This sausage and gnocchi soup serves many purposes that apply right now—it’s easy, calls for pantry staples, and who doesn’t love Italian?—but it’s so good it’s sure to become a favorite you’ll be making for years to come.
Pantry staple recipes are having a renaissance and we’re stocking our pantries with all the right stuff to prove It. Soups with simple pantry ingredients like 5-ingredient Thai Pumpkin Soup and Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup and pastas like Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce are saving weeknight eats while keeping us all eating healthy.
Canned tomatoes, chicken stock, and shelf-stable packaged gnocchi are cooked with fresh or frozen spinach, onions, and sausage to make this quick cooking soup recipe easy to slurp with abandon.
Make this soup now for it’s pantry-friendly ingredients (see my list of ingredient substitutions below) then keep it forever for it’s comforting, familiar flavors and easy-to-make method.
What Is Gnocchi?
While it’s hard to choose your favorite child, gnocchi just might be my favorite pasta. If you’ve never eaten gnocchi before, IMO you’re really missing out.
Essentially, gnocchi is a small dumpling that’s made with some combination of mashed potatoes, flour, and sometimes eggs or cheese. When made right, they’re ultra soft and slightly chewy. It can be made from scratch or purchased in vacuum sealed packages that can be kept in the pantry.
Gnocchi can be dressed up so many different ways and are a cinch to cook. You know they’re finished cooking when the dumplings float on top of the boiling water or in this case, soup broth.
What’s In This Gnocchi Soup
This soup’s inspiration is steeped in the traditional Italian flavors of simple ingredients to make a homey soup that delivers all the comfort we’re craving now.
- Ground sausage—I used regular pork sausage with dried herbs below added for flavor
- Dried fennel seeds
- Red pepper flakes
- Canned, diced tomatoes with their juice—regular or with basil added
- Chicken stock
- Italian seasoning
- Gnocchi—sold in shelf stable packaging
- Grated Parmesan cheese
How to Prepare the Sausage
I used plain, ground sausage in this recipe, but both pork or turkey sausage would work well too. If you have it, Italian flavor sausage adds just another Italian notch in your soup making belt.
Adding the seasonings to the sausage is super easy—it’s done right in the pot. Add the sausage to the hot oil and break it up with a wooden spoon so all of the small sausagey chunks get time with the heat.
To release the flavorful oils from the seeds, rub and crush the dried fennel seeds between your fingers. Add the fennel to the sausage with the red pepper flakes, continuing to break up the sausage and combining the flavors. A nice caramelization does wonders for any meat and browning adds flavor to the soup. However, you don’t want it too crispy since it will continue to cook with the onion and garlic as noted below.
How to Make This Gnocchi Soup
Once the sausage is browned, add the onion and garlic to the pot together and cook until softened and fragrant, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn and become bitter.
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and water with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a rolling simmer to cook for 5 minutes for the tomatoes to lose their raw flavor and the seasonings and flavors to meld.
Add the gnocchi to the broth and stir. The gnocchi will rise to the top of the broth when done cooking. They should taste soft and a little bit chewy.
Because the spinach wilts quickly, add it to the soup off the heat so it stays bright green and somewhat leafy. Simply stir in to the warm broth where it will soften into the soup.
Fresh/Frozen/Pantry Ingredient Substitutions
This soup can flex and bend with ingredients you have on hand or like the most, such as:
- Instead of regular pork sausage, use Italian pork sausage or turkey sausage. Plain 90% lean ground turkey won’t be as flavorful but is a fine substitution too.
- Fennel seeds impart a uniquely Italian licorice flavor. If you don’t have fennel seeds, use crushed anise seeds or crushed caraway seeds.
- Plain, canned diced tomatoes can be substituted with whole tomatoes that have been crushed with your fingers with their juice, or canned Italian-flavored diced tomatoes with garlic and basil. Avoid using tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes which would make this soup more of a sauce.
- Frozen chopped onions will work instead of fresh yellow or white onions.
- If fresh spinach isn’t on hand, substitute frozen spinach that’s been thawed with all of the water squeezed from it. Or, try another leafy green instead like chopped kale, thinly sliced cabbage, or swiss chard.
Make This Soup Vegetarian
To make this gnocchi soup vegetarian, use a plant-based meat alternative instead of sausage. Or, sauté the onion and garlic with a 15 ounce can canned beans (drain and rinse first) like chickpeas or cannellini beans instead. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make it veg-friendly.
