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Easy Gnocchi Zuppa Toscana

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This easy Zuppa Toscana recipe, inspired by the Olive Garden version, uses store-bought gnocchi as a shortcut to bring this creamy sausage and kale soup together in just 30 minutes.

Easy Zuppa Toscana Soup with Gnocchi

Raise your hand if you grew up loving the Olive Garden’s famous zuppa toscana! Well if you happen to have a nostalgic craving for this cozy soup, but are perhaps a bit pressed for time, here is my shortcut version that I honestly love just as much. ♡

It’s made with store-bought potato gnocchi that only take a few minutes to cook to pillowy perfection, saving us the step of having to dice and boil the traditional pound of potatoes. And when combined with the classic combination of zesty Italian sausage, creamy garlic broth, and loads of fresh kale, this delicious soup tastes as cozy and comforting as ever. Plus it can be ready to go in just 30 minutes using just 7 main ingredients!

Feel free, of course, to customize this recipe by adding in any extra veggies, tomatoes, beans, bacon, or other add-ins that happen to sound good. And if you prefer to make this soup vegetarian, we often make ours nowadays using plant-based Italian sausage (either sliced or ground) which works just as well. I recommend serving it with a simple arugula salad and maybe a quick batch of roasted veggies on the side. And especially on chilly nights, a warm bowl of this zuppa is sure to warm you right up.

Let’s make a quick batch together!

Zuppa Toscana Ingredients

Easy Zuppa Toscana Ingredients

Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need for this Olive Garden-inspired zuppa toscana recipe:

  • Italian sausage: This serves as the primary seasoning for this soup, so be sure to choose a good-quality Italian sausage that you love! I’m partial to spicy Italian sausage in this recipe, although you’re welcome to go with sweet or mild Italian sausage if you prefer. And while ground sausage is definitely easiest to work with here, sliced sausage works well too.
  • Gnocchi: We’re going to save time by adding a package of store-bought gnocchi to the soup, which only take a few minutes to cook. If you are making this recipe gluten-free, be sure to look for certified gluten-free gnocchi. (Or if you feel like going the extra mile, you can make my favorite homemade gnocchi.)
  • Onion and garlic: These will serve as our base aromatics for the soup. Feel free to add more garlic if you prefer!
  • Chicken stock: Again, since we are using so few ingredients here, I recommend purchasing whichever good-quality chicken or vegetable stock you love best.
  • Greens: I typically add a few large handfuls of chopped fresh kale to this soup. But baby spinach or collard greens would also be delicious options.
  • Heavy cream: I typically add around 1 cup of cream to this recipe, but feel free to use more or less if you prefer.
  • Salt and pepper: Don’t forget to also season the soup as needed with fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
  • Roasted red peppers (optional): My original version of this recipe also added in a small jar of roasted red peppers, drained and diced. I don’t always keep roasted red peppers stocked in my pantry, and have found this soup to be plenty flavorful without them. But feel free to add in a jar if you’d like!
  • Toppings (optional): And finally, feel free to garnish the soup with any extra toppings that you love best! I often love adding on some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, plus perhaps some crumbled bacon or chopped fresh basil if we happen to have them on hand.

Step by step photos showing how to make zuppa toscana

Zuppa Toscana Recipe Variations

Here are a few other recipe variations that you’re welcome to try:

  • Add tomatoes: This soup is also wonderful with some diced tomatoes (I recommend fire-roasted) mixed in.
  • Add veggies: Add in any of your favorite soup-friendly veggies (such as carrots, cauliflower, peas, red bell pepper, zucchini, etc) that you would like.
  • Add beans: Add in a can of Great Northern white beans (rinsed and drained) if you would like to add in some extra protein.
  • Make it vegan: Use plant-based Italian sausage and your preferred plain non-dairy milk or cashew cream in place of the cream.
  • Make it spicier: I love adding spicy Italian sausage to this soup to give it some heat. But feel free to add in some crushed red pepper flakes to kick things up another notch.

Easy Gnocchi Zuppa Toscana in Pot

More Cozy Soup Recipes

Looking for more Italian-inspired cozy soup recipes to try? Here are a few of our faves:

Easy Zuppa Toscana with Gnocchi in Bowl

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Easy Zuppa Toscana Soup with Gnocchi

Easy Gnocchi Zuppa Toscana

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x

Description

This easy Zuppa Toscana recipe, inspired by the Olive Garden version, uses store-bought gnocchi as a shortcut to bring this creamy sausage and kale soup together in just 30 minutes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage (I recommend spicy)
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (1-pound) package gnocchi
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • optional toppings: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled crispy bacon, chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Cook the sausage, onions and garlic. Add the sausage and onions to a large stockpot. Cook for 8-10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks, until the sausage is browned and the onion has softened. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Simmer. Add chicken stock and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Add the gnocchi, kale, heavy cream, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the surface of the soup.
  3. Season. Taste and season the soup with salt and black pepper as needed.
  4. Serve. Serve warm, sprinkled with any of your desired toppings, and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe edit: This recipe was edited slightly in 2022 to add onions. The original recipe also included 1 small jar of roasted red peppers (drained and diced), which you are welcome to add in with the chicken stock if you would like!

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215 comments on “Easy Gnocchi Zuppa Toscana”

  1. Can this soup be frozen?

  2. I made this tonight for dinner. My daughter and I enjoyed this (that says a lot since my dd is picky). Perfect for a snowy night like tonight. I picked up turkey sausage at the market by accident, so I just seasoned it well while cooking. I will defiantly make this again.

  3. This recipe looks perfect for my husband favorite soup… Will have to def try since you made it so simple… Plus adding gnocchi is a plus, we discovered these little treasures when on vacation in Ca and loved them ever since… I would like to know where you purchased your beautiful silverware.. It so modern and reminds me of the ones my mother had years ago.. I recently purchased some but love yours a lot more. Thanks for the recipe! 

  4. Thank you the soup is fabulous, I made this recipe yesterday with topping grated Parmesan cheese

  5. Made this last night. Super good! I actually like it much better than Olive Gardens! Not a fan of the potatoes in their soup. But Gnocchi fits perfectly with this soup! So delicious! Simple to make. Yum! 

  6. So delicious!  I made this tonight so easy & so tasty! 

  7. Found this on Pinterest and I’m so glad I did, this is a new favorite recipe! It is absolutely delicious and my husband and I “taste tested” it before serving it and decided it didn’t even need the cream, it was fantastic as is. Next time though, I’ll add it to stay true to the recipe. I did put in 2 cloves of garlic, just because I love garlic. Thank you for sharing!!

  8. I made this soup several times last winter and I am looking forward to some cooler weather to make it again this year. It is so delicious, easy to make, and convenient to have on hand for lunches. My husband and I both love it. Thanks for the great recipe. 

  9. what would you recommend to replace the red (bell) peppers if you can’t eat them?

  10. Made this soup and absolutely loved it!! Thanks for such a tasty recipe!?

  11. This is delicious and so simple! Will definitely be on our regular rotation for cold weather dinners. Thanks!

  12. So easy and comforting! Move over tortellini, gnocchi is my new best friend. Thanks for a great recipe!

  13. One of the absolutely best soups my hubs and I have ever had!! I never review recipes and many times I am disappointed even after reading rave reviews. So thank you! I didn’t have spicy sausage so I added red pepper flakes and it was perfect. Definitely a keeper! ?

    • Thank you so much Vicki, what a nice compliment! We’re glad you and your husband enjoy this so much! :)

  14. I make this and small bits of cauliflower, delicious.

    • We’re so glad you liked it Bobbie, and that cauliflower sounds like a yummy addition!

  15. Made this tonight. Yum!!

  16. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I substituted spinach for the kale because that’s what I had on hand. My husband, two 8-year-olds and 4-year-old all gobbled it up. I will definitely be making it again. Thank you for the recipe! 

  17. Where can I find the gnocchi in the grocery store??

    • Hi Cherry, you should be able to find it in the dried pasta aisle, as well as in the refrigerated pasta section and/or the frozen foods section. We hope this helps!

