Cozy up with a bowl of this rich and creamy Gnocchi Soup made with Italian sausage, roasted balsamic eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, kale and white beans. Try it once and I guarantee it will become a new family favorite.
Soup season is one of my favorite times of the year. Just about every week you will find me in the kitchen making a big batch of soup for my family to enjoy all week long for lunches. I often freeze half of whatever I’m making too so we have a quick dinner on hand for busy weeknights. This Creamy Tuscan Gnocchi Soup with Italian sausage, roasted eggplant and kale is a new recipe for our family this year, but it has been on constant repeat all season long.
Creamy and full of flavor, this soup starts with a hearty base of sweet Italian sausage, onions and garlic. Then, balsamic-roasted eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes are added for bold earthy flavor while lots of herbs and fennel seed add tons of spice and aroma. Finished with heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, gnocchi and tons of chopped kale, it’s an indulgent soup packed with nutrition that I can’t seem to get enough of.
Tips for Making This Soup
I make this soup most often on my stovetop. I love that it can be ready in under an hour and uses a single pot for easy clean-up. Other times, I’ll prep the soup on the stove and transfer in it to a slow cooker to finish cooking. Either way, the results are a bowl of heavenly, comforting soup. Here are just a few tips for making this simple, gnocchi soup.
Roast the eggplant
This step is technically optional, but I love the taste and texture the roasted eggplant gives this soup. It’s an extra opportunity to add a layer of flavor to the soup, so I strongly encourage that you do it. Roast the eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season with dried thyme. Then roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes. While it cooks, you can start prep on the other ingredients so it really doesn’t add any time to the recipe—just lots of flavor.
Avoid Sun-dried Tomatoes Packed in Oil
Rather than using the sun-dried tomatoes marinated in oil that are typically found in a glass jar, look for sun-dried tomatoes packed in a sealed bag. The extra oil from the tomatoes will separate from the other ingredients while the soup cooks and leads to an oily soup that requires constant stirring. It doesn’t affect the taste but doesn’t look very appealing so opt for the ones without oil if you can.
Use Store-bought Gnocchi
If you have the time to make gnocchi from scratch, by all means, give it a whirl. However, I find that store-bought gnocchi works great for this soup and saves a lot of time. I also feel that the prepackaged gnocchi help thicken the soup as they cook as opposed to homemade gnocchi.
Opt for Half and Half
I’m always a fan of using lower fat milk options in most recipes. This recipe, however, is not one of them. I love the richness the half and half gives this soup. While you could certainly use whole milk or a low-fat milk option in its place, they just won’t yield quite the same result. Indulge with this one and let it be a fat and happy recipe. You’ll thank me later.
My favorite way to serve this creamy Gnocchi Soup is with a crusty baguette, extra Parmesan cheese for garnish and crushed red pepper flakes to add a touch of heat. We just made this soup again last night as it snowed outside and it was the perfect dinner to keep you feeling cozy and warm.
If you make this creamy Gnocchi Soup with Italian Sausage, Tuscan Vegetables and White Beans, snap a photo and tag me on social media. It’s @frydaeblog and #frydaeblog absolutely everywhere! Please leave a rating and comment below for this recipe too. I love to hear how you’re adapting my recipes in your kitchen to suit your family’s tastes and preferences. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy. Happy Frydae!
Looking for other great, fall soup recipes? Try this Autumn Apple Butternut Squash Soup next.
Gnocchi Soup with Italian Sausage, Tuscan Vegetables and White Beans
For the Balsamic Eggplant
- 2 cups eggplant, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Remaining Soup Ingredients
- 1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or spicy
- 1 cup white onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 14 ounce canned white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes*, chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth, low-sodium or unsalted
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 cups half and half
- 2 16 ounce packages gnocchi
- 4 cups fresh kale, chopped
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment and then arrange the cubed eggplant in a single layer. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then season with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast for 20-25 minutes and then remove. Set aside until it's time to add the eggplant to the soup.Meanwhile, brown 1 pound of Italian sausage in a large stockpot over medium heat. When the sausage is almost brown, add diced onion, celery, carrots and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables have softened, about 8-10 minutes.Next, add the dried fennel seed, Italian seasoning, fresh basil and parsley. Stir to combine and then add the white beans, cooked eggplant and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.Pour 4 cups of chicken stock over the ingredients. Stir and bring to a simmer. In a measuring cup, whisk 1 cup of the half and half with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Add it to the soup, stir and then cover with a lid. Let cook on low for 15-20 minutes until the soup has thickened.Next, add the gnocchi, Parmesan cheese, kale and remaining 3 cups of half and half. If the soup is looking thin at this stage, don’t worry. The cornstarch will continue to thicken the soup and the gnocchi will also release starches as they cook to help thicken the soup. Let cook for 8-10 minutes until the kale is wilted and gnocchi have cooked through. Serve warm in bowls garnished with additional parmesan cheese and a baguette of crusty bread for soaking up all the creamy broth.Enjoy.
*avoid using the sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. Opt for ones packaged dry in a resealable bag, if possible Slow Cooker Instructions To make this soup in a slow cooker, transfer sausage and sauteed vegetables to the Crock-Pot once browned and softened on the stovetop. Then, add the herbs, spices, eggplant, beans and cooked eggplant. Stir and then pour the chicken stock over the soup. Add in 1 cup of the half and half mixed with cornstarch over the soup and then let cook on low for 4-6 hours. After 4-6 hours, uncover and add the gnocchi, kale and grated parmesan along with the remaining half and half. Cook for 1 hour on low and then serve.
Oh my god. This is one of my favorite recipes in a long time. In terms of effort put in vs result it’s one of the best I’ve ever found! Ingredients are all super affordable and hearty, doesn’t take too long to cook and barely makes any mess to clean up. It was so incredibly tasty, I had already had a similar idea for a sausage/gnocchi soup, but the balsamic eggplant and sundried tomatoes take it up a whole different level! Highly highly recommend, 10/10 recipe!
So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Brett. Thank you for the kind comment.
this recipe is outstanding! I have made this twice now.. I didnt use the eggplant (i thought it would break down too much from previous experience); and then I substituted 1/2 coconut cream and 1/2 coconut milk instead of dairy half & half and used nutritional yeast instead of parmesan to make the whole dish dairy-free. I used frozen cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s… it was DELICIOUS! Made this for a winter retreat that I catered and they all loved it (that’s why I had to modify some things for certain dietary restrictions). It still came out awesome. Thank you!
Thanks, Mukti, for the kind comment! I’m so glad you and your guests enjoyed. LOVE that you played around with the ingredients to make it dairy-free too! Thanks for sharing your swaps and tips.