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This Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup is just like Olive Garden’s creamy gnocchi soup, without the meat and dairy! It’s a hearty soup made with a creamy broth, soft pillowy gnocchi, tender spinach, and your favorite vegan chicken. Ready in 40 minutes! 

horizontal photo of Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) in beige bowl on wooden board
ladle filled with Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup

An Easy Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

It’s no secret that we love a copycat recipe. We’ve veganized several restaurant favorites, including Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar SoupKFC Fried ChickenTaco Bell’s Crispy Fiesta PotatoesRed Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and more! And when We Tried Eating Vegan at Olive Garden, we quickly realized that while there are options (order the breadsticks and minestrone!), there are tons of crowd favorites on the Olive Garden menu that aren’t vegan-friendly. 

That’s why we’re taking on the challenge of making their creamy soups at home! First up, Olive Garden’s Gnocchi Soup. The original version is filled with heavy dairy creams and chicken, which of course isn’t vegan. But with just a few swaps and simple ingredients, we’ve put a vegan spin on the classic recipe that’s equally rich, creamy, and high in protein! Now let’s get into this Copycat Olive Garden Soup! 

labeled ingredients for olive garden copycat chicken gnocchi soup recipe on blue background

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • Vegan butter: Used to sauté the aromatics. If needed, replace the butter with a neutral cooking oil such as olive oil. 
  • Aromatics: You’ll need a basic blend of yellow onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme. We used dried thyme, but feel free to opt for 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme sprigs. 
  • Flour: All-purpose flour thickens the soup and makes the broth rich and creamy. If you are gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour blend. 
  • Broth: We like the added savoriness of vegan chicken broth, but any vegetable broth will work well. If you use vegetable stock, additional salt or miso paste will be needed to add a similar savoriness. 
  • Vegan chicken: Any store-bought vegan chicken cut into bite-sized pieces work. Or, replace the chicken with a can of chickpeas or 8 ounces of rehydrated soy curls. 
  • Gnocchi: For this recipe, you will need a 16-ounce bag of dried gnocchi. Most dried gnocchi is made without eggs and is naturally vegan, but always check the ingredients! 
  • Spinach: Fresh baby spinach is best, but frozen spinach works well, too! 
  • Vegan cream: We make a homemade vegan cream blend from a mixture of silken tofu, non-dairy milk (like oat milk or soy milk), and nutritional yeast. It adds a nice boost of plant-based protein while keeping this vegan soup recipe nut-free (no raw cashews!). Try this method in our Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce and Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip next! 

For full measurements and instructions, scroll down to the complete recipe card at the bottom of this post. 

Equipment Needed

How to Make Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup

  1. Make the tofu cream. In a high-speed blender, combine the silken tofu, non-dairy milk, and nutritional yeast. Blend until completely smooth and set aside. 
  2. Sauté the aromatics. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, melt the vegan butter. Add the onion, celery, and salt, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened. Next, add the carrots, fresh garlic, and thyme, and cook for another 2 minutes. 
  3. Add flour. Once the aromatics are sautéed stir in the all-purpose flour until combined. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly. 
  4. Stir in the liquids. Add the broth one cup at a time, stirring between each addition. Add the tofu cream and stir again until well combined. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add vegan chicken, gnocchi and spinach. Simmer for another 4-5 minutes, uncovered. If using frozen chicken that is in large pieces, use kitchen sheers to cut into smaller pieces. Lastly, stir in the spinach until just wilted. 
  6. Serve. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste, then serve immediately while warm. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions 

This easy vegan gnocchi soup is best enjoyed as a weeknight meal or cozy, warming lunch. We typically serve ours with crusty bread like this Vegan Garlic Bread or a slice of No Knead Bread. Or, take it to the next level and serve with Homemade Vegan Breadsticks for the ultimate Olive Garden experience. 

overhead photo of Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) in beige bowl on wooden board

Recipe FAQs

Do I need to cook the gnocchi before adding it to the soup?

No need! Gnocchi is fast-cooking and will become soft and pillowy right in the soup. 

Can I make this creamy vegan soup in the Instant Pot?

We haven’t tested an Instant Pot version of this particular soup, but we have several Instant Pot soups you may be interested in. Make sure to check out our Instant Pot Lentil Noodle Soup, this Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli, and this Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

Can I freeze this potato gnocchi soup?

Unfortunately, this soup will not freeze well. Soups made with potatoes and creamy ingredients tend to become grainy upon thawing and do not taste as good as they do fresh. 

