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Comfort-food that is good for your body and your soul. This easy and vegan homemade gnocchi is one of our favourite vegan Italian dinners, usually served with a rich tomato sauce, but this time we made them spring-ready and mixed them in a light zucchini pesto.
For other delicious vegan Italian first courses, check out our:
- vegan carbonara
- spaghetti aglio olio
- penne all'arrabbiata
- artichoke pasta bake
- asparagus risotto
- cacio e pepe
- Potatoes: old potatoes are best, but I made gnocchi with literally any type of potato I had at hand.
- Flour: plain all-purpose flour works great.
- Sauce: gnocchi are similar to pasta, in the sense that you can pair them to a lot of different sauces. The most common one is a light tomato sauce.
Here we paired them with light springy zucchini pest made with zucchini, olive oil, nutritional yeast, macadamia nuts (or almonds), garlic, basil, salt and pepper.
Use old potatoes
Gnocchi are incredibly easy to make and everyone loves them. They definitely fall into comfort food category for me, as my grandma used to make them for me and my cousin with a mean tomato sauce usually on a lazy Sunday.
The first grandma tip to make sure that your gnocchi stick together while cooking is to avoid new potatoes. Instead, pick potatoes that are older, a bit mushy and that have lost some water. Also, better if you go for white-flesh potatoes. They'll absorb less flour while making the dough and their slightly higher starch content will make sure the gnocchi stick together.
We usually choose the first method as it is the simplest and fastest one. In any case, remember that you should never cut the potatoes or peel them before cooking them.
Work the dough quickly
Once your potatoes are cooked and mashed with a masher or potato ricer, you are ready to add the flour and make the dough. Try to knead the dough together quite quickly so that it doesn't become too chewy and hard when cooked. Our tip is to add 70 % of the flour first, then knead with your hands while the potatoes are still warm. Add more flour if needed to be, however remember that the gnocchi are more delicious with less flour. Depending on the type and age of potatoes, you'll need more or less flour. As a rule, consider about 100 to 200 grams of flour for 1Kg of potatoes.
Use the right cooking method
When cooking the potatoes you can use three different methods. The first and simplest one is to boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water. Start from cold water, and remember to keep the skin of the potatoes on. The second method is to bake them in the oven wrapped in foil. The last method is to steam them. Remember that the gnocchi will not turn out well if the potatoes absorb water. That is why you need to keep the skin on at all costs, and only peel the potatoes after they are cooked.
Gnocchi can be served smooth or with a lined pattern. In our opinion, if you have time, use a fork or a gnocchi board to create that pattern on the gnocchi so that they will grab more sauce.
Vegan homemade gnocchi
- Potato ricer or masher
For the gnocchi
- 500 grams (17.5 oz) white potatoes, unpeeled
- 150 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
For the pesto
- 1 medium zucchini
- 40 grams (1.4 oz) pine nuts, almonds, or macadamia
- ⅓ clove garlic
- 20 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil extra virgin
- 1 pinch sea salt fine
- 15 leaves basil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional
- In a large pot, put the potatoes with their skin to boil starting from cold water, cook until tender. Avoid sticking a fork through the potatoes too often as this will result in water-clogged potatoes that are not suitable for gnocchi-shaping
- When tender, drain the potatoes, let them cool just enough that you can handle them with your hands, and then peel them.
- With a potato ricer, mash the peeled potatoes on to a work surface or in a large bowl while they remain warm.
- Add flour and salt and knead the into a smooth dough, strive for as little manipulation as possible.
- Stop adding flour when the dough is homogenous and soft, depending on the water-content of your potatoes, you might need to add extra flour.
- Spread a thin layer of flour on your work surface and start rolling the dough into long, thin rolls.
- As you work with the dough, repeatedly distribute a small amount of flour to your hands and your work surface to ensure easy handling of the gnocchi
- Cut the roll into little 2cm/¾ inch pieces and roll each piece on the "gnocchi board" or shape the pieces with the inside of a fork.
- Set the gnocchi on to a flat surface making sure they don’t touch.
- Remove some of the seeds of the zucchini before blending or else the pesto might turn out bitter.
- In a blender, mix macadamia nuts, diced zucchini, basil, garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast and salt for 30-40 seconds or until a pesto-like consistency is obtained.
- Transfer into a pan and warm on low heat for about 1.5 minutes before mixing it with the boiled gnocchi.
ASSEMBLE THE DISH
- In a large pot, cook the gnocchi in plenty of salted boiling water. Add a dash of olive oil if your gnocchi sticks together.
- Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the gnocchis come afloat. Then drain the gnocchi and transfer them onto the pan with the zucchini pesto. Sauté in the pan for a few seconds until well-covered in the sauce.
- Serve hot and sprinkle with some chili flakes.
Let us know in the comments below if you tried this recipe, or tag us on instagram @italiaplantbased.