Indulge in the joy of a simple and delightful gnocchi soup that draws inspiration from the beloved Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana. This easy-to-follow slow cooker sausage gnocchi soup recipe takes the hassle out of cooking by letting your slow cooker do the work, making it an ideal choice for busy days.
In this cooking guide, I'll teach you how to make a yummy creamy sausage and gnocchi soup using a slow cooker.
You'll see the list of ingredients, easy steps to prepare and cook it, and some tips to make a tasty slow cooker creamy sausage gnocchi soup right in your own kitchen.
The result is a creamy and flavorful delight, with the rich taste of Italian sausage and a medley of vibrant vegetables. Perfect for feeding the whole family, this sausage gnocchi soup promises a comforting and satisfying meal that captures the essence of homemade Italian goodness.
To whip up this easy slow cooker sausage gnocchi soup, gather these ingredients:
- Italian Sausage: Adds a savory and flavorful kick to the soup.
- Gnocchi: Provides a satisfying chewiness to the dish.
- Onion and Garlic: Form an aromatic base for the soup.
- Carrot and Celery: Add a touch of sweetness and crunch.
- Poultry Seasoning and Thyme: Bring comforting, herby notes to the flavor profile.
- Low-Sodium Chicken Broth: Forms the delicious soup base.
- Corn Starch: Helps thicken the soup for a hearty consistency.
- Heavy Cream: Adds a creamy richness to the overall texture.
- Kale or Spinach: Contributes vibrant greens for both color and nutritional value.
- Bay Leaf: Enhances the overall flavor profile of the soup, providing subtle, aromatic notes. Remember to remove it before serving.
How to Make Slow Cooker Sausage Gnocchi Soup
Here's a breakdown of how to make slow cooker creamy gnocchi sausage soup, step by step.
Step 1. Brown the Italian Sausage:
Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook the Italian sausage until the meat turns brown.
Step 2. Sauté the Aromatics and Vegetables:
Add onion and garlic to the skillet.
Cook for 2-3 minutes until they become fragrant.
Step 3. Slow Cook:
Transfer the sausage, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery mixture to the slow cooker.
Add broth, poultry seasoning, thyme, and bay leaf.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4 hours.
Step 4. Add Gnocchi and Corn Starch:
Open the lid and introduce gnocchi and a mixture of cornstarch with water into the soup.
Continue cooking on high heat for about 10 minutes.
Step 5. Add Heavy Cream and Kale:
Open the lid again and stir in the heavy cream and kale.
Close the lid and let it cook for another 15 minutes or longer until the kale leaves are wilted, and the flavors blend together.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, black pepper, or other seasonings.
Now, your Slow Cooker Gnocchi Soup is ready to be served, brimming with savory flavors and a comforting aroma!
Use a modest amount of heavy cream initially, as you can incorporate more later for a richer soup.
Here are some variations and substitutions to customize your crockpot creamy sausage gnocchi soup based on your preferences and ingredient availability:
1. Lighter Option: Use half and half, milk, or even evaporated milk for a lighter version of the soup.
2. Frozen Gnocchi: Instead of shelf-stable gnocchi, you can opt for frozen gnocchi. Keep in mind that it might require a bit more cooking time.
3. Spicy Twist: Add a spicy kick by incorporating a small amount of red chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the soup for some heat.
4. Italian Sausage Varieties: Choose between hot or mild Italian sausage based on your taste preferences.
5. Leafy Greens Alternatives: Substitute kale with spinach if you're not a fan of kale's texture or taste.
6. Gnocchi Replacement: If you can't find gnocchi, consider using diced russet potatoes as a suitable alternative.
7. Low-Carb Version: For those on a keto or low-carb diet, swap out the gnocchi with cauliflower to reduce the carb content.
8. Poultry Seasoning: If you don't have poultry seasoning, you can substitute it with Italian seasoning, sage, rosemary, or basil.
Feel free to experiment with these variations to tailor the Slow Cooker Gnocchi Soup to your liking and dietary needs!
These easy tips will help you create a tasty Gnocchi Zuppa Toscana in your slow cooker without any fuss!
- Brown the Sausage: Cook the Italian sausage until it turns brown for extra flavor.
- Boost the Aroma and Taste: Sauté onion and garlic to make the soup more flavorful.
- Fresh Ingredients: Choose fresh ingredients when cooking because they not only taste better but also look more appealing. Fresh veggies, herbs, and other ingredients bring a burst of flavor and vibrant colors to your dishes, enhancing the overall dining experience.
- Be Mindful Not to Add Too Much Slurry. Be cautious with the thickener, like cornstarch and water mix, in your soup. Remember, the soup tends to thicken as it sits and over time. To prevent it from becoming overly thick and gloopy, use the thickener sparingly. It's better to start with a little and add more if needed, allowing you to control the consistency and avoid ending up with a soup that's too thick. This way, you can enjoy the perfect texture without compromising the deliciousness of your slow-cooked gnocchi soup.
- Adjust Seasoning and Cooking Time as Needed. Feel free to adjust how long you cook it and the flavors if you want. Think of this recipe as a guide, then feel empowered to make it perfect for your personal taste. If you want more seasoning or need to speed up or slow down the cooking, go ahead and make those changes. Cooking is flexible, so make this gnocchi soup exactly the way you like it by tweaking things as needed.
Typically, store-bought prepackaged gnocchi is already pre-cooked, so there's no necessity to cook it again before incorporating it into the soup.
Gnocchi is considered done when it floats to the surface of the boiling water. Additionally, ensure that the gnocchi has a soft and pillowy texture to confirm it's fully cooked.
To prevent gnocchi from becoming mushy, add it towards the end of the slow-cooking process. Gnocchi cooks quickly and will continue to absorb liquid from the soup as it sits.
One alternative is to blend an equal amount of softened butter and flour, then incorporate the mixture into the soup to achieve thickening.
If you're not a fan of gnocchi or don't have it available, you can opt for diced russet potatoes or cheese tortellini instead.
To store slow cooker creamy sausage gnocchi soup, allow it to cool to room temperature. Transfer the soup to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
For longer storage, consider freezing the soup in a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. Thaw frozen soup in the refrigerator before reheating.
Always label containers with the date for easy tracking.
For additional food safety guidance, please visit this website.
To reheat slow cooker sausage gnocchi soup, gently warm it on the stovetop over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated.
Alternatively, use a microwave-safe container, heating in intervals and stirring between each until desired temperature is reached.
Check Out More Gnocchi Recipes
Slow Cooker Sausage Gnocchi Soup
- 1 pound shelf-stable gnocchi
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1½ cups diced yellow onion
- ¾ cup diced carrots
- ¾ cup diced celery
- 3 cans (14.5 oz each) low-sodium chicken broth, (about 5¼ cups)
- 1 large fresh thyme sprigs, (about ½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn starch, (mix with 1 tablespoon of water)
- 2 cups chopped kale
- salt and black pepper, (to taste)
- Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the sausage over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes.
- Add onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they become fragrant and slightly softened.
- Transfer sausage, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, broth, poultry seasoning, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Add gnocchi and a cornstarch-water mixture to the soup. Cook on high for approximately 10 minutes.
- Mix in heavy cream and kale, cooking for another 15 minutes or until kale wilts and flavors blend. Season with salt and black pepper.