Homemade Whole Wheat Vegan Gnocchi Recipe with Tomato Sauce

by Alena
Apr 25, 2020
plate of whole food plant based gnocchi with homemade tomato sauce and basil

Do you fancy an Italian comfort dish that’s similar to pasta but not actually pasta? Then get ready for this fantastic dinner! Our homemade whole wheat vegan gnocchi have some serious potential to become a new family favorite.

Weeks like these are perfect for getting creative in the kitchen and coming up with new ideas for batch cooking.

Now, if you haven’t tried gnocchi, let us tell you why you really need to make them. Trust us –  you’ve been missing out big time!

What might sound like a strange and kind-of-hard-to-pronounce word is actually a humble 2-ingredient Italian dish – and the easiest way of making your own pasta.

If you didn’t think you were signing up to prepare pasta from scratch, hear us out! It might seem daunting at first, but homemade gnocchi are actually easy to make and really rewarding.

By the end, you’ll have loads of chewy and slightly fluffy little potato pillows that taste fantastic slathered in your favorite sauce!

Granted, homemade vegan gnocchi take about half an hour to prepare, but they can be cooked in a flash. Made with really affordable staple foods, they are great for meal prep, kid-friendly and incredibly versatile!

Just like traditional pasta recipes, you can create countless different dishes and flavors with vegan gnocchi depending on what sauce and add-ons you choose.

You can totally make a large batch of these homemade gnocchi ahead of time and reheat them with your favorite sauce at your convenience!

Maybe you’ve heard that gnocchi usually aren’t vegan. This is true, but when making them yourself at home, you can just leave out the eggs — boom, they’re vegan!

The end result really tastes the same to everyone we served these gnocchi to – mainly because we make sure to dress them up nicely in our favorite sauces.

What’s special about our recipe is that we’ve created a wholesome vegan version. Due to the whole wheat gnocchi we use, they have more bite and are chewier compared to most store-bought varieties. 

Curious? Let’s talk about some basics.

four large red skin potatoes on a floured surface

Images by Logan Ink

What Do Whole Wheat Gnocchi Taste Like

Since the main ingredient in gnocchi is potato, that’s what gnocchi mainly taste like. But, we promise, eating gnocchi is not just like eating potatoes; vegan gnocchi are the perfect mixture between thick pasta and mashed potatoes – super delicious and the perfect amount of potatoey.

Homemade gnocchi are dense dumplings, slightly pillowy and tender. Depending on which flour you use to make them, their taste can vary widely.

Since we went for whole wheat gnocchi, the result isn’t quite as fluffy as those that are made with white, refined flour – but we love their chewy and dense texture even more than their white flour counterparts.

Plus, we keep all our recipes whole food plant-based for health reasons, so this is a compromise we are happy to make!

Whole Food Plant-Based Guide

Is Gnocchi Healthier Than Pasta?

This mainly comes down to the flour that’s used! Since gnocchi are primarily made with potatoes, which in and of themselves are a whole food, they are off to a great start.

But if you then add white flour and possibly even eggs, we’d argue that whole wheat pasta would be healthier in this case.

So, what would be the healthiest choice of all? Whole wheat potato gnocchi without eggs! Say hello to a new and healthy comfort food!

Please remember what you serve your gnocchi with is as important as the gnocchi themselves – drenching whole wheat potato gnocchi in a buttery, cheesy sauce and topping them with crispy bacon will transform the innocent little pillows into artery-clogging agents.

Choose your favorite veggies and a healthy sauce for the perfectly healthy gnocchi experience! We’ll share some ideas below.

blue bowls with cooked and peeled potatoes which are mashed

Are Store-Bought Gnocchi Vegan?

You can totally get store-bought gnocchi that are vegan. Usually, these are the non-refrigerated (and often cheaper!) varieties.

But not all gnocchi are vegan, as they can be made with eggs! If you’re on the lookout for vegan food at the store, you’re probably used to reading labels, so it won’t be a problem to see which gnocchi are vegan. You will also find some recipes for homemade gnocchi that call for eggs, but they are not necessary for making killer gnocchi at home.

Our recipe for whole wheat gnocchi is completely vegan and, therefore, eggless. The trick is to choose the right potatoes so you don’t end up needing the “glue” from eggs to keep everything together. 

To see how to choose and treat your potatoes properly to achieve this result, keep on reading.

Why Vegans Avoid Eggs

What Are Vegan Gnocchi Made Of

Vegan gnocchi require only two affordable pantry ingredients: potatoes and flour. That’s it! After all, the secret to delicious homemade gnocchi lies in choosing the right potatoes and flour.

First of all, your potatoes should be mega starchy –  we’re talking Russet potatoes, Yukon Gold, red-skinned potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Because potatoes are the main ingredient in potato gnocchi, it’s important to get this part right so you end up with a super nice texture.

We’d also recommend choosing a good-quality flour if you want your vegan gnocchi to turn out really delicious. You may want to sift your flour to end up with lighter and fluffier whole wheat gnocchi.

In terms of food intolerances, most gnocchi contain gluten, as they are often made with wheat flour (white or whole grain). We’ll also share some gluten-free homemade gnocchi recipes if you need to refrain from this plant-based protein!

