This is a super simple vegan gnocchi recipe for tasty homemade mini potato dumplings that are stuffed with green spinach pesto. These gnocchi are crispy on the outside but soft, pillowy and flavorful on the inside, plus they’re so easy to make with helpful tips and step-by-step photos!
Anyone who has been following me on Instagram for a while or who has already tried my favorite recipes may know that I‘m a big Gnocchi fan! I love these little mini potato dumplings so much and homemade ones taste best to me anyway! Nevertheless, the preparation always takes some time, so I thought about a method of how to make Gnocchi the easier way!
Making gnocchi from scratch is easy!
Making homemade vegan gnocchi is not as difficult as you might think but it’s pretty easy! While the most time-consuming part is the creation of the typical distinctive ridges, the dumplings themselves are done super quick! Of course, these ridges look fancy, but actually, they only provide the sauce sticking better to the dumplings.
However, with this recipe, the gnocchi are not only stuffed with fresh spinach pesto but also pan-fried until crispy. Thanks to these amazing flavors, there’s no sauce required when serving the dumplings which means we can skip the time-consuming work step.
Spinach Pesto Stuffed Gnocchi
I made stuffed gnocchi the first time a year ago and even shared the photo on Instagram. I had prepared the mushroom filling of my vegan pierogi and filled each small potato dumpling individually. However, I found the whole process pretty time consuming, but with this recipe, it is much easier and faster, because we only need to cut the stuffed gnocchi roll into pieces!
For the filling, I made a quick spinach pesto with pine nuts but you can basically use any pesto or another creamy filling of your choice. Also, the pumpkin filling of these pumpkin ravioli or the vegan almond ricotta of these tortellini are a great option! Anyway, if you‘d like to omit the filling completely, feel free to make regular homemade gnocchi.
How to make Crispy Stuffed Gnocchi
This stuffed gnocchi recipe only requires a few basic ingredients and tastes incredibly delicious! All you need to do is to mix the pesto and prepare the potato dough. You can find detailed instructions in the recipe card below or click here. Then divide the dough into two portions. On a lightly floured working surface, start to roll one part into a long strand as thick as a thumb. Next, roll out the strand using a rolling pin, then pipe the pesto along the middle.
Use a spatula and carefully fold one side of the dough over the pesto. Then gently roll the stuffed dough over the seam side so the pesto is well sealed in the middle. Alternatively, you could roll out the dough on a piece of cling foil (or parchment paper) and wrap it using the foil.
Now cut the stuffed gnocchi into bite-sized pieces with a sharp knife. Then dust the pieces with some flour and carefully transfer them on a wooden board while you prepare the rest. Roll out the other piece of dough, fill it with pesto and cut into pieces as instructed above.
Crispy pan-fried instead of cooked!
Since these stuffed gnocchi are not sealed on the sides, they should not be cooked, or the spinach pesto filling will run out. Therefore, they are just pan-fried until golden-brown and crispy, similar to potato cakes or vegan ravioli pockets. When the gnocchi are cooked that way, they become even more flavorful and incredibly delicious!
However, when cooking these mini potato dumplings, please make sure to leave enough room between each gnocchi and do not overload the pan. Also, please be careful when flipping them, because the open cut-side (with the pesto) should not touch the bottom of the pan.
Which type of potato?
I prefer using starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes. Both types of potatoes will do best here, but Yukon Golds have more of the delicious nutty flavor. Their high-starch content not only produces an even color when frying but it also makes the best fluffy consistency.
Tips on freezing Gnocchi
I often make a larger batch of gnocchi and freeze the rest for later. The easiest method is to arrange the stuffed gnocchi in a single layer on a dusted wooden board or baking tray. Then freeze them for about 2 hours, until the mini potato dumplings are firm. Once they are frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. This way they don’t stick to each other and you can remove them individually any time.
Please do not thaw frozen gnocchi or they will become quite mushy. The best way is to cook them right out of the freezer. Simply place in a hot pan and fry until crisp and golden from the outside. Then add a little water to the pan and steam covered for further 5 minutes or so, until they’re completely cooked through.
