Easy pillowy soft homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi Recipe with just 4 vegan ingredients + step-by-step guide how to make these simple but delicious dumplings from scratch! They’re golden brown and crispy on the outside and served with healthy sautéed spinach! This is fall comfort food at its Best!
Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi Recipe
Since we’re into pumpkin season, I‘m totally obsessed with pumpkin recipes! A while ago I made a big batch of pumpkin purée to use for my favorite quick and easy weeknight dinners like pumpkin risotto, pumpkin chickpea curry, and my very best vegan pumpkin mac and cheese! But since this vegan dairy-free cheese sauce is so delicious but also healthy, I usually eat it like pumpkin soup, haha!
Anyway, my roasted pumpkin purée batch was gone super quickly so I made another one to use for homemade pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin potato gnocchi! But while making these little dumplings, I noticed that I haven’t shared the recipe on the blog yet! So it was definitely time to change it!
What is Gnocchi?
Some people think that Gnocchi is a variety of Italian pasta but they’re actually small, pillowy and soft potato dumplings. The dough for gnocchi is basically just made of mashed potatoes, flour, potato starch, semolina, and eggs. However, you can easily modify the classic gnocchi recipe making it vegan (without eggs), simpler and more flavorful by adding pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes or other veggies.
How to make Pumpkin Gnocchi from Scratch
I’ve already shared a recipe for classic vegan gnocchi and sweet potato gnocchi here on the blog. So due to fall and squash season, today’s gnocchi recipe is made with pumpkin! I used Hokkaido because you don’t need to peel it. However, you can absolutely use your favorite variety like sugar pie pumpkin or squash. Just make sure to remove the skin after baking because it’s harder than the skin from Hokkaido. Anyway, I absolutely suggest making pumpkin purée from scratch because it’s so much better than canned pulp!
Step 1: Cook Pumpkin and Potatoes
First of all, to get the best, soft and melt in your mouth pumpkin gnocchi, I suggest cooking the pumpkin in the oven because this makes the pulp drier. (My 2 lbs Hokkaido pumpkin “Red Kuri Squash” yielded 1 pound of pumpkin puree). Furthermore, I suggest adding some starchy potatoes (boiled with skin on) to the dough which allows the pumpkin to thicken better. This combination (roasted pumpkin purée + starchy mashed potatoes) makes it not only easier to shape the gnocchi but it also ensures to get the ultimate vegan comfort food!
To save time, you could cook the pumpkin and potatoes in advance or use leftover pumpkin purée. I often cook the pumpkin the day before or in the morning when I want to make gnocchi for lunch or dinner. However, I prefer boiling the potatoes just before starting with the recipe because when using them while they’re still hot they will be fluffier!
Step 2: Prepare the Gnocchi dough
When you’re ready to make the gnocchi dough, you just need to mash the pumpkin pulp and boiled potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Next, add the flour, salt, and pinch of nutmeg. Mix all ingredients into a dough with your hands. Please make sure to mix the dough quickly and just until combined, otherwise, the flour’s gluten will make the gnocchi tough! Then form the dough into a mostly-smooth round little ball or loaf on a lightly floured surface.
Step 3: Cut the dough into Gnocchi bites
Now cut the ball of dough into slices and roll each one into a long rope. Cut the rope into bite-sized pieces, about 1,5 cm. Please make sure they’ve got a little flour coating so they don’t stick to the working surface. Also, make sure to leave a little space between the gnocchi bites, otherwise they will tend to stick to each other.
At this point, the gnocchi are basically ready to use. So if you’re very hungry, you can serve them this way and jump directly to step 5. But if you want to shape them into the typical classic gnocchi pattern, continue with the next step.
Why do we add this extra step when making gnocchi?
Well, the stripes you create help that the sauce sticks better to the gnocchi. It’s pretty similar to pasta – The more texture the noodles have, the better the sauce sticks to them!
Step 4 (optional): How to make the Gnocchi shape
There are two ways how you can make the classic Italian gnocchi striped pattern shape.
Option 1: Press a Gnocco (this is the singular of “Gnocchi”) against the tines of a fork and slide over them by pressing lightly with your thumb.
Option 2: Slide a floured gnocco over a gnocchi board by pressing lightly with a wood stick.
When your gnocchi are shaped you can either cook them to serve immediately or freeze for later meals.
Step 5: How to cook Gnocchi
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then, carefully, add the gnocchi to the water, one at a time. I suggest working in batches because you don’t want to overcrowd the pot! When the gnocchi float to the surface of the water, remove them with a slotted spoon.
Now you can either toss the cooked gnocchi immediately with your favorite sauce, pesto or seasonings. But if you want to pan-fry the gnocchi, you’ll need to drain them first or they won’t get crispy. I suggest to arrange them in a single layer onto a cooling rack with a baking pan underneath to collect the drained water.
