Easy Vegan Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce
If you love vegan gnocchi, you can’t go past soft and fluffy pillows of potato dough that have been cooked to perfection and tossed in the simplest of tomato sauces.
You’ll be surprised how easy this dish is to make and how impressive it is on the plate. The recipe, including the sauce, requires only 6 ingredients and is what comfort food dreams are made of. You can serve this vegan gnocchi as a first course or a main.
There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal that can be made in bigger batches and frozen for later to enjoy dinner in under 10 minutes.
Kitchen tools needed to make this vegan potato gnocchi
The kitchen equipment that you’ll need to craft this dish are the following:
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- Potato ricer or masher
- Large bowl
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Dough scraper or knife
- Gnocchi board or fork (optional)
- Slotted spoon or spider strainer
Tips for getting the best results
Even though making gnocchi is easier than you think, here are a few important tips to get you the best results:
- When buying the potatoes, try to select potatoes of similar size. This makes it easier for all of them to cook through simultaneously and only until they’re fork tender.
- Do not peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks. Although this may seem like a time saver — when boiling the potatoes this way the dough will be too wet to work with and you may need to add more flour.
- Work with the potatoes while they’re still hot (enough to handle) so that the starch doesn’t become like glue and sticky. I find that holding them with a fork while I peel with a paring knife is the easiest.
- Do not use an electric appliance to mash the potatoes. Using one of these will make the mix smooth but very sticky and gluey and this is not the desired outcome. Best results are achieved using a potato ricer or food mill. This way you can make sure there are no lumps but the mash is still fluffy and soft, resulting in lighter gnocchi.
- Be careful not to add too much flour as the gnocchi will be hard and chewy. Instead, you’ll know that the dough is ready when it’s fluffy, elastic, and doesn’t stick to your fingers or your working surface.
- The amount of flour you’ll need will depend on how wet or dry your potatoes are. So you’ll need to feel your way through to get a sense of the right amount of flour. Try and use older potatoes that have less moisture in them. Please avoid new potatoes for this recipe.
- Do not overwork the dough. Overworking it will develop the gluten in the flour too much resulting in rubbery gnocchi. Knead it just enough for it to come together.
- Add a generous amount of salt to your cooking water to prevent the gnocchi from absorbing too much water as they cook.
Freeze some for dinner in under 10 minutes!
If you want to have a delicious, homemade meal but don’t want to fuss, make a double or triple batch of this gnocchi and freeze them for later. These freeze very well, here’s how you do it.
Place the UNCOOKED gnocchi on a tray lined with baking paper and place them into the freezer. When they have just frozen after a couple of hours, transfer them into a freezer bag.
To cook the frozen gnocchi, take them out of the freezer and place them directly into a pot of salted boiling water. Then wait for them to rise to the top as you would be instructed in the recipe below.
The sauce can be made from scratch while the gnocchi boils, ideal for tossing straight into it.
No need for takeaway when you can have dinner ready in less than 10 minutes and a delicious one at that!
What is vegan gnocchi made of?
Vegan gnocchi is made of 4 simple ingredients. Starchy potatoes, flour, oil, and salt. Now let’s break down why we use each ingredient and what role they play to make the perfect vegan gnocchi.
The hardest part is choosing the right potato and knowing how to prepare it. Older potatoes have less moisture in them so they are ideal. Floury and starchy potatoes are the best for making soft gnocchi. Russet, Idaho, Yukon, Nicola, King Edward, Dutch Cream, and Red Potatoes are best. The starch in the potato will help to bind the gnocchi together.
I like to use 00 Italian flour for gnocchi as it’s a finer milled flour resulting in softer gnocchi. However, you can use all-purpose (plain) flour as well. The amount of flour needed for gnocchi varies. You may need more or less four, it’s best to do it by feel and using the recipe below as a guide.
Oil is not traditionally used, however, a small amount helps to give the gnocchi moisture and form. You can use olive oil or any other neutral-tasting oil.
Salt helps to bring out the flavours in any dish. Here, it serves two purposes. To flavour the gnocchi but also prevent the gnocchi from absorbing too much water when they’re cooking.
Fun fact: There are many parts of Italy where egg is actually not used in making gnocchi. As recipes have been passed down over generations, eggs were more of a luxury, and using them in gnocchi wasn’t necessary.
What can you serve with eggless gnocchi?
The simple tomato sauce that I’ve included in this recipe is a more traditional approach and I wanted to keep it quick and easy. Quality ingredients speak for themselves and you can adjust them to your personal taste as well. If you want to try something else with these vegan gnocchi, here’s a bit of inspiration!
- Topped with Marinated Vegan Bocconcini (Mozzarella Cheese)
- Slices of Chargrilled Capsicums in Garlic Parsley Oil (Red Bell Peppers)
- Vegan Walnut Pesto (loosened with some cooking water)
- Sauce from the 20-Minute Creamy Vegan Red Pepper Pasta
- Sauce from the Creamy Vegan Leek and Mushroom Pasta
- Sauce from My Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese
- Or the super simple 10-minute tomato sauce as listed in the recipe!