  18. Can I use frozen gnocchi? How should I adjust cooking time? 

    • Hi Amanda! We haven’t tried this with frozen gnocchi, but we think you could probably still add the gnocchi in the last five minutes of cooking. We hope you enjoy!

  19. This is a new favorite with our family! After a long day out, the kids were hungry so I made this. I substituted with chicken tortellini and smoked beef sausage. I was mistaken when I thought we’d have left overs :) Thank you!!!!

    • You’re welcome Renee, we’re glad you and your family are fans, thanks for giving the recipe a try! :)

  20. loved reading  your story. first i just glanced the pics and thought this looks like DeLallos, sure enough it is. yes i’m lucky enough to shop at the store often.now i cant wait to stop out and pick up everything i need for this soup. thank you for sharing.

  21. Can you please post the nutrition facts for this recipe? It would much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    • Hi Kara! Unfortunately we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently aren’t publishing nutrition facts on the site, because the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  22. Love love love this recipe. Super easy and delicious. Left out the red peppers today and used 2% milk. (Didn’t feel like running to the store and I had kale in the freezer) still delicious. 
    Thanks so much. It’s one of regulars! 
    I’ve got some whole wheat gnocchi I’m trying next time. 

  23. Love this soup!!! I only thing I switched up was Russet Potatoes instead of Gnocchi :) 

  24. This soup is amazing! I’m very lactose intolerant and I usually leave out cream. I tried substituing the cream with Goya full fat coconut milk, and it was delicious. It tastes cheesy.

    • Thanks Jules! We’re so happy you enjoyed it and that you were able to use coconut milk – yum! :)

  25. this soup makes my family go crazy! We loooove it SO much! So easy, so tasty, our favorite soup right now. Thank you for sharing!!

  26. Could fat free half and half be substituted for the heavy cream? Also, I have a huge container of fresh spinach at home, could I use that instead of kale? 
    Thanks! 

    • Yes, we think that would definitely work fine! And we think spinach will also work great (you just don’t need to add it until the very end). We hope you enjoy! :)

  27. Thank you for this recipe ! It was delicious! Me and my family like it, and is in our house recipes now. Super easy to make 

  28. I made this tonight and it is delicious.  I used Delallo mini gnocchi, low sodium chicken broth, and baby kale.  Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  29. I made this for the Third Time tonight. I absolutely love it. I brought left overs to work last time and had many people ask for the recipe. This time I used mild Italian sausage, vegetable stock and evaporated milk. It was sublime!!!! No additional salt or pepper needed. To respond to Chris (below), I wouldn’t recommend freezing soup with the gnocchi in it. I find it gets sticky and mushy the second time it is heated. Instead, freeze the broth (with meat and veg) and just boil up some gnocchi and add it to the next batch when you are ready.   Five star recipe for sure!!!!!

  30. I made this last night with some packaged gluten free gnocchi, and with a cream cheese / yogurt blend instead of cream (didn’t have any cream in the fridge). It was amazing and even my picky husband loved it.  Very filling.  Super impressed with this seemingly-simple recipe!!!!

  31. I make this often. So quick. So easy. So delicious. My family loved it! Thanks for sharing

  32. This is quite possibly the most delicious soup I have ever made in my entire life… I still cannot get over how it has only 7 ingredients but is just so incredibly tasty! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  33. This soup is one of my favs but I’ve recently had to go dairy free and I was wondering if anyone had made this with coconut milk:?would that be so weird?? It’s hard going dairy free! :)

    • Sure, you’re welcome to give it a try with unsweetened coconut milk! It’ll be a little different, but probably still very good! :)

  34. This was delicious! And so easy! Is it freezable? We have quite a bit leftover and there are onky two of us.

  35. We visited a friend recently and she made this soup. My husband and I really liked it so I decided to make it after we got home. There were a few of things I changed. First, I doubled the onions and the broth because we wanted left overs. I did not add the cream and did not miss it. I did not like the texture of the gnocchi so I used four red potatoes, peeled and chopped into gnocchi sized pieces. I also added some peas just because I love peas. Finally, I used both kale and some baby spinach I left over. We topped it with parmesan and the soup was hearty and delicious. I will definitely make it again.

