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Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce

This vegan gnocchi is dressed in the richest, creamiest, zippy lