If you haven't tried baked gnocchi yet you are in for a treat. Crispy gnocchi is baked in a rich tomato and spinach sauce topped with melted cheese. This is a one dish meal that the whole family will adore.
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There are so many reasons why this gnocchi bake is one of my favourite veggie family meals. Here are a few of them:
- all three of my kids love it
- a great low effort midweek family meal
- made in one pan - saving on washing up
- easily adapted to be vegan
- perfect for the kids to help make
- can be adapted to include different vegetables depending on what’s in the fridge
A great midweek family meal
I don’t know about you but our family life is hectic during the week.
Every day is a juggle between school, work, housework, clubs, homework and playdates.
A healthy dinner the kids love
And on top of that there’s the need to make healthy, veg-packed meals that my kids will actually eat.
This is a top priority for me. After years of picky eating and veg-avoidance I take every opportunity to add veggies to our meals.
And this baked gnocchi recipe is one of our favourites.
Packed full of veg
Containing onion, red pepper, tomato and spinach this dish goes a fair way towards your five a day.
(Even though the kids think the spinach is “herbs” - shhh don’t tell!)
Make it in one pan
As much as I love a good cooking session I don’t love having a sink full of washing up to do.
And that's especially true on a weekday evening when I’m tired, the kids are tired and bed time is looming.
NB: The gnocchi does need to be soaked in hot water in a bowl before being added to the baking dish. I experimented without doing this but it didn’t cook as well as I’d like.
Ingredients for baked gnocchi
For full ingredients list and recipe please see recipe card below.
To make baked gnocchi you will need:
- Olive oil
- Red pepper
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Grated cheese of choice, I use vegan cheese
Substitutions and adaptations
- Add a jar of olives along with the gnocchi
- Add diced courgette or aubergines with the red pepper
- For even more veg chop a carrot and celery stalk and roast with the onions
- Use chopped parsley instead of basil
- Chuck in a chopped red chilli if you’re not feeding this to young children
- Use a different kind of gnocchi - we like spinach gnocchi which is gloriously green
Make it vegan
It’s super easy to make this a vegan gnocchi bake.
- check the ingredients on your gnocchi to be sure that it’s vegan (some brands contain milk powder)
- use vegan grated cheese for the topping - or make a cashew sauce for a creamier topping.
Make in advance
If you want to make this dish in advance make up to the stage where you stir through the gnocchi.
Allow to cool and store in the fridge or the freezer.
When you are ready to continue cooking preheat the oven, add the grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
If you have frozen your gnocchi defrost thoroughly before cooking.
See above for making in advance.
If you have leftovers simply allow to cool and then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
When ready to eat reheat until piping hot in the oven or microwave.
This works well in a Thermos flask for a school lunch box.
Leftovers of this cooked dish can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to eat defrost thoroughly and then reheat until piping hot.
Could gnocchi be a choking hazard?
Due to its shape and dense consistency gnocchi could potentially be a choking hazard for young babies.
For this reason it’s best to chop the gnocchi up into small pieces before serving to a baby.
Baby led weaning
If your baby is used to feeding themselves - perhaps you’ve been following baby led weaning - then small pieces of chopped up gnocchi are a good opportunity to practice their pincer grip.
As they get older you could simply slice the gnocchi in half lengthways and let older babies or toddlers try using a fork.
Alternatively, why not make your own gnocchi and roll into a longer shape to make it more baby friendly?
Pin gnocchi bake for later
How to make baked gnocchi
- Roast a chopped onion, 3 cloves crushed garlic and a red pepper in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, torn basil leaves and 100g shredded spinach. Stir well and bake for 5 minutes.
- Soak the gnocchi in boiling water for 2 minutes then drain with a slotted spoon or in a colander.
- Add to the oven dish and mix well. Top with grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
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Baked gnocchi with tomato and spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 red pepper (capsicum) chopped
- 800 g tinned chopped tomatoes 2 x 400g tins
- 100 g spinach finely shredded*
- Handful torn basil leaves
- 600 g gnocchi
- Salt and pepper
- 50 g grated cheese for topping I used Violife vegan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/200°C (fan)/gas mark 6.
- Place a chopped onion, 3 cloves crushed garlic and a chopped red pepper into a large roasting tin and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to mix and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring half way.
- Add your two tins of chopped tomatoes, some torn basil leaves and 100g shredded spinach. Stir to mix and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile boil the kettle. Place the gnocchi in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over it.
- Leave for two minutes then drain using a colander or a slotted spoon.
- Remove the tomato sauce from the oven, season with salt* and pepper if required, and add the gnocchi.
- Stir well.
- Add the grated cheese.
- Return to the oven for 20 minutes or until the top is turning golden and the cheese is bubbling.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide only.
- Frozen chopped spinach could be used instead - defrost first and drain off any excess water.
- Don’t add extra salt if feeding this to a baby or toddler - cheese contains enough salt for babies.
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