This copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is every bit as creamy and delicious as the restaurant version, made in less than 30 minutes!
There’s a reason nearly everyone loves Olive Garden. Their food is good! And addictive! A quick search of Pinterest reveals hundreds of Olive Garden copycat recipes — from their Italian salad dressing to their toasted ravioli. I can think of a few reasons why seemingly everyone wants to recreate these dishes at home. First of all, it’s more budget-friendly to eat at home. Second, you can make as much as you want (leftovers!). Third, you don’t have to put on pants that don’t have an elastic waistband and drive to the restaurant when a craving hits. And, fourth, you don’t have to take your kids out to eat. I probably should have put that as my first reason, actually. Let’s face it, taking your kids out to eat is the ultimate gamble. And sometimes you’re just not in the mood to test your luck.
Let’s just say the perfect storm of all of these reasons came together for me one fateful Saturday. Not to be outdone, I decided to make my own Chicken Gnocchi Soup, darn it. And no one and no pants with a zipper and a button were going to stop me. Luckily, I had some gnocchi in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients on hand (it’s like I unknowingly prepared for this exact moment).
The rest, they say, is Olive Garden recipe history. The soup was delicious, no one had to go anywhere, and — most importantly — there were plenty of leftovers.
HOW DO YOU MAKE GNOCCHI?
Gnocchi is made from potatoes, flour, and eggs. I’m not sure what genius came up with this combination, but I am forever grateful. Making gnocchi is fun and rewarding, if you have the time and inclination. I’ve made it before but it’s been a while and now I just tend to use the store-bought varieties, as I find they work well in most recipes. If you want to try your hand at your own homemade gnocchi, allow me to refer you to this recipe. I hope you enjoy it and that it turns out perfectly.
WHAT KIND OF PRE-COOKED CHICKEN SHOULD I USE?
For this recipe, I suggest you use boneless, skinless chicken that’s already been cooked and diced because it makes this recipe come together more easily. To do this yourself, I recommend dicing the chicken before cooking it, as it will cook quicker that way. You can cook it in a little bit of olive oil until it’s just done. Add a little salt and pepper to it if you like.
Another option is to buy pre-shredded, cooked chicken at your grocery store. It tends to be more expensive, but can be worth it. The only drawbacks are that you’re going to have shredded chicken instead of nice, little, bite-size cubes in your soup and sometimes I think that this kind of chicken tends to have a little bit of a chewier texture than when it’s been more recently cooked.
CAN I MAKE THIS IN A SLOW COOKER?
Yes, yes, you can make this soup in a slow cooker. Here’s what I would change though, in this recipe. I would still definitely use cooked, diced chicken. So have that at the ready. Also, go ahead and saute the veggies and garlic. THEN put the chicken and veggies all together in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the liquids and all the other ingredients except the gnocchi, half and half, and spinach. Cook on low for three to four hours, adding the gnocchi in for the last hour of cooking. Before serving, add the half and half and spinach and stir to combine. The spinach should wilt quickly. Serve. Enjoy. And try not to eat it all in one sitting.
What people are saying about this Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
“Easy to make and delicious. It ended up like a whole dinner in a bowl. Next time I might try using a rotisserie chicken.” – Don
“This soup is so delicious! It’s so easy and flavorful. I love to top it off with some grated parmesan cheese.” – Erin
“I made this with my Thanksgiving turkey left overs and it turned out fantastic! Thank you so much for the recipe!” – Krystal
Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 16 ounces potato gnocchi
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery, onions, garlic, and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add chicken, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and thyme, bring to a boil, then gently stir in gnocchi. Boil for 3-4 minutes longer before reducing heat to a simmer and cooking for 10 minutes.
- Stir in half and half and spinach and cook another 1-2 minutes until spinach is tender. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed, and serve.