This tomato and cheese baked gnocchi combine pillowy gnocchi of your choice (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) with a creamy red pepper sauce and veggies, topped off with enough dairy-free cheese to feel truly comforting and cozy! With less than 20 minutes of hands-on prep, this gnocchi bake makes for a great, low-effort weeknight meal loved by all!
Super Comforting Cheesy Tomato Baked Gnocchi
With Summer coming to an end, It’s the perfect excuse to start posting more cozy, comforting dishes like this tomato and cheese baked gnocchi (not that I ever stopped – with recent posts including tantanmen ramen and vegan stuffed mushrooms.) While I’ve shared a recipe for a creamy vegan pasta bake before (and have enjoyed many more), I love the fluffy, pillowy texture of gnocchi (aka potato dumplings- similar to Schupfnudeln too). They really take this casserole/bake to new ‘cozy’ heights. Especially in such an easy-to-make recipe!
The combination of ingredients is comforting – but also packed with nutrients and flavor. Not to mention that it’s a great way to use up leftover gnocchi (or store-bought). This recipe is flexible too. Swap out the broccoli for the veggies of your choice, spice up the sauce, add in protein, mix up the cheese… There are endless ways to adjust this baked gnocchi recipe to suit your needs!
All you need to do is prep the veggies and gnocchi, prepare the sauce, combine, top and bake. That may sound like quite a few steps, but believe me, they’re quick and simple. Not to mention totally worth it! Either way, with a recipe that largely relies on pantry staples and minimal prep, this dish tastes impressive.
It will quickly become a go-to, crowd-pleasing, comforting dinner along with mushroom stroganoff, shepherd’s pie, and a curried cauliflower casserole! Plus, if you’re looking for more recipes with gnocchi, I recommend this gnocchi all’arrabbiata– or browse through all my pasta sauces to find your perfect pairing!
- Gnocchi: Either use two packages of store-bought vegan gnocchi (500g each) OR use homemade gnocchi.
- Dairy–free cream: Use any dairy-free cream, like soy cream, oat cream, or cashew cream.
- Tomatoes: I used one can (400g) of chopped tomatoes- Use high-quality tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Vegetable broth: use reduced sodium, if preferred.
- Vegetables: I used a simple combination of onion, garlic, red pepper, and broccoli (I love the contrast in texture and flavor between gnocchi and broccoli) for this gnocchi bake recipe. However, feel free to swap out the broccoli (or combine) with other veggies like zucchini and tomatoes (read below for more options).
- Olive oil: Or another neutral cooking oil for frying.
- Cheese: Use your favorite melty-grated vegan cheese to top the gnocchi and broccoli bake. You could even make use of multiple kinds of cheese. I recommend using slices of vegan mozzarella and topping with a sharper cheese like vegan cheddar.
- Salt & pepper
You can also use some basil and/or parsley for garnishing the cheesy tomato gnocchi bake.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- Other vegetables: mushrooms (sautéed first to release extra moisture), spinach, corn, peas, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green beans, etc.
- Pulses: Increase the protein in the dish by adding some tinned pulses like chickpeas, lentils, or beans.
- Protein: If you don’t mind meat alternatives, feel free to add in some chopped vegan chorizo, sausage, “chick’n” pieces, etc. I recommend sautéing them first.
- Breadcrumbs and/or pine nuts: If you want to add texture, you can sprinkle the gnocchi casserole with either breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed) or lightly toasted pine nuts.
- Herbs: Add extra flavor to the sauce with dried herbs like oregano, thyme, sage, or Italian seasonings, etc.
- Vegan Parmesan: You can serve the gnocchi bake sprinkled with a little vegan Parmesan.
- Spice: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or chili/cayenne powder to the tomato sauce.
- Pesto: By a kind of ‘accident,’ I needed to use up some pesto one day, but had already made this vegan baked gnocchi casserole. To solve the problem, I spread a little pesto over the top over the gnocchi casserole and served it. Delicious!