These vegan gnocchi stuffed with spinach pesto are:
- Made without eggs (egg-free)
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Can be made gluten-free
- Pretty easy to make
- Crispy on the outside
- Soft on the inside
- Filled with Spinach Pesto
- So delicious!
- Perfect as a main course for lunch or dinner!
- Also great as a side dish, appetizer or starter!
I like to garnish these crispy spinach pesto stuffed gnocchi with vegan parmesan and fresh basil. However, you can also garnish them with some toasted pine nuts or cashew nuts, tofu feta cheese or vegan mini mozzarella balls. Also, oven-baked tomatoes, garlic mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts and pumpkin, zucchini and corn or other vegetables are a healthy and delicious addition!
Want more vegan gnocchi recipes? Be sure to check out the following:
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Pumpkin Gnocchi
- Gnocchi Vegetable Stir-fry
- Crispy Gnocchi with Garlic Mushrooms
- Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
If you do try this vegan Spinach Pesto Stuffed Gnocchi recipe, I would love to read your feedback in the comments below. And if you take a photo of your potato dumplings and share it on Instagram, please don’t forget to tag me @biancazapatka to make sure I won’t miss your post. Enjoy!
Stuffed Gnocchi with Spinach Pesto
- 17,6 oz potatoes preferably starchy (*read my blog post for details)
- 1 ¼ cup flour *see notes (+ more for dusting)
- 2 tbsp potato flour or sub tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp oil for frying
- 4,2 oz baby spinach fresh
- 1/3 cup parsley chopped (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3/8 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds, or other nuts
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil adjust to desired consistency
- salt & pepper to taste
To serve (optional)
- vegan parmesan
- fresh basil
Prepare Gnocchi Dough + Spinach Pesto
- Cook the whole potatoes in salted water for about 30 minutes, or until tender. (The cooking time varies depending on their size). Then drain and peel the potatoes. Press them through a potato ricer (or mash with a potato masher). Set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, purée all the ingredients for the pesto with a stick blender or in a regular blender. Adjust the amount of oil as needed, then fill the pesto into a piping bag. (Feel free to toast the pine nuts in a pan without additional oil before blending for a nuttier flavor. You won't need all of the pesto but you can use it for other dishes, *see notes).
- When the potatoes are cooled, add the flour, potato flour, and salt. Knead with your hands until a dough forms. (Add more potato flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky).
Stuff & Fold Gnocchi (*see step-by-step photos above in the blog post)
- Divide the prepared gnocchi dough into two portions. Start with one portion and roll it into a long strand, about 1-inch wide, on a lightly floured working surface. Then flatten the strand with a floured rolling pin and pipe the pesto in the middle of the dough.
- Use a spatula and carefully fold one side of the dough over the pesto. Then gently roll the stuffed dough over the side seam so the pesto is well sealed in the middle. (Alternatively, roll out the dough on a piece of cling foil or parchment paper and wrap it using the foil).
- Use a sharp knife to cut the stuffed gnocchi strand into bite-sized pieces. Dust the pieces with a little flour and carefully transfer them on a wooden board while you make the rest.
- Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan (or skillet) over medium heat. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook from all sides until crisp and tender, about 8 minutes. (Please make sure to leave enough room between each gnocchi, so do not overload the pan. Also, please be careful when flipping the gnocchi, because the open side with the pesto should not touch the bottom of the pan).
- Garnish your crispy pan-fried stuffed gnocchi with vegan parmesan and fresh basil or other toppings you like. Enjoy!
- Flour: For the best result, I recommend using regular all-purpose or wheat flour. Alternatively, you can use light spelt flour or substitute a gluten-free flour blend 1:1.
- Filling: You can also use another pesto of your choice or omit the filling completely to make traditional gnocchi.
- Spinach: If fresh spinach is not available, feel free to use arugula.
- Leftover Spinach Pesto can be used for other dishes, such as pasta. Simply fill it into a sealed jar and store it in the refrigerator.
- The preparation time does not include the cooking time of the potatoes.
- Please read my blog post for further information (e.g. tips on freezing) and step-by-step photos!
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