Pregnancy has come with some odd cravings. They definitely haven’t all been nutritious and some of them leave my husband looking at me all disgustedly. Example: Mac & cheese with hotdogs and ketchup all mixed up in the same bowl. Yep.
Mostly, I crave familiar comfort foods from when I was growing up.
Honesty hour: I wasn’t vegan until age 24, so my favorites growing up weren’t vegan either. To be completely honest here, I’ve had cravings for things that aren’t vegan. However, I’m not giving up my ethics and I want to have a vegan-from-conception baby, so veganizing some of my old favorites has been the only option.
Veganizing Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup is just what I did. This soup tastes exactly the way I remember it tasting when I’d eat at Olive Garden with my family or on dates early in mine and Alex’s relationship.
The only significant difference you can expect if you make this is that I intentionally left out the celery from the original. You won’t find celery in my kitchen. Alex and I even joke that it’s not vegan because we dislike it so much.
Chick'n & Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)
Creamy, rich, hearty broth with chick'n, shredded carrots, spinach, and gnocchi perfect for a fall day
- 1 package Gardein meatless chick'n strips cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3 tbsp butter I use Earth Balance vegan butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1/2 cup carrots shredded
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth or vegan chicken broth *
- 1 1/3 cup vegan half & half **
- 1 pound potato gnocchi
- 3 cups baby spinach stems removed
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
In a large soup pot, melt the butter and mix with the olive oil over medium heat.
Add chopped onion, shredded carrots, and minced garlic. Season with pepper and cook over medium-low until tender, stirring frequently. This should take about 10 minutes to make sure the onion and carrots are tender.
Add the flour into the pot with the vegetables and stir continuously for 3 minutes.
Add in the broth and half & half and stir
Add the cooked meatless chick'n strips and bring the contents of the pot to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper***.
While the soup base is cooking, cook the gnocchi separately according to the instructions on the package.
Once soup base has finished cooking, add cooked gnocchi and spinach. Simmer until the spinach has wilted. Stir in basil.
Serve and enjoy.
**You can find vegan half & half in stores, or you can do what I do. Just mix 1 1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk and 3 tbsp melted butter
***The salt amount you'll want to add here will vary based on what broth you have chosen and how much sodium is in there. I didn't use any when I made this recipe. This will all be based on your preference.