Skip to main content

Homemade Gnocchi (Vegan)

Share this post:

Share this post:

Once you make gnocchi from scratch, you’ll never get store-bought again. I hope! Homemade gnocchi is so easy to make, it’s less expensive, it eliminates packaging, it’s more versatile, and you can easily make it vegan!

What is Gnocchi?

Gnocchi is a type of Italian dumpling that has been enjoyed as comfort food for centuries in the northern region of the Italian peninsular. Made from simple ingredients such as potatoes, flour, and sometimes oil, gnocchi is known for its soft, pillowy texture and versatility in various dishes.

With origins rooted in the Alpine regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, and Trentino-Alto Adige, gnocchi embodies the hearty and rustic flavors associated with Northern Italian cuisine. Whether served with rich tomato sauce, creamy pesto, or a delicate non-dairy butter and sage topping, gnocchi showcases the region’s culinary traditions and is a delightful representation of Italian gastronomy.

The Origins of Gnocchi

Gnocchi dates back to Roman times when it was made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs. The word gnocchi is believed to come from the Italian word nocchio, meaning “a knot in wood,” or from nocca, meaning “knuckle,” reflecting the dumpling’s small, rounded shape.

During the 16th century, potatoes were introduced to Italy from the Americas, and they gradually became the primary ingredient in gnocchi, especially in the regions of Northern Italy such as Piedmont and Lombardy.

Various regions of Italy have their own versions of gnocchi. For example, in Rome, gnocchi alla romana is made from semolina flour, while in Sardinia, malloreddus (also called “Sardinian gnocchi”) is made from semolina dough flavored with saffron.

Vegan Gnocchi is Better Gnocchi

The main gnocchi ingredients are already plant-based. The only animal product that is typically used (and not needed) is an egg. It provides fat and color. Replace a chicken’s egg with a little olive oil, and if you want a little of the golden color, add a dash of turmeric before kneading.

And remember, the yellow in egg yolks comes from plants, or rather the phytochemicals called carotenoids that are in plants. These are naturally occurring pigments found in various plants (beta carotene in carrots that make them orange, lutein in corn that makes it yellow, zeaxanthin in yellow and green veggies). When chickens consume feed that has been supplemented with these carotenoids, these pigments are deposited in their egg yolks, giving them their yellow color.

The problem is egg-laying hens are not eating these vegetables or pecking at the ground. They’re confined in cages and sheds, which is why the egg industry adds these carotenoids to their feed. Skip the middle animal and go directly to the plants.

Components of Gnocchi

When making gnocchi, selecting the right ingredients is crucial for achieving the perfect texture and flavor.

  • Begin with starchy potatoes like Russets or Yukon Gold, known for their ability to provide the ideal consistency for gnocchi dough.
  • For the flour, all-purpose flour is recommended as it blends well with the potatoes. You can also use spelt to make it gluten-free, but I wouldn’t use a heavy flour like whole wheat.
  • Olive oil will add some richness to the dough.
  • A little pinch of turmeric will result in a lovely golden color.
  • Finally, don’t forget to season with a pinch of salt to enhance the overall taste.

Gnocchi Recipe

Ingredients

1 to 2 pounds (900g) potatoes, preferably Russet or Yukon Gold
2 cups (240g) all-purpose or spelt flour, more as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Water, for boiling
Your choice of sauce (e.g., tomato sauce, pesto, etc.)

Directions

Boil the Potatoes: Place the whole potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Cool and Peel the Potatoes: Remove the potatoes from the boiling water and let them cool slightly until you can handle them. Peel the potatoes and discard the skins.

Mash the Potatoes: Using a potato masher, fork, or ricer, mash the peeled potatoes until there are no large lumps. You want a smooth consistency.

Add the Flour and Salt: In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, flour, and salt. Oil optional. Mix well until the dough comes together. It should be soft but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Knead the Dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough gently for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Shape the Gnocchi: Divide the dough into smaller portions. Take one portion at a time and roll it into a long rope, about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) in diameter. Cut the rope into bite-sized pieces, approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

Create Gnocchi Indentations (optional): To give the gnocchi traditional indentations, you can roll each piece over the back of a fork or use a gnocchi board. This step is optional but adds texture to the gnocchi.

Boil the Gnocchi: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, a few at a time, ensuring they don’t stick together.

Cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, which should take around 2 to 3 minutes. Once they float, cook for an additional 30 seconds and then remove them with a slotted spoon or a spider strainer.

Optional frying: you can fry the gnocchi in non-dairy butter or oil if you desire.

Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a serving dish. Toss them with your favorite sauce, such as tomato sauce, pesto, or a non-dairy butter and sage. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade vegan gnocchi!

Note: You can freeze the uncooked gnocchi by laying them in a single layer on a baking sheet and placing them in the freezer until firm. Once firm, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. When ready to cook, boil them directly from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

Buon appetito!

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Related Posts

Hi! I’m Colleen.

Hello, and welcome. I’m Colleen, aka The Joyful Vegan, and I’m here to give you the tools and resources you need to eat, cook, travel, and live compassionately and healthfully. 

My Recommended Products

Wear your compassion on your sleeve (or chest or head!) by choosing any number of my message products.

Make a Donation

Donating = Loving

For more than twenty two years, my work and podcast have remained free (and ad-free) thanks to support from listeners, followers, and readers. If this labor of love has impacted your life at all, please consider becoming a supporter. 🖤 Thank you!