Sometimes, you want a taste of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup without actually having to leave your house. All you want to do is cozy up with your favorite soup and watch a show on TV – and that’s okay!
We feel you, so we are bringing you this incredible copycat recipe for Olive Garden’s chicken gnocchi soup!
This soup is beyond delicious and so easy to make. Anyone who knows where the kitchen is can make this, especially if you have store-bought gnocchi to use (yes, you could always try to make your own, too!).
You would never know that this dish didn’t come straight out of the restaurant – it’s that good. So, if you would like to make this delightful dish, stick around. We will be going through everything you need to know right here.
What Is Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup?
Olive Garden’s Chicken Gnocchi Soup is a rich and creamy delight, harmoniously blending tender pieces of chicken, soft potato gnocchi, fresh spinach, and carrots in a savory, velvety broth.
This signature soup offers a heartwarming taste of Italian comfort. Renowned for its luscious texture and soul-soothing properties, it stands as a beloved choice among patrons, encapsulating the essence of homestyle cooking in every spoonful.
History Of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
While Olive Garden’s exact origins of the Chicken Gnocchi Soup remain proprietary, the dish reflects Italy’s rich culinary traditions.
Gnocchi, pillowy soft potato dumplings, have deep roots in Italian kitchens, passed down through generations.
Olive Garden, seeking to encapsulate Italian comfort, fused gnocchi with chicken, spinach, and a creamy broth to create this renowned soup.
Today, this delicacy is emblematic of Olive Garden’s commitment to bring authentic yet innovative Italian flavors to its patrons worldwide, becoming a comforting favorite for many.
Interesting Facts About The Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Italian Roots: Gnocchi dates back to ancient Rome, making it a classic element in Italian cuisine.
- Fan Favorite: This soup is among Olive Garden’s top-performing dishes, receiving rave patron reviews.
- Nutritional Value: It’s rich in protein from chicken, providing essential amino acids and energy.
- Versatility: The soup has inspired many home chefs to create variations, adding personal twists.
- Culinary Blend: It marries northern Italian (gnocchi) and southern Italian (creamy soup) culinary traditions.
- Quick Serve: Despite its gourmet appeal, the soup is known for its quick preparation time.
- Comfort Food: Many consider it the epitome of “comfort in a bowl,” perfect for chilly days or when in need of a culinary hug.
- Seasonal Variability: Olive Garden occasionally introduces seasonal tweaks, adding ingredients like autumnal squashes or spring greens.
What Makes The Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup Special?
Okay, there are a dozen reasons why you could love this recipe, but we will keep things short and sweet here.
- Anyone can make it: There is nothing difficult about this dish, and the most difficult part of the process is chopping the vegetables (and you can use devices to help with that!). No matter your skill level, you can get in the kitchen and get this delight out in no time.
- Full of delicious flavors: The combination of gnocchi, chicken, heavy cream, garlic, and seasonings like basil and thyme means that this dish is full of all the best flavors out there. There is nothing not to love about this recipe!
- You need less than 60 minutes: You only need around 45 minutes to make the dish from start to finish, but you can cut this time down if you can get through the prep stage quickly! Feel free to prep what you can ahead of time.
- The dish is fantastic for freezing: Leftovers can be frozen to enjoy another time, so you don’t need to worry about making the perfect-sized portion. Enjoy it over a few days (or weeks) if you freeze it.
- It’s an Olive Garden copycat recipe: Do we need to say any more? Olive Garden has excellent food, so that a copycat recipe will win.
|2 boneless, skinless breasts (about 1 lb)
|2 stalks, chopped
|1 medium-sized, finely diced
|3 cloves, minced
|2 cups, roughly chopped
|1 medium-sized, thinly sliced or diced
|1 teaspoon dried or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
|¼ cup freshly chopped
|To taste, freshly ground preferred
- Chicken: Opt for organic, free-range chicken for a richer flavor.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil enhances aroma and taste.
- Heavy Cream: Use full-fat for a creamier texture; it can be substituted with half-and-half for a lighter version.
- Celery & Carrot: Ensure freshness by snapping a piece; it should break crisply.
- White Onion: Store in a cool, dry place to maintain pungency.
- Garlic: Freshly minced yields the most potent flavor.
- Spinach: Baby spinach has tender leaves and a milder taste.
- Chicken Broth: Low-sodium versions allow better control over saltiness.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
You could make simple changes if you want something different in your soup. Some of these can make the process slightly different, but not by much.
Here are some variations you can try if you find yourself without some of the ingredients or feel like something different:
- Instead of oil, you can use butter
- Use different stock for the dish (you can make your bone broth for added flavor).
- Add other vegetables like sweetcorn, broccoli, peas, or anything else you like
Yes, they are small things, but you might love the variations. Adding different vegetables is excellent if you know you are not hitting your daily veggie quota.