Will frozen or homemade gnocchi work?

We wouldn’t recommend frozen gnocchi, but fresh gnocchi will work. Fresh gnocchi requires less cook time. If using, add in with the spinach and heat until just warmed through and pillowy. Frozen gnocchi may work well, too, but can 

Is this soup gluten-free?

When made with a gluten-free flour blend and gluten-free potato gnocchi, this is both a vegan and gluten-free gnocchi soup! Additionally, make sure to use a store-bought chicken that is naturally gluten-free – some brands, similar to our Vegan Chicken Nuggets, will contain vital wheat gluten for its naturally chewy texture.

Storage Instructions

This vegan gnocchi soup will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a medium pot over medium-low heat until warmed through. 

overhead close up of Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) in beige bowl

Quick Tips

  • Avoid cauliflower gnocchi. While Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi is delicious, it is too soft and delicate to use in this creamy soup. For best results, stick to classic potato gnocchi and save the cauliflower gnocchi for recipes like this Easy Pesto Gnocchi Recipe or this Easy Vegetable Gnocchi. If you love Trader Joe’s, you might love our Lazy Trader Joe’s Meals!
  • Use unsweetened non-dairy milk. Some store-bought non-dairy milks are labeled unsweetened but still have a very sweet, artificial flavor. Before using a new milk, always taste it and make sure it will work well in a savory recipe! 
  • Remove from the heat once the gnocchi is tender. Gnocchi can be overcooked and will turn mushy. Once you have just tender gnocchi (similar to al dente pasta), remove the soup from the heat to prevent it from overcooking. 

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you make this recipe. We love to see your photos! 

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overhead photo of Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) in beige bowl on wooden board

Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat)


  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan

Description

This Vegan Chicken Gnocchi Soup is just like Olive Garden’s creamy gnocchi soup, without the meat and dairy! It’s a hearty soup made with a creamy broth, soft pillowy gnocchi, tender spinach, and your favorite vegan chicken. Ready in 40 minutes!


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup carrots, julienned
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegan chicken broth
  • 8 oz vegan chicken, shredded or chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 16 oz potato gnocchi
  • 1 cup spinach

Tofu cream:

  • 1 block (16 oz) silken tofu
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Make the tofu cream. In a high-speed blender, combine the silken tofu, non-dairy milk, and nutritional yeast. Blend until completely smooth and set aside.
  2. Sauté the aromatics. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, melt the vegan butter. Add the onion, celery, and salt, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened. Next, add the carrots, fresh garlic, and thyme, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour. Once the aromatics are sautéed stir in the all-purpose flour until combined. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the liquids. Add the broth one cup at a time, stirring between each addition. Add the tofu cream and stir again until well combined. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add vegan chicken, gnocchi, and spinach. Simmer for another 4-5 minutes, uncovered. If using frozen chicken that is in large pieces, use kitchen sheers to cut into smaller pieces. Lastly, stir in the spinach until just wilted.
  6. Serve. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste, then serve immediately while warm. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Freezing: Unfortunately, this soup will not freeze well. Soups made with potatoes and creamy ingredients tend to become grainy upon thawing and do not taste as good as they do fresh.
  • Gnocchi: We wouldn’t recommend frozen gnocchi, but fresh gnocchi will work. Fresh gnocchi requires a much shorter cooking time. If using, add in with the spinach and heat until just warmed through and pillowy. Frozen gnocchi may work well, too, but can
  • Gluten-free: When made with a gluten-free flour blend and potato gnocchi, this is both a vegan and gluten-free gnocchi soup! Additionally, make sure to use a store-bought chicken that is naturally gluten-free – some brands, similar to our Vegan Chicken Nuggets, will contain vital wheat gluten for its naturally chewy texture.
  • Storage: This vegan gnocchi soup will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a medium pot over medium-low heat until warmed through.

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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3 Comments

  1. Made this tonight and loved it! We needed to use up some fresh corn so I semi-grilled/charred it before tossing it in. Garnished the bowl with grated vegan parm and lemon zest. Served with fresh black pepper rolls. Absolutely delightful! Never used silken tofu cream like this before but made it so creamy and rich. Will def make this again!

  2. Made this last night and it was cozy and delicious. I’m not always the biggest fan of soup but this one was so hearty and creamy. I know the recipe explicitly says not to use TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi, but that was all I had on hand. I made it work by baking the gnocchi until crispy, and then adding them to the soup shortly before serving. It turned out great. Will try with regular gnocchi next time!