spin on chicken soup (for a traditional version with pasta, try this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.)
How to Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup
This soup is filling, so a moderately sized bowl will tuck you in.
It comes together fast enough to be weeknight appropriate.
And what weeknight wouldn’t benefit from a steaming bowl of pure comfort?
Clearly, we need to make this tonight!
- Gnocchi. To make this soup fast and easy enough for a weeknight, we are using ready-made, quick-cooking gnocchi. Quality matters. Good gnocchi is melt-in-your-mouth tender; bad gnocchi is chewy and gummy. Don’t waste your time on bad gnocchi.
- Chicken Breast. For lean protein, I used boneless, skinless chicken breast. The chicken adds rich flavor to the soup and helps make it super satisfying.
- Carrots + Celery + Onion. Frequently referred to as a mirepoix, this combination of ingredients helps build the soup’s flavor right from the start. Plus, they’re all good for you too!
- Evaporated Milk + Cornstarch. My sneaky swap both for heavy cream AND to avoid having to make a roux is to create a slurry with evaporated milk and cornstarch. It thickens the soup and will fool you into thinking you made the soup with heavy cream.
- Spices. Italian seasoning, dried thyme, and poultry seasoning enhance the flavors of the soup, add wonderful earthiness, and give it Italian flair. A dash of celery salt adds saltiness with a special touch, and black pepper is always delicious.
- Chicken Broth. The main liquid for our soup.
- Baby Spinach. The spinach is barely noticeable once it’s stirred into the soup, but you will still reap the nutritional benefits from it. Spinach is rich in fiber and vitamins.
- Brown the chicken. Remove it to a plate.
- Sauté the carrots, celery, and onion in butter.
- Whisk cornstarch into the evaporated milk.
- Add the spices and garlic to the vegetables.
- Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pot and add the remaining milk and broth. Let simmer.
- Stir in the gnocchi. Let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes more.
- Add the chicken.
- Stir in the spinach a little bit at a time. ENJOY!
This soup cooks up THICK, which is exactly how we love it (think of it as an Italian-ish version of this all-American Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings).
If you prefer it thinner, stir in additional chicken broth or water until you reach your desired consistency.
- To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat soup in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth or water as needed to thin the soup. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Chicken gnocchi soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Cut the chicken and vegetables up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate both in separate airtight storage containers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can omit the chicken from this recipe if desired. The soup will still be delicious and filling without it.
If you need the soup to be vegetarian, you can also swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
Yes, baby kale would be a delicious swap for the spinach in this chicken gnocchi soup. Make sure to use baby kale, so it cooks in about the same amount of time as the spinach would.
Poultry seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that enhances the flavors in a dish. It adds a wonderful savoriness that pairs well with poultry dishes and adds depth to soups.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 1 tablespoon DeLallo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast diced
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium carrots scrubbed or peeled and 1/4-inch diced
- 2 stalks celery halved lengthwise and cut 1/2-inch thick
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 (12-ounce) cans low-fat evaporated milk divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning optional
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus additional cracked black pepper for serving
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth plus additional to thin the soup if needed
- 2 pounds DeLallo Potato Gnocchi 2 packages; about 4 cups
- 4 ounces fresh baby spinach roughly torn or chopped (about 4 big handfuls)
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh parsley
- In a Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the chicken and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. As soon as it is melted, add the carrots, celery, and onion. Sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed so that it turns translucent but does not brown.
- Meanwhile, splash a few tablespoons of evaporated milk into a mixing bowl or large measuring cup. Add the cornstarch and whisk to combine.
- To the pot with the vegetables, stir in the Italian seasoning, thyme, celery salt, pepper, and garlic. Let cook 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the cornstarch slurry, remaining evaporated milk, and chicken broth. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot, and let simmer for 10 minutes to thicken.
- Stir in the gnocchi. Continue to simmer with the pot partially covered, until the gnocchi is tender and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes more.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in chicken.
- Then, stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time until it wilts.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired (the amount of salt you need will vary based on how salty your chicken broth is). If the soup is thicker than you would like, stir additional chicken broth or water as needed to reach your desired consistency. Serve hot with a sprinkle of Parmesan, parsley, and a few cracks of black pepper.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat soup in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth or water as needed to thin the soup. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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I am sharing this post in partnership with DeLallo. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you!