- Prep ingredients: grate carrots, mince garlic, dice onion, celery, and precook chicken.
- In a pot, sauté garlic, carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil until onions are translucent.
- Add chicken, broth, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme. Bring to a boil.
- Add separated gnocchi pieces, boil for 3–4 minutes, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Mix in heavy cream.
- Add spinach and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
- Season as needed and serve with parsley garnish.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Vegetarian: Replace chicken with hearty mushrooms or tofu.
- Spicy: Add red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeños for heat.
- Proteins: Incorporate Italian sausage, turkey, or shrimp for added flavor.
- Veggies: Introduce bell peppers, zucchini, or peas for added texture and nutrition.
- Grains: Consider barley or rice for a more filling variation.
- Cheese: Grated Parmesan or Romano adds a salty, umami kick.
- Herbs: Fresh basil, parsley, or rosemary for aromatic garnish.
- Crunch: Croutons or toasted bread crumbs for contrasting texture.
- Zest: Lemon zest can brighten the flavors with a tangy twist.
Scaling The Recipe
- Ingredient Proportions: Maintain consistent ratios when increasing or decreasing ingredients. If you double the chicken, ensure all other components are doubled.
- Cookware Size: Choose a pot size appropriate for the volume of soup. Overcrowding or under-filling can affect cooking times and evenness.
- Cooking Times: While scaling up, cooking time may increase slightly, especially during the simmering phase, to ensure all ingredients are adequately cooked. Conversely, reduce the time slightly when scaling down.
- Taste & Season: Always taste and adjust seasonings, especially when altering recipe size. Flavor concentration can vary.
- Storage: If scaling up significantly, have ample storage containers on hand, considering some for freezing if needed.
- Recipe Math: For precision, use a kitchen scale and simple math to adjust ingredient quantities.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Fresh Herbs: Chopped parsley, basil, or chives add color, flavor, and aroma, enhancing the soup’s freshness.
- Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese imparts a delightful umami touch and a visual appeal.
- Croutons: For a textural contrast, crispy croutons provide a satisfying crunch.
- Lemon Zest: Thin shavings of lemon rind brighten up the soup, offering a zesty aroma and tangy undertone.
- Red Pepper Flakes: A dash for those who enjoy a little heat.
- Drizzle of Olive Oil: A final touch that amplifies the soup’s depth and richness, adding a rich, glossy finish.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- After sautéing your onions, celery, garlic, and carrots in a pan, transfer them to the slow cooker.
- Add diced chicken, broth, and seasonings.
- Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the gnocchi, heavy cream, and spinach, allowing them to cook through and meld flavors.
- Use the ‘Sauté’ function for your veggies.
- Add chicken, broth, and seasonings, then pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
- Quick release, then switch back to ‘Sauté,’ adding gnocchi until they float.
- Stir in heavy cream and spinach, cooking just until wilted.
Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
Both store-bought and homemade broths can be used in the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup, and each has its advantages:
- Convenience: It’s quick and easy, especially when short on time.
- Consistency: Commercial broths offer a uniform flavor profile.
- Variety: Available in low-sodium, organic, or enhanced flavors.
- Flavor Depth: Customized ingredients can yield richer, more nuanced flavors.
- Control: You decide the salt content, seasoning, and overall profile.
- Nutrition: Often fresher with fewer preservatives or additives.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?
- Turkey: A lean alternative to chicken.
- Sausage: Offers a spicy, rich flavor.
- Shrimp: Introduces a seafood twist, cooked just until pink.
- Tortellini/Ravioli: Stuffed varieties add a surprise element.
- Orzo/Pastina: Small shapes blend seamlessly into the soup.
- Bell Peppers: Add color and sweetness.
- Kale: A hearty alternative to spinach.
- Zucchini: Provides a mild, complementary flavor.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup
This recipe is super simple, so it’s hard to go wrong. However, there are one or two things that you might find yourself struggling with.
Let’s look at a few useful tips and tricks you will want to remember when preparing this dish!
- This is especially important to note if you always add cornstarch to thicken your dishes. The gnocchi (potato, not pasta) contains a lot of starch!
- As that gnocchi cooks, the scratches that seep out of it will slowly thicken your soup.
- In other words – hold back on thickening your dish until the very end (if necessary). If you add something like cornstarch too early on, you will probably end up with a slimy dish that isn’t what you want.
- You don’t need to thicken your soup if you allow the gnocchi to simmer with everything else.
- However, if you accidentally thicken your soup before adding the gnocchi, don’t worry! In this case, the best thing to do would be to cook the gnocchi separately and add it right at the end.
- This will prevent all the excess starch that seeps out from impacting the soup – crisis averted.