Luckily, vegan gnocchi are already eggless and dairy-free. Let’s check out our very short ingredient list!

blue bowl on a floured surface in which a person mixed mashed potatoes with whole wheat flour using a wooden spoon

Ingredients for Our Homemade Gnocchi

  • Potatoes – the main ingredient. Go for Russet, Yukon Gold, or any other really starchy potato variety
  • Whole Wheat Flour – yes, traditional gnocchi are made with white and fluffy flour, but we like to keep things wholesome!
  • Salt – this is optional; we sometimes omit it because the whole wheat gnocchi get salty enough for our tastes when we cook them in salted water.

Just looking at these basic ingredients, you’d think that gnocchi taste really bland. But if you follow our tips for how to make them (and choose your favorite sauce or veggies to serve with your vegan gnocchi), you’re in for a surprising treat!

Free Vegan Grocery List Download

How to Make Whole Wheat Vegan Gnocchi

Gnocchi is probably the easiest homemade pasta to make. It consists of 4 main steps: cooking your potatoes, creating the gnocchi dough, shaping your vegan gnocchi and then cooking them for a few minutes until they float to the top.

Let’s look at each step a little more closely!

First, the potatoes. To bake or to cook, this is the question! While you can find traditional Italian recipes using dry baked potatoes, others prefer to cook their potatoes on the stovetop for about 30 minutes.

Personally, we like to keep our home-cooking and recipes as fuss-free as possible. We opt for the stovetop method for a couple of reasons, such as the increased time and energy it takes to bake the potatoes as well as the reality that not everyone has access to an oven!

Alright, so once your unpeeled potatoes have been cooked, peel them as soon as you can – when they are almost too hot to handle – and mash them with a potato ricer.

floured surface with whole wheat potato gnocchi dough

If you don’t have one, a fork and a lot of patience will also work.

Don’t make the mistake of using your food processor! This will result in a sticky and gluey mixture, messing up your homemade gnocchi.

Now, create the gnocchi dough by incrementally adding your whole wheat flour to the mashed potatoes. One more caveat awaits you here!

Don’t overwork the flour into the mashed potatoes because gluten can start to develop. Think of it like a pie crust: knead it quickly so it doesn’t become damp!

The mixture should be tacky to touch but not stick to a clean surface. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then divide the vegan gnocchi dough into 4 chunks, rolling each of them into long ropes.

Now, slice them into 1-inch long gnocchi pillows. You can cook them as they are, or you can use a fork to create the traditional ridges.

two male hands rolling whole wheat dough on a floured surface
floured surface with some whole wheat potato dough that's cut with a knife into gnocchi pillows

How to Cook Vegan Gnocchi

Once you have cut your whole wheat gnocchi dough into beautiful little gnocchi shapes (ridges or not), bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In small-ish batches, carefully add your vegan gnocchi to the hot water and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Once they are done, they start to rise to the top of the water.

You can now remove them with a slotted spoon, place the cooked gnocchi in a bowl and cover them. Repeat with the rest of the uncooked gnocchi!

What to Serve With Whole Wheat Gnocchi

While gnocchi can taste delicious all by themselves, you can create endless variety by serving the little potato dumplings with different veggies and sauces.

Some of our favorite vegetables that go well with gnocchi include zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus and tomatoes.

You can also just make a veggie stir-fry with your favorite vegetables and add the homemade gnocchi together with a few herbs and spices – voilà! No sauce needed!

We like to serve vegan gnocchi all throughout the year, choosing seasonally appropriate sauces and vegetables to go along with them.

During wintertime, you can make a comforting gnocchi bake; in the summer, you can serve the gnocchi cold as a salad or with a creamy low-fat pesto.

The fruity sun-dried tomato sauce in our recipe below is perfect during spring and summer. In the fall, we like to switch to a creamy mushroom gravy.

These two are seriously the most delicious ways to eat healthy gnocchi for dinner, so we had to share both options as we couldn’t decide!

close up of a hand with a fork that creates the traditional shapes in the uncooked whole wheat gnocchi

Try Our Creamy Vegan Gnocchi Sauce (Bonus Recipe)

In our photos, you can see that we like to serve whole wheat gnocchi with a fruity tomato sauce. But we also wanted to share another delicious way of enjoying vegan gnocchi!

Easy Mushroom Gravy

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 4 cups button mushrooms, chopped (280 g)
  • 2 cups soy milk (500 ml)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (+ 2 tbsp soy milk)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and dry-fry the garlic, onion and mushrooms for around 5-10 minutes. The mushrooms will slowly release their liquid and a fragrant smell – stir the mixture occasionally.
  2. Add the soy sauce, pepper, marjoram and soy milk. Heat everything up until the liquid simmers. 
  3. In the meantime, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold soy milk. Add this mixture to the simmering liquid in the pan and mix well. The sauce is ready when it has thickened.

We definitely recommend trying this easy vegan mushroom gravy over homemade gnocchi sometime soon!

white bowl with whole wheat vegan gnocchi and a homemade mushroom gravy

Tips to Make the Best Potato Gnocchi 

Even though homemade gnocchi are made from two simple ingredients, there are a few key things you need to get right!

