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Easy Vegan Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Maša Ofei
  • 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)

Tomato sauce:

  • 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)


  1. 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.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, we can make the tomato sauce. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to come to a boil while you shape the gnocchi.
  8. Using a dough scraper or knife, cut the dough into four even pieces. Take one of them and set the rest to the side.
  9. Remember to lightly flour your surface. Roll the dough out into a rope around 1-inch thick.
  10. 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.)
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Cook them for another 2 minutes once they’ve risen to the top. Remove with slotted spoon or strainer.
  14. Repeat the process until all the gnocchi is cooked.
  15. 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.
  16. Once you have all the cooked gnocchi in the tomato sauce, add around ½ cup of the gnocchi cooking water to loosen it. 
  17. 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

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