Don’t Be Afraid To Try Different Flavors
- Who will stop you if you feel like being adventurous with your cooking? The seasoning of this soup is very basic, we’re not going to lie. You can add a variety of herbs into the mix (like rosemary) for some added flavor.
- Just be careful not to go over the top. You don’t want to overpower anything, but balance all the flavors in the dish. So, have your fun, but think about what you are adding, and contemplate whether it works for the overall feel of the dish.
- If you want to add some spice to the dish, the best way would be to use red pepper flakes. Try it out if you want something a little different!
It Doesn’t Have To Be Gnocchi
- While the recipe is technically a gnocchi soup, it doesn’t need gnocchi! You can try different things like various kinds of pasta if you feel like it – it will work just as well.
- Experiment with ravioli or tortellini if you like.
- It’s your kitchen, so do what you want!
For A Lighter Dish, Skip The Cream
- While we all love the creamy delight of the Olive Garden gnocchi soup, it doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to keep things a little lighter, you can opt for evaporated milk instead of cream.
- Yes, the finished dish will be different, and you might need to thicken the soup (be careful with that); it has its place. It’s a good idea to do this if you know you will make this dish frequently because all that cream is not a good idea.
Use Chicken Thighs For Added Flavor
- There’s no denying that chicken breast, while easy to work with, is not the tastiest part of the bird. The meat can be bland and dry, making an entire dish unappealing.
- Because of this, we recommend using thicken thighs instead! These are packed full of flavor and are still easy to use.
- Sure, you will have to work around the bones, but you can easily purchase thigh filets (or debone them yourself, it’s easy!).
- You will see fantastic results with chicken thighs and immediately notice a boost in flavor. Once you try it, you will never want to return to chicken breast.
Unveil the nutritional essence of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup. This flavorful bowl is a taste delight and a journey into wholesome goodness.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
Calculating the exact caloric content of the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup requires specifics about ingredient quantities, brands, and serving sizes.
However, generally, the soup contains calories from the chicken, heavy cream, gnocchi, olive oil, and other ingredients.
For an approximate figure, a single serving of this soup from Olive Garden typically hovers around 230 to 300 calories. This number can vary based on preparation methods and ingredient choices.
A nutritional calculator or app is recommended for the most accurate caloric information tailored to your specific recipe and ingredients, inputting the exact quantities and brands you use.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Gluten: Gnocchi, unless specified, typically contains wheat, making the soup unsuitable for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
- Dairy: Including heavy cream means it’s not ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals or those allergic to dairy.
- Meat: Containing chicken, it’s unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans.
- Low-Carb/Keto: The presence of gnocchi and certain veggies might make the carbohydrate content too high for strict keto followers.
- Allergens: Some individuals might react to ingredients like garlic, onion, or chicken.
Health Benefits Of The Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Protein: Chicken offers lean protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Spinach provides iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Carrots contribute beta-carotene, good for vision.
- Antioxidants: Garlic and onion are rich in antioxidants, promoting overall health.
- Bone Health: Chicken broth, especially if homemade from bones, can be a source of collagen and essential minerals.
- Digestive Health: Celery is high in fiber, aiding in digestion.
- Heart Health: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, beneficial for heart health.
How Can I Make Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Broth Choice: Opt for a low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth. This is often the primary source of salt in soups.
- Skip Added Salt: Refrain from adding salt during cooking. Instead, offer salt at the table so individuals can season to their preference.
- Fresh Ingredients: Rely more on fresh vegetables instead of canned, as canned varieties often contain added sodium.
- Herbs and Spices: Enhance flavor with fresh herbs and aromatic spices like basil, thyme, and rosemary, reducing the need for salt.
- Taste Test: Always taste as you cook to ensure you achieve the desired flavor without over-salting.
How Can I Make Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Natural Broth: Opt for homemade or store-bought broths with no added sugars or sweeteners. Read labels carefully.
- Fresh Vegetables: Use fresh veggies instead of canned, as some canned vegetables contain added sugars for preservation.
- Skip Sweet Ingredients: Choose unsweetened alternatives if a recipe variation suggests ingredients like sweetened cream.
- Watch Carbs: Though gnocchi doesn’t contain added sugars, it breaks down into sugars during digestion. For a lower-carb alternative, consider cauliflower gnocchi.
- Spice Play: Rely on aromatic herbs and spices to flavor the soup, eliminating the need for sugar-based seasonings.
How To Serve The Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup At Its Best?
- Temperature: Ensure the soup is served piping hot, maintaining its rich consistency and releasing its comforting aroma.
- Bowl Selection: Opt for deep, warm bowls, preheated briefly in the oven or microwave to keep the soup warm longer.
- Garnishing: A sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or grated Parmesan can elevate its appearance and flavor.
- Accompaniments: Serve with warm, crusty bread or garlic sticks to complement its creamy texture.