Crispy pan-fried Gnocchi with Spinach
While your Pumpkin Gnocchi drain, melt a bit of vegan butter or oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the gnocchi and pan-fry until one side is lightly crispy and golden brown. Then gently turn the gnocchi and fry the other soft side until crisp. When your gnocchi are mostly crisp from all sides, add some fresh spinach and sauté for a further minute until wilted. Season to taste, sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese and herbs. Serve in a bowl or enjoy straight from the pan!
These Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi are:
- Vegan (dairy-free, egg-less)
- Can be made gluten-free
- Easy to make
- Soft & Pillowy
- Crispy pan-fried
- So delicious!
- Comfort food at its Best!
- Perfect for lunch or dinner
- Also great as a side dish or appetizer!
How to Freeze Gnocchi
Not only Pumpkin Gnocchi but any varieties of vegan dumplings are perfect for freezing! Actually, I figured out that it’s even better to freeze them before cooking. It’s kind of trick that works as well with homemade pasta and stuffed vegan ravioli. This way you can make all of these foods ahead to enjoy anytime in just a few minutes!
How to store Gnocchi
Please do not put freshly homemade gnocchi that are still soft in freezer bags, or they will stick to each other! I suggest to arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on a floured baking pan or tray and freeze for 2 to 3 hours. Once the gnocchi are frozen, transfer them into freezer bags, squeeze the air out and seal. Then put them back into the freezer.
There’s no need to thaw frozen gnocchi or dumplings! You can put them directly from the freezer in a pot of boiling water. This way they will be as soft and delicious as just freshly made!
Looking for more simple vegan dinner recipes for busy weeknight meals? Make sure to check out my:
- Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms
- Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry
- Creamy Risotto (4 ways!)
- Vegan Lentil Dal
- Creamy Tomato Soup
- Best Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich
If you try this Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi Recipe, please leave me a comment below sharing how you liked it! And if you take a photo of your potato dumplings and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy this recipe!
- 21 oz fresh pumpkin or squash 600g, makes about 1 ⅓ cups pumpkin purée
- 14 oz starchy potatoes 400g, about 3 medium russet potatoes
- 2 cups flour 260g, or more as needed, *read recipe notes for GF option
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of nutmeg optional
To serve (optional)
- 3-4 cups fresh spinach
- vegan parmesan
- pine nuts to garnish
* Please make sure to see the step-by-step photos above
- Cut a pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and most of the stringy bits. Place cut-side-down on a baking pan greased with a little oil. Bake in an oven preheated to 400°F (200°C) for about 45-60 minutes or until soft. Mash soft pulp with a fork until smooth (or pass the pulp through a potato ricer). Set aside.
- In a large pot with water, boil the potatoes with their skins on for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
- Strain and peel the boiled potatoes. Then mash with a potato masher or fork (or press potatoes through a potato ricer).
- Add pumpkin purée, mashed potatoes flour, a pinch of salt and nutmeg to a bowl. Mix everything together using a spatula or wooden spoon, then knead gently with your hands to form a smooth dough. (Add a little more flour as needed but just enough to hold the dough together, and don’t overmix or your gnocchi will be tough).
- Cut the dough into 4-5 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, then cut it into gnocchi bites (about 1,5cm long) with a sharp knife.
- Dust the gnocchi with a little flour, then press one gnocchi pillow against the front tines of a fork or a gnocchi board, rolling down to make ridges (*as shown in the step-by-step photos). Arrange in a single layer on a prepared floured baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- At this point, you can freeze the gnocchi* for later meals or boil them to serve immediately.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop-in some of the gnocchi (make sure not to overcrowd the pot), and cook until they float to the surface, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside to drain (if you want to pan-fry them) or toss immediately with your favorite sauce or pesto and seasonings.
- Heat some vegan butter or oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the Gnocchi and pan-fry until golden browned and crispy from all sides. Add spinach and cook for a further minute, or until wilted.
- Serve the gnocchi immediately with vegan parmesan and toasted pine nuts or other veggies and toppings you like. Enjoy!
- You can use all-purpose flour or Italian 00 flour or sub a gluten-free flour blend.
- I recommend using starchy potatoes like Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes.
- Please make sure to bake the pumpkin and boil potatoes with skin on (or bake or microwave potatoes) because this makes the flesh drier. Otherwise, you may need more flour, resulting in harder gnocchi.
- If the dough is too sticky to handle when rolling, add a little more flour, but try to add as little as possible.
- Freshly made uncooked gnocchi will keep for just a few hours covered in the fridge if dusted in flour and arranged in a single layer to prevent them from sticking. I suggest cooking a batch immediately and freeze the rest for another day.
- Please read my blogpost for further tips and information about this recipe e.g. "how to freeze gnocchi".
- The preparation time does not include the cooking time of the pumpkin and potatoes.
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