If you’re on the hunt for a vegan gnocchi recipe that doesn’t include egg then you’ve come to the right place! This easy recipe will have you sinking into a big bowl of vegan gnocchi in no time. And trust me, you won’t even know it doesn’t have egg in it!
If you’ve never had the pleasure of popping these fluffy little pillows of pleasure into your mouth, you are missing out. Gnocchi has been an oft eaten dish for me since I first moved to New York City and found myself surrounded by thousands of Italian restaurants.
From the very first bite, it fueled indecision. See, any time I dined at an Italian restaurant, pasta was an inevitable choice. However, once gnocchi was thrown into the mix I had some serious thinking to do. Opt for fluffy potato pillows, or al dente piles of pasta? It’s a difficult choice to make.
In culinary school I learned how to make gnocchi, and I was shocked by how easy it was to make! No surprise, it’s been a favorite dish to make at home since then. Though, I won’t lie. Buying the pre-made gnocchi is great for anyone looking to get dinner on the table fast. I’ve even smuggled a kilo of fresh gnocchi back home from Naples in my suitcase!
However, if you enjoy cooking vegan recipes, want to avoid preservatives, and want to guarantee your gnocchi is 100% vegan, making your own is a great option. Plus, it can be frozen. So, make a big batch of this vegan gnocchi recipe to have on hand any time the craving hits!
What is Vegan Gnocchi?
Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling made with potatoes, flour, and salt. Sometimes egg yolks are added to gnocchi dough to prevent the dough from separating while cooking, but it’s a totally unnecessary ingredient. If you think that gnocchi dough should include egg yolk to be considered authentic, you’d be wrong. In fact, it’s as common for Italians to make gnocchi without yolks as it is to make it with them.
So yes, as with pasta, gnocchi can and is often made totally vegan. And, it’s authentic!
What Potato Makes the Best Vegan Gnocchi
Short answer – the most starchy variety you can find.
Potatoes with higher starch content make for better gnocchi. In the United States, your best bet is a good old Russet Potato. If you’re outside the United States, like me, make this vegan gnocchi recipe with whatever variety you use for mashed potatoes.
The Secret to Fluffy, Non-gummy Gnocchi!
There are two secrets to creating a fluffy, non-gummy gnocchi. Keep the moisture low and pamper it.
First, keep it dry
The first secret to a fluffy vegan gnocchi is dryness. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.
The more moisture your potatoes have, the more flour you’ll have to add to your dough. Which results in a heaver and more dense gnocchi. Gnocchi should be light and fluffy!
So, opt to bake your potatoes rather than boil them. Yes, it will take more time but it’s totally worth it. Plus, you can sprinkle a bit of salt on the potatoes before popping them into the oven to draw about a bit more moisture.
Also, make sure you slice your potatoes in half as soon as they come out of the oven to let steam escape. Finally, scoop the flesh out while it’s still hot. Add it to a potato ricer, mill, or sieve and spread out onto a work bench asap. This too will let more steam and moisture escape.
Second, Don’t Overwork It!
The second secret to non-gummy gnocchi dough is – don’t overwork it.
The more you fold, press, and knead (don’t do this!!) your dough, the more gummy it will get. This will result in a heaver gnocchi, which is not what you want.
So, handle the dough with kid gloves. Cut the flour in with a bench scraper or pastry knife instead of kneading it. Gently form and shape the dough with care. Say a prayer over it. Whisper sweet nothings to it, or sing it a lullaby. Basically, treat it like a baby and it’ll be more likely to turn out tender.
Do I Need a Potato Ricer or Mill?
One of the key steps in making gnocchi is mashing the baked potato flesh. Yes, a potato ricer or mill will get the job done quickly and maybe a little better, but you can make gnocchi even if you don’t have these tools. You can use a sieve to press the flesh through for the same result, or you can even use a fork or potato masher to mash it into a pulp.
Just be sure not to over fork it. That’s not good. Get in and get out, that’s the trick.
Ridges, Dimples, or Smooth Gnocchi?
As the debate rages on – to ridge or not to ridge – feel free to make the decision for yourself.
The reason you most often see gnocchi with ridges is because, just like with pasta, they give sauce something to hold on to. That said, a dimple will do the trick too if you don’t have a gnocchi board or don’t feel like spending the time it takes to ridge each individual gnocchi.