    • Thanks for sharing your take on this (we bet the kale and spinach were yummy)! We’re glad you and your husband enjoyed it!

  36. What would you consider 1 “bunch” of kale? The way that it is bunched at the grocery store seems like a lot of kale for the amount of soup. Thanks!

    • Hi Kristen! The kale will definitely cook down a lot, so always use more than you think you’d need, but you’re right, an entire bunch of kale (like you see sold in the store) would be too much. We’d suggest eyeballing it (depending on how much kale you want). You might use about half of that bunch. We hope you enjoy!

  37. I dont understand. How do you bring to a simmer over medium high heat?? Do you mean bring to a boil?

    • Hi Meredith! No, we never actually let this come to a boil. Medium-high heat is all you should need to bring it to a simmer. We hope you enjoy the soup!

  38. This looks amazing! Any suggestions on replacing the cream for something non-dairy?

    • Thanks, Holley! For a non-dairy alternative, you could try plain (unsweetened) almond or soy milk in this. We hope you enjoy!

  39. Made this today on a rainy winter Saturday afternoon……..hearty and delicious.   I crumbled field roast vegan Italian sausage instead of meat and didn’t have roasted peppers so used roasted tomatoes packed in oil (drained & chopped).   Also didnt have any kale left so substituted spinach and chopped arugula.     Even with substitutions this was easy, delicious and with the limited ingredients a quick go to for those with hectic schedules.   Some fresh arugula on top with really good parmesan….heaven.   Thanks so much for sharing great ideas that make life so much more interesting.    

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Kristine — we’re so happy you enjoyed it and we think your substitutions sound great! :)

  40. I love gnocchi, so had to dig in when I saw this recipe, love the sausage and heavy cream too, nice winter dish, kale is a nice touch too, just what I was looking for, thank you for this recipe!

  41. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this soup! My daughter introduced me to it over a year ago and I’ve passed the recipe on to others. Soooo good! Thank you! Made a triple batch for a volunteer thank you luncheon and tomorrow will make it for a priest’s farewell from our parish. I’m not a fan of red peppers, so I just omit them. I also add Italian seasoning or Mrs. Dash – whatever I have on hand.

  42. Do you think it would taste okay if I replaced the roasted red pepper with cherry tomatoes?

    • Hi Allie! We haven’t tried that before but we think that would still be yummy! :)

  43. Love love love this recipe. I have made it at least 50x since I first found it on Pinterest a few years back. Through the years I have altered it slightly to make it my own. I am not a huge fan of sausage so I cut the sausage amount in half (1/2 lbs.) which gives just enough sausage for me to handle but still plenty of flavor from the ‘hot italian’ spices. I am also not a huge fan of the gnocchi so I just add more kale because I love kale and to give it more bulk that usually is from the gnocchi. I enjoy this version a lot better than the Olive Garden version. :O

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Stefanie! We’re thrilled to hear you enjoy this! :)

  44. Made this last night, doubled the broth, subbed heavy cream for skim milk, and also used turkey Italian sausage to make it healthier. Used mini gnochhi. It was fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  45. Delicious! Used tortellini (not a fan of gnocchi) and it was a huge Family hit!

  46. Love this! And so does my family. I sub coconut milk for the heavy cream. Quick and delicious weeknight supper!

  47. Loved it! Easy to make and very filling. I’ll definitely make it again.

  48. Made this today, it was very delicious, and super easy to make….Thanks for the recipe!!!

  49. Easy and delicious! Husband approved! I did find that a teaspoon of salt could have been reduced to half or less. The hot Italian sausage seems to add a good amount of seasoning. So good! Looking forward to enjoying this recipe again. Thank you for sharing its goodness.

  50. My daughter cannot take any heat at all so I used sweet Italian sausage and we added red pepper flakes to the bowl. I added thinly sliced leeks, potatoes, substituted heavy cream with 6 oz. evaporated milk and added 2 additional cups of chicken broth to compensate for the added ingredients. It turned out delicious!

    Extras could probably freeze fine. I freeze soups and stews all the time and none of these ingredients should change in texture.