So I broke down the other day and bought a rotisserie chicken. I feel a little guilty because it was out of budget, but on the other hand I’m not so upset that rotisserie chicken has replaced frozen pizza as my go-to splurge food. :P We ate some of the chicken as-is for dinner, then I took one of the breasts the next day and turned it into this awesomely Creamy Kale Chicken and Gnocchi Soup. This soup is incredibly fast and is a fun spin on traditional chicken noodle soup. Those little gnocchis are so soft and delicious! You can make this soup with a simple clear chicken broth or add a little half and half for a deliciously creamy and comforting soup.
Weeknight Recipe Shortcuts For the Win!
This recipe was designed with a lot of short cuts (like pre-made broth, pre-cooked chicken, and store bought gnocchi), which makes it perfect for last minute week night dinners. If you want to take a more “from scratch” approach, check out my classic Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, which can easily be modified to include kale and gnocchi.
Sometimes you just need quick and easy, though. Right?
What Are Gnocchi?
If you’re unfamiliar with these tender little dumplings, now is the time to give them a try! Gnocchi are basically small dumplings made of semolina (like pasta), that can be tossed into soup, sautéed in a skillet with butter, or drenched in your favorite pasta sauce. They’re quite versatile, and quite delicious! You can find packaged gnocchi in most major grocery stores in the pasta aisle, or near other specialty Italian or Mediterranean ingredients.
Can I Substitute the Kale?
Yes, if you’re just not a fan of fibrous kale, you can use tender spinach instead. Just toss the spinach in the soup at the very end and stir it into the soup until wilted. You could also use frozen spinach, if that’s what you have on hand. I suggest thawing and squeezing out the extra moisture first, so the liquid doesn’t turn your soup green!
Kale Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
- 4 cloves garlic ($0.24)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.31)
- 2 carrots ($0.38)
- 1 bunch kale ( $1.50)
- 1 rotisserie chicken breast (about 1-1.5 cups) ($1.50)
- 5 cups chicken broth* ($0.65)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg ($0.02)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
- Freshly cracked black pepper ( $0.05)
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.03)
- 1 lb. gnocchi ($2.39)
- 1/2 cup half and half or cream (optional) ($0.45)
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion are soft and transparent. While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice the carrots. Add the carrots to the pot and continue to sauté for 3-5 minutes more.
- While the onion, garlic, and carrots are sautéing, pull the kale leaves from the woody stems and then rip or cut them into thin strips. Rinse the kale well under cool water in a colander. Add the rinsed kale to the pot and sauté until the kale has wilted down to half its volume (3-5 minutes).
- Chop or shred the chicken into bite sized pieces then add it to the pot along with the broth, nutmeg, basil, a generous does of freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a pepper mill), and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the gnocchi. Let the gnocchi simmer in the soup for 3-5 minutes, or until they are light and tender. Turn the heat off.
- Serve the soup as is, or add 1/2 cup half and half or cream. Taste the broth and adjust the salt or pepper as needed.
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How to Make Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup – Step by Step Photos
Begin by dicing one yellow onion and mincing four cloves of garlic. Add the onions and garlic to a large pot along with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
While the onions and garlic are cooking, peel and slice two carrots. Add them to the pot and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the carrots begin to soft a bit.
While the carrots are sautéing, prepare the kale. I used Lacinato or “dino” kale, but you can use curly leaf as well. Pull or slice the leaves from the stems, then slice them into 1/2 inch strips (they don’t have to be perfect). I find it’s fastest to just hold the stem in one hand, grab the base of the stem with the other and slide my hand down towards the tip. That strips the leaves quickly and easily off the stem.
Rinse the kale well under cool running water. Add the rinsed kale to the pot and continue to sauté until the kale has wilted to half its volume. You don’t need to get the kale really dry before adding it to the pot. Any residual moisture will steam the kale and help it wilt.
Chop or shred one pre-cooked chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, then add them to the pot. You should have about one to one and a half cups of chicken pieces. I used meat pulled off of a rotisserie chicken.
Finally, add 5 cups chicken broth, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp basil, a good dose of freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a mill), and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once the soup reaches a boil, add one pound of gnocchi. This is the gnocchi that I used, which can be found unrefrigerated next to the regular pasta.
When the soup reaches a boil, add the gnocchi and let it boil for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s soft and pillowy. This brand of gnocchi only takes a few minutes to cook, but be sure to check the package directions if you’re using a different brand. The soup can be served like this, with a clear broth, or continue to the next step for the creamy version.
For the creamy version, turn off the heat, then add 1/2 cup half and half or cream. Taste the Kale Chicken and Gnocchi Soup and adjust the salt or pepper as needed.
OMG I love those little gnocchi! <3 <3 <3