- Olive Oil Drizzle: A slight drizzle of high-quality olive oil before serving can intensify the richness.
- Wine Pairing: A light white wine, like Pinot Grigio, can complement the soup’s depth of flavors.
Perfect Side Dishes To Compliment Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
So, you’re making this killer dish, but what do you serve it with? We have some great suggestions that will pair wonderfully with this copycat Olive Garden gnocchi soup (Also check out Olive Garden Minestrone Soups).
Don’t feel like you need to stick to this list, either! There are plenty of options to try out.
- Olive bread
- Beer bread
- Mozzarella arugula salad
- Pear salad
- Cranberry mocktails
- Homemade lemonade
- Strawberry margaritas
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
- To store your leftover gnocchi soup, you only need to let it get to room temperature and store it in an airtight container. You can keep the soup in the fridge for up to five days (but try to eat it within 2–3 days if possible).
- If you know you cannot enjoy your leftovers within the week, it will be a good idea to freeze them. Just get a freezer-safe container and store it. It will be good for around three months before the food quality diminishes.
- Remember, frozen food is technically safe indefinitely. Still, the longer it stays frozen, the more the textures and appearance are likely to change.
- When you want to enjoy your leftovers, just let them thaw in the fridge overnight before transferring them to a pot and heating them on the stove. Heat it over medium heat for 5–10 minutes until thoroughly heated, and enjoy.
Can I Make The Soup In Advance?
Making the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup in advance can be a time-saver. Prepare the soup following your chosen recipe, but consider stopping just before adding the gnocchi and heavy cream.
Allow the base to cool, then store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the soup base, add the gnocchi, allowing them to cook through, then stir in the heavy cream and spinach.
This approach ensures that the gnocchi remains tender and the cream doesn’t curtail from prolonged storage or reheating.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Casserole Base: Combine leftovers with cooked pasta, top with cheese, and bake until golden.
- Stew Transformation: Add diced potatoes, more vegetables, and perhaps some sausage to turn it into a hearty stew.
- Pot Pie Filling: Use the thick soup for a comforting pot pie, topped with a pastry or biscuit crust.
- Pasta Sauce: Reduce the soup on the stove until thicker and serve over your favorite pasta.
- Grain Bowl: Serve over cooked rice or quinoa, topped with fresh herbs and grated cheese.
- Enriched Broth: Thin the soup slightly as a flavorful broth for cooking grains or steaming vegetables.
- Frittata Base: Mix with beaten eggs and bake or pan-fry for a delicious frittata.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Dutch Oven or Large Pot: Provides even heat distribution, ideal for simmering soups.
- Knife and Cutting Board: Essential for chopping vegetables and dicing the chicken.
- Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula: Useful for stirring ingredients and preventing sticking.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensures accurate ingredient portions for flavor balance.
- Ladle: Facilitates serving without spills.
- Grater: Handy for grating carrots if not dicing them.
- Garlic Press: Efficiently extracts garlic flavor without mincing.
- Mesh Strainer: Useful if washing spinach or if the broth needs straining.
- Whisk: Helps incorporate the cream smoothly.
- Thermometer: If ensuring the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature.
This copycat Olive Garden gnocchi recipe is easy and a pleasure to make. If you love Olive Garden’s soups, then this is a dish that you will love.
The flavors are incredible, and it’s the perfect dish to cozy up and watch your favorite movie. Serve it with some of your favorite sides and drinks, and enjoy it with your family and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Soup Always Turn Out Runny?
If you cook the gnocchi with the rest of the ingredients, it shouldn’t end up runny. However, it tends to thicken when it cools to room temperature.
If your soup is not as thick as you want, thicken it with cornstarch. Just be careful with this!
What Exactly Is Gnocchi?
While you might initially think of gnocchi as some pasta, it is made from potatoes! To clarify, it’s often seen as more like a mini dumpling and is often referred to as potato gnocchi.
Gnocchi is made from mashed potatoes, eggs, and flour and can easily be found in your local grocery store. You could even make your gnocchi if you feel up for it!
Can You Use An Instant Pot Or Slow Cooker To Make This Dish?
Technically, you could, but there’s no need, considering this recipe takes less than half an hour to cook! However, you can use an instant pot if you like; the process won’t be too different, and you will still get great results.
What If I Don’t Have Gnocchi On Hand?
If it is unavailable, you can substitute gnocchi with small pasta shapes like orecchiette or ditalini. Another option is diced potatoes, but this will give a different, yet still delicious, texture and flavor.
How Do I Know When The Gnocchi Is Cooked Perfectly In The Soup?
Gnocchi cooks quickly and tends to float to the surface when done. After adding to the boiling soup, it usually takes around 3–4 minutes. They should be tender to the bite without being mushy.
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