Additionally, feel free to go au natural with your gnocchi and leave it as is. Even a smooth and dimple-less gnocchi tastes amazing.
If you want to add ridges to your gnocchi all you need is a fork. Just roll the gnocchi down the tines of a fork with slight pressure. Easy-peasy.
To Pan Fry or Not Pan Fry, That is the Question!
For me, there is a clear answer. But, again it’s up to you.
I like contrasting textures so I always pan fry my gnocchi after boiling them. But if you are anti-texture (weird0!), feel free to eat them straight out of the pot and coated em in whatever you desire.
Serving Gnocchi – Sauces and Other Pairings!
Speaking of coating… What is the proper way to serve gnocchi?
Gnocchi are excellent served in a bath of homemade tomato sauce, and topped with vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil. They’re also exceptional in a cream sauce, or tossed with high quality olive oil and topped with vegan parmesan, and parsley.
Really, anything you can do to pasta you can do to gnocchi. I’ve even heard it can be baked, though I haven’t tried that yet!
My Easy Vegan Gnocchi Recipe!
Vegan Gnocchi Recipe
- 800 grams Starchy Potatoes About 3 large potatoes
- 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour Plus more for dusting your work bench
- 1 tsp Salt
Baking the Potatoes
- Preheat your oven to 475 °F (250 °C)NOTE: If you have a fan setting reduce the temperature 40 °F (20 °C).
- Wash potatoes to remove any dirt from the exterior.Dry the outside of the potatoes with a clean kitchen towel.
- Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork in order to allow steam to escape during baking.Place your potatoes on a lined baking tray and sprinkle generously with salt.Bake salted potatoes in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted into the potato with little or no resistance. Note: Flip the potatoes over after 20 minutes so they evenly bake. The final baking time will depend on the size of the potatoes.
Making the Gnocchi Dough
- As soon as the potatoes are removed from the oven cut them in half to allow steam to escape.
- While holding the hot potato halves with a kitchen towel, scoop the flesh of the potatoes out into a potato ricer, mill, or sieve. Press the potatoes through the selected tool into a thin layer on a floured work surface. NOTE: Be sure to keep the potato layer thin in order to allow more steam to escape.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup sieved flour on top of the potatoes.Cut the flour into the potatoes with a bench scraper/pastry knife or pastry cutter. Don't kneed the dough. The less you handle the dough the better. We want to prevent the dough from becoming gloopy.
- Fold the dough in to start forming it into a mound. If the dough comes together and is slightly sticky don't add more flour. If it is crumbly or too wet, add more sieved flour 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a soft and slightly sticky dough.NOTE: The dough should have enough flour to hold together, yet it should still be soft. It should not be as firm as pasta dough but not too soft that you can't roll it into a log (next step) without it falling apart.
- Form the dough into a log. Try to do this as delicately as possible.Cut the log into four sections. Roll each section of the dough into long snake shaped pieces that are approximately 3/4 inch thick.Cut the rope crosswise into 1 inch long pieces with a bench scraper/pastry knife and place on a floured baking tray. Repeat with the remaining three sections of dough.
- If you want to create a textured gnocchi you can roll each piece against a gnocchi board, or the tines of a fork to create ridges. Alternatively, you can press a dimple into the center of the gnocchi with your finger. NOTE: This step isn't required.
- Allow the gnocchi to rest for approximately 30 minutes in the refrigerator before cooking to completely cool down and firm up slightly.
Cooking the Gnocchi
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a strong rolling boil.
- Add the gnocchi in batches (don't overcrowd them) to the boiling water.
- Once the gnocchi float to the top (about 2-3 minutes), remove them with a slotted spoon. They are ready to eat as is.
- If you prefer a crispy gnocchi add the boiled gnocchi to a very hot pan coated with olive oil. Allow the gnocchi to cook for approximately 2 minutes without disturbing them. Once a golden crust has formed they are ready.
- Enjoy gnocchi with any of the following combinations, or any other combo you can think of:- Tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper, and topped with vegan parmesan and fresh basil or parsley.- Tossed in tomato sauce and topped with vegan parm and frehs basil. - Vegan pesto- Vegan cream sauce with roasted Brussels sprouts.