Can You Freeze This Soup?
This soup is great to freeze for later. Ladle cooled soup into a freezer safe container or zip lock gallon freezer bags and place flat in the freezer so they’re easily stackable. Label with the contents and date before filling the bags. The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.
More Simple Soups to Make Now
- Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup
- Easy Taco Soup (Stove Top, Crock Pot Or Instant Pot)
- Easy Hamburger Vegetable Soup
- The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup With Sausage And Kale
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Sausage and Gnocchi Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces ground pork sausage
- ¾ teaspoon dried fennel seeds , crushed between your fingers
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ yellow onion , chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , pressed or minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 16 ounce package gnocchi
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- Parmesan cheese , grated
- In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium high. Add the sausage, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and brown, breaking the sausage apart with wooden spoon. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the chicken stock, water, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the top, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
More Pantry Ingredient Italian Recipe Ideas
- Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce
- How To Make The Best Minestrone Soup
- Tuscan Tuna And White Bean Salad
- Pasta Pomodoro Sauce
- Pasta With Turkey Sausage And Peas
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This was amazingly delicious! I made homemade gnocchi using leftover mashed potatoes, which made it extra yummy. Thanks for the great recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it Licy! Thanks for the 5 star rating.
Thank u so much for this, I had made gnocchi a week ago and had extra, so I froze some and I’m very happy I came across this recipe!:) used chorizo sausage instead because,, spicier,, but this was great thank u
Made this today. Terrific flavors. Used turkey Italian sausage. Definitely a keeper! Thank you Heidi.
Glad you liked it :)
This was honestly the BEST soup I’ve ever had! I will definitely keep this recipe in my BEST category.
I’ve made this several times now and got the ingredients to make it again today! I make it with less pepper than directed, as my family thinks it is too spicy otherwise. I like spice, so if I were just making it for me, I would use as is. Really quick to whip up for a delicious soup recipe!
Excellent soup for a wintry night. I used gf gnocchi and 2 tbsp. of tomato paste to thicken it some. Yum!
This was awesome. Didn’t have fennel so skipped. Still good. Spicy, so if you don’t like spicy may want to skip red pepper flakes. A definite keeper. Thanks.
So glad you enjoyed it Larine!
I finally made this soup last night. It was wonderful! It was simple, and took so little time. I even had a guest for dinner, who thought it was fantastic and ate three bowls of it. Usually to get that kind of flavor from a soup, you have to slow cook it for a while, but this recipe layers the flavors through the process. so it doesn’t need to be slow cooked. It was absolutely fantastic.
I love this soup, it’s delicious!
I have made this soup twice! Delicious! I use kale instead of spinach and also used chicken Italian sausage.
So glad you liked it Cara!
This sounds delicious. I wonder how Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi would work in this recipe? I have it in my freezer and would love a different way to prepare it than pan sauté.
I bet it would be great Beth!
Great recipe, subbed the sausage for a plant based meat and used nutritional yeast instead of parmesan to make it vegan friendly. Also added about a tablespoon of tomato paste
Absolutely delicious!!!! Used GF gnocchi for my in-laws and we all loved it!! The flavor is out of this world!! Definitely a keeper recipe and so very easy to make.
So glad you enjoyed it Cindy.
Made this last night! I added more chicken broth and some tomato paste. Replacing spinach with kale would be good too. Such a tasty soup!!!
Sounds like some good additions Kay, and yes, spinach always works in soups.
I couldn’t find gnocchi in the midst of this quarantine so I’m using cheese tortellini a hoping for the best!
That sounds like a great substitution Marcy!
Tortellini is a great sub Marcy.
Made this amazing soup as directed and absolutely loved the results! Less than 30 min from start to finish! We did cook tomato, broth and onion liquid longer to soften onions but other than that, I recommend you try it as written first!
I’m so glad you liked it Krista. Thanks for coming back and letting us know and rating it with 5 stars!
Great to hear Krista, so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the 5 star rating.
Fabulous soup!! I’m gluten free and found gluten free gnocchi. We might even use ground beef instead of sausage. Will make again!!
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
2nd time making this so easy and delicious !! My family has declared the soup of the fall/winter season
Happy to hear you and your family enjoy it Nikki!