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Smokey Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese
- Vegan Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna
- Vegan Moussaka
- Rustic Vegan Caprese Salad
- Panzanella Salad (Italian Tomato & Bread Salad)
If you try this recipe, let me know! We’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your recipe photo on Pinterest.Print
Easy Vegan Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 2-4
Soft and fluffy pillowy potato dough that has been cooked to perfection and tossed in a quick and easy tomato sauce. Freezer-friendly and easy-to-make Italian classic that will undoubtedly be a crowd pleaser!
- 500g / 1.1 pounds similar-sized starchy potatoes,* washed (do not peel them)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or neutral oil)
- 1 cup/ 140g 00 flour (fine Italian flour), plus extra for rolling and dusting (all-purpose flour will also work)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 can / 400g / 14.10 ounces whole peeled tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fresh basil leaves, torn if large or whole if small (optional)
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste (optional)
- Vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
- Place the potatoes in a large pot with 1-inch extra and bring the water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they’re fork tender (do not overcook them). It should take between 25-35 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, we can make the tomato sauce.
- In a skillet on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes just before it starts to brown. We want to release the aroma without giving it colour.
- Add in the tomatoes, squeezing each whole tomato between your hands (the messy way) or chopping them up with a paring knife inside the can (which is what I do). Fill up half the can with water and add that to the pan as well. If you still have any large chunks left, break them up with the back of your cooking utensil. Season with salt, and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Reduce to low heat and let it gently simmer.
- When the potatoes are fork-tender cooked, remove them from the pot with a fork (if you drain them, they make btreak up and get moisture inside the potato). Hold each one carefully mid-air with a fork, peeling back the skin with a pairing knife, and add them to a large bowl.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato ricer, food mill, or masher. Please do this while potatoes are still hot because this way, the potatoes will break down easier, and the dough will be smooth. When all the lumps are out, add the flour, salt, and oil and knead the dough inside the bowl. When the ingredients have combined completely, take it out of the bowl and do it on a floured board or surface. Do not overwork the dough; this should only take a few minutes.
- Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to come to a boil while you shape the gnocchi.
- Using a dough scraper or knife, cut the dough into four even pieces. Take one of them and set the rest to the side.
- Remember to lightly flour your surface. Roll the dough out into a rope around 1-inch thick.
- Line a tray with a tea towel and dust with flour to have it ready as you roll the gnocchi to place them there. (Optional step, I normally just put them on a plate.)
- Cut the dough into small bite-sized pieces. If you don’t want to shape them, go to the next step. If you do, use a fork or a gnocchi board to indent them. I roll each piece of dough into a ball and then indent it on the gnocchi board as I find that it gives me the nicest round shape. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Using the slotted spoon or spider strainer, add about 10-15 gnocchi into the strainer and lower it into the water. This will prevent you from splashing boiling water on yourself. Do this one more time so you have around 25 gnocchi in the pot at one time, depending on the size of your pot. Don’t overcrowd it.
- Cook them for another 2 minutes once they’ve risen to the top. Remove with slotted spoon or strainer.
- Repeat the process until all the gnocchi is cooked.
- If you’re not adding them straight to the sauce, make sure to drizzle a little bit of olive oil over them and toss to coat so that they don’t stick together.
- Once you have all the cooked gnocchi in the tomato sauce, add around ½ cup of the gnocchi cooking water to loosen it.
- Serve immediately with your choice of toppings. We love it with pitted kalamata olives, freshly cracked pepper, vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.
Potato variety and size: We’ve tried with King Edward and Dutch Cream, and they both worked great. Other varieties are Russet, Idaho, and Yukon. When buying the potatoes, try to select potatoes of similar size. This makes it easier for all of them to cook through simultaneously.
Mashing potatoes: Do not use an electric appliance to mash the potatoes. Using one of these will make the mix smooth but very sticky and stretchy, which is not the desired outcome. Best results are achieved using the back of a fork, a potato ricer, or a masher. This way, you can ensure no lumps, but the mash is still fluffy and soft.
Freezing: These freeze very well. If you feel you won’t eat the whole lot, place the UNCOOKED dumplings on a tray lined with baking paper and place them into the freezer. When they have just frozen after a couple of hours, you can put them all together into a freezer bag. To cook the frozen gnocchi, take them out of the freezer and place them directly into a pot of boiling water. Then wait for them to rise to the top as instructed in the recipe above.
See tips in the post for more guidelines to make the best gnocchi.
Additions to tomato sauce: You can add capers, olives, semi-sundried tomatoes, sliced red peppers, artichoke hearts, or peas to your sauce if you want extra flavour. Our marinated bocconcini go well too.
You can watch the full recipe video over on our YouTube channel.
- Diet: Vegan
Hi it’s me again. I am trying to make these but how can I choose the right type of potatoes? We buy them locally from farmers no names no nothing. Or just make with what I find and hope for the best?
Hi Joe, sorry only seeing this now. Have you made them yet? That’s tricky. I would suggest looking up some of the potato varieties that are local to your area and seeing if they match what the farmer has on offer. I’d be surprised if the farmer didn’t know which kind they had. Good luck! Sorry, I can’t be of more help.
I can get durum flour which is used in making Italian pasta. Maybe I can use that. What do you think?
Hi Joe, for this style of gnocchi I wouldn’t advise using semolina as it’s too dense.