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Chicken Gnocchi Soup {Healthy + No Cream} – WellPlated.com

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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!

A bowl of the BEST chicken gnocchi soup with spinach

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This rich, thick, and creamy soup with plump rounds of gnocchi, tender chunks of chicken, and a sneaky number of vegetables, is a healthy take on the Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup that was the pinnacle of my high school dining experience (along with this Broccoli Cheddar Soup that’s reminiscent of Panera’s).

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!

(For another healthy spin on Olive Garden copycat recipes, check out this Chicken Alfredo Bake.)

A pot of homemade chicken gnocchi soup olive garden copycat

5 Star Review

“I loved this recipe, it is so cozy! The flavors are perfection and well-balanced.”

— Veronica —

Fast forward a couple of decades, and here I am, still craving the comfort of chicken gnocchi soup…but without the hefty number of calories.

That’s where this lightened-up chicken gnocchi soup recipe comes in:

  • Like the Olive Garden original that inspired it, this copycat recipe is decadently creamy. It will warm your belly and your soul on even the chilliest night.
  • Unlike the original, this chicken gnocchi soup is made of lighter ingredients (just like this Healthy Chicken Pot Pie), including spinach, carrots, chicken breast, potato gnocchi, and evaporated milk in place of heavy cream and bacon.

What is Gnocchi?

Although gnocchi is commonly thought of as 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. (Though for a traditional version of chicken soup with pasta, try this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.)

A bowl of healthy chicken gnocchi soup with spinach and carrots topped with cracked pepper

How to Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup

This easy and healthy soup is still filling (like my favorite Healthy Turkey Chili), so a moderately sized bowl will tuck you in.

Added bonus?

It comes together fast enough to be weeknight appropriate.

And what weeknight wouldn’t benefit from a steaming bowl of pure comfort?


The Ingredients

  • Gnocchi. To make this soup fast and easy enough for a weeknight, we are using my favorite ready-made, quick-cooking gnocchi: DeLallo Potato Gnocchi.

Ingredient Note

When it comes to ready-made gnocchi, quality matters.

Good store-bought gnocchi is melt-in-your-mouth tender; bad gnocchi is chewy and gummy. Don’t waste your time on bad gnocchi. (This One Skillet Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Italian Sausage is another weeknight favorite with gnocchi.)

A bowl of the best chicken gnocchi soup without heavy cream
  • Chicken Breast. For lean protein, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The chicken adds rich flavor to the soup and helps make it super satisfying. (This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is another satisfying favorite.)

Substitution Tip

Feel free to swap for chicken thighs if you enjoy dark meat.

You could also skip cooking raw chicken breasts and opt to add cooked shredded chicken (see this How to Cook Shredded Chicken post) or use rotisserie chicken from the deli instead.

  • 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 for heavy cream also lets me avoid making a roux with flour. Instead, a slurry with evaporated milk and cornstarch thickens the soup like a dream but with less saturated fat and cholesterol than heavy cream.
  • Spices. Italian seasoning, dried thyme, and poultry seasoning enhance the flavors of the soup, add wonderful earthiness, and give it Italian flair (like my Crockpot Lasagna Soup). A dash of celery salt adds saltiness with a special touch, and black pepper is always delicious.

What is Poultry Seasoning?

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. You can typically find it in the spice aisle of your local grocery store. (This Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup uses it too.)

  • Chicken Broth. The main liquid for our soup. I like to use low sodium chicken broth.
  • Baby Spinach. The spinach is barely noticeable once it’s stirred into the soup. However, you will still reap the nutritional benefits from it. Spinach is rich in fiber and vitamins.

Market Swap

Baby kale would be a delicious swap for the spinach in this chicken gnocchi soup. Just make sure to use tender baby kale, so it cooks in about the same amount of time as the spinach would.

The Directions

Cooked chicken pieces in a pot
  1. Brown the chicken. Remove it to a plate.
Cut vegetables in a pot
  1. Sauté the mirepoix.
Cornstarch and evaporated milk being whisked
  1. Whisk cornstarch into the evaporated milk.
Vegetables being cooked in a pot with spices
  1. Add the spices and garlic to the vegetables. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pot and add the remaining milk and broth. Let simmer.
Gnocchi being added to a pot of creamy Italian Tuscan soup
  1. Stir in the gnocchi. Let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes more.
Chicken being added to a pot of Tuscan gnocchi soup
  1. Add the chicken.
Spinach being added to a pot of creamy soup
  1. Stir in the spinach a little bit at a time. ENJOY!

Tip!

This soup cooks up THICK, which is exactly how we love it (think of it as an Italian version of this all-American Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings).

If you prefer it thinner, stir in additional chicken broth, milk, or water until you reach your desired consistency.

Chicken gnocchi soup without half and half in a bowl

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight 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 the meat and veggies in separate airtight storage containers.

What to Serve with Chicken Gnocchi Soup

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Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Stockpot. Standard for all your soup simmering needs when the cold weather arrives.
  • Dutch Oven. Another great option for making large batches of soup on the stovetop.
  • Chef’s Knife. Essential for everyday chopping, dicing, and mincing.

The Best Dutch Oven

This 7-quart Dutch oven is big enough for your whole family dinner. It’s a versatile kitchen tool to broil, braise, roast, sauté, or simmer.

A bowl of chicken gnocchi soup with spinach

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

If you’ve been looking for a bowl of soup that tastes like a warm hug, look no further!

A bowl of chicken gnocchi soup with spinach

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Chicken Gnocchi Soup Be Made without Chicken?

Yes, you can omit the chicken from this recipe if desired. The soup will still be tasty and filling without it. If you need the soup to be vegetarian, you can also swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Both variations are delish!

Can I Make Crockpot Chicken Gnocchi Soup?

I have not made this chicken gnocchi soup in a slow cooker before, so I cannot provide specific guidance on adapting this recipe for the crockpot. You could experiment with swapping the gnocchi for the tortellini in this Crockpot Tortellini Soup.

How to Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup in an Instant Pot?

 I have not tried making this an Instant Pot chicken gnocchi soup, so it would be an experiment. If you try it, I’d love to hear about your results. Alternatively, for a creamy Instant Pot soup option, try this Instant Pot Potato 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)

FOR SERVING:

  • 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 veggies, 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: Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge 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. 

Serving: 1(of 8)Calories: 436kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 32gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 65mgPotassium: 888mgFiber: 4gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 5618IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 317mgIron: 6mg

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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!

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!

More Cozy Soup Recipes

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