  • Choose the right potatoes. Starchy is the way to go; Russet or Yukon Gold are best. Also, make sure the potatoes are similar in size so they cook evenly.
  • Keep your potatoes unpeeled when you cook them because otherwise they’ll absorb water and lose some of their flavor. This is crucial to your texture!
  • Peel and mash the potatoes as soon as you can, when they are almost too hot to handle. You’ll be rewarded with a way better consistency for the vegan gnocchi.
  • Gnocchi are traditionally made with glutenous flour, but we’ll share some gluten-free recipes with you below.

Can Gnocchi Be Made in Advance?

Sure, vegan gnocchi can be made ahead of time! There are 3 ways to go about this. 

The first option is to let your prepared gnocchi sit in their tray at room temperature for up to 3 hours before cooking.

If you want to make them 2-3 days in advance, coat your shaped gnocchi well with flour and place them in the fridge before cooking them.

And if you want them to last even longer than that, you can freeze them. To do this, lay the uncooked gnocchi next to each other on a sheet pan, making sure they don’t touch. It’s best to let them dry out at room temperature for about 45 minutes before freezing them!

If you let them freeze for about 3 hours on a sheet pan, you can place them into freezer bags or containers and store them this way for 2-3 months!

Once you’re ready to cook them, remove the serving of gnocchi you want from the freezer and cook them in salted water in small-ish batches. No need to let them thaw first!

plate of whole wheat vegan gnocchi with homemade tomato sauce and basil

How to Make Gluten-Free Gnocchi

Since our recipe calls for whole wheat flour (and we’ve actually never made gluten-free gnocchi at home before), we wanted to share some gluten-free vegan gnocchi recipes with you from our food blogger colleagues.

Try These Vegan Dinner Recipes Next

Most of our recipes require much less kitchen skill than these homemade gnocchi. They’re not any less comforting or healthy, though! Here are some fan favorites you can try next:

Have you ever made your own vegan gnocchi at home, and did you try our whole wheat version? Feel free to share with us in the comments below, rate our recipe and Pin it here. You can also tag us on Instagram, we’d love to see your creations!

Vegan Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

Vegan Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These homemade vegan whole wheat gnocchi are our favorite way to eat chewy pasta! Naturally eggless and fat-free, this healthy comfort food works well for meal prep and is totally kid-approved. Make your own mouth-watering potato gnocchi from scratch and serve them with our simple sun-dried tomato sauce!

Ingredients

Whole Wheat Gnocchi

  • 2 lbs potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

  • 28 oz tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes*, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp basil, dry
  • 1 tsp oregano, dry
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Make the Gnocchi

  1. Get a medium-sized pot and put the washed whole potatoes inside, unpeeled. Cover them with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let them simmer for around 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
  2. Once they have become soft, drain the potatoes and let them cool for a few minutes, then peel them. 
  3. Place the peeled, warm potatoes in a bowl and mash them until smooth. This works best with a ricer or a fork. Don’t use a food processor or blender!
  4. Add the whole wheat flour incrementally to the mashed potatoes and start kneading until you get a nice homogenous dough without overworking the potatoes. Don’t forget your pinch of salt! 
  5. You should end up with a soft, not too sticky dough and all of the flour should be absorbed by the potatoes. Depending on the potatoes you use and how well they were cooked and mashed, you may need a little bit more or less flour.
  6. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. Then, divide the gnocchi dough into 4 parts. 
  7. Thoroughly flour a clean workspace and your hands, then grab one of the changes and roll it into a long rope, about 1-inch in diameter. Repeat with the rest of the gnocchi dough.
  8. Cut each rope into 1-inch long pieces to create your gnocchi pillows. You can cook them like that or use a fork to create the traditional ridges.
  9. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a large pot. Add about half of the gnocchi and boil them for 2-3 minutes until they start floating to the top.
  10. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl or on a plate. Add the rest of the uncooked gnocchi to your boiling water for 2-3 more minutes.
  11. Once all of the whole wheat gnocchi are cooked, divide them into bowls and serve with your favorite sauce.

Make the Tomato Sauce

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium and add the garlic. Dry roast for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the green onion, sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and a splash of water.
  2. After a few more minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve warm over gnocchi or other pasta!

Notes

  • *we use oil-free sun-dried tomatoes which are lower in calories and don’t need to be drained.
  • You can store the uncooked, shaped gnocchi in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze them (instructions in the article).
  • Make sure to peel and mash your potatoes as quickly as possible – if they get too cool, they are more difficult to handle.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 932mgCarbohydrates: 105gFiber: 16gSugar: 11gProtein: 17g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

Did you make this recipe?

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Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist (CPD) who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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10 thoughts on “Homemade Whole Wheat Vegan Gnocchi Recipe with Tomato Sauce”

  1. Thank you posting these two recipes. They look delicious. What kind of flour would work for celiacs, and still maintain flavor and consistency?

    Reply
    • Hey Nicole,
      you can use rice flour or a gluten-free universal mix. We haven’t tried it before, that’s just what most other recipes call for.
      Hope this helps!
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply

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