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make a Baked Gnocchi Casserole
- First, divide the broccoli into bite-sized florets and place them in a large pot covered with water. Add salt and then bring to a boil, allowing them to boil for 3-4 minutes before removing from the heat and draining.
If your gnocchi isn’t pre-cooked, you can add these to the pan too, and increase the cooking time by a minute or two, if needed.
- Meanwhile, chop the remaining vegetables, heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and add the peppers, garlic, and onions. Sauté for several minutes, until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan with vegetable broth. Then add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables and soft and the mixture has thickened and slightly reduced.
- Preheat the oven to 360F/180C. Meanwhile, blend the cooked vegetable mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Next, stir in the dairy-free cream and blend again. Then, finally, add in the salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the gnocchi to a large baking dish (or use 2-3 smaller ones, as we did) and mix with the broccoli (or veggies of choice).
- Then pour in the puréed creamy tomato sauce.
- Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then, sprinkle with vegan cheese (as much as you want) before returning to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and fully cooked. Finally, remove it from the oven, garnish with the fresh herbs of your choice, and enjoy!
How to Make Ahead and Store
Make ahead: You can prepare the creamy tomato sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two. Then, when ready to continue, simply mix in with the remaining ingredients, and bake.
Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and aim to enjoy them within 3-4 days. You may also be able to freeze it, covered, for up to a month. Defrost and bake until piping hot. Just be aware that the frozen and thawed gnocchi may become a little mushy.
Reheat: You can reheat this gnocchi bake recipe either in the microwave or oven (covered with foil at 400F/205C) until heated – around 10 minutes, usually.
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- For less washing up: Use a LARGE skillet that is oven-friendly for the stovetop portion. You can then simply add in all the remaining ingredients, mix, and transfer it to the oven – rather than getting a separate baking dish ready.
- Using frozen gnocchi: You can add the frozen gnocchi directly to the skillet to ‘thaw’ lightly – just enough to mix, and then bake as usual. Add an extra 5-7 minutes to the baking time, if needed.
- If the gnocchi isn’t pre-cooked: You can add them to the pan with the tomato sauce, covered, for 4-6 minutes or until tender before transferring to the oven.
- For a quicker meal: Combine the sauce, veggies, and gnocchi (cooked) in your skillet, top with the cheese, and then broil until melted – serve! You can even use a store-bought marinara sauce to combine with the cream – if you’re really low on time (or ingredients).
- For firmer gnocchi: Pan fry it until golden before adding to the baking dish to bake. This helps to ensure it stays slightly crispy when baked.
Comforting Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Garlic Noodles (Pasta Aglio e Olio)
- Creamy Kale Avocado Pasta
- Easy creamy lemon pasta
- Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- Garlic Butter Pasta
- Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Bake
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
If you try this simple vegan baked gnocchi recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
- 1 medium/large broccoli (see notes)
- 2 tbsp olive oil for frying
- 2-3 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 red peppers diced
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) vegetable broth
- 1 (15 oz / 400 g) can chopped tomatoes
- 7 oz (200 ml) dairy-free cream (e.g. soy cream)
- 2 (17.6 oz / 500 g) packages of pre-cooked gnocchi (vegan)
- Vegan grated cheese or mozzarella (to taste)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Divide the broccoli into bite-sized florets and place them in a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil along with some salt. Boil for 3-4 minutes, then drain the water.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the diced peppers with the onion, garlic and sauté for several minutes until fragrant.
- Then deglaze the saucepan with the vegetable broth, add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 15 min until the vegetables are soft, and the liquid has reduced a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Finely blend the vegetable mixture (not the broccoli) with an immersion blender and stir in the dairy-free cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place the gnocchi (store-bought or use homemade) in a large baking dish (or use 2-3 smaller ones) and mix with the broccoli florets.
- Pour the pureed vegetable sauce over the gnocchi and broccoli and transfer the dish into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then add vegan cheese, bake in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy!
- You can use different veggies instead of broccoli. In fact, I made the recipe in Germany with my sister and her partner. We used 3 different pans, I added broccoli, my sister used zucchini slices, and her partner used sliced fresh tomatoes (see step-by-step-photos in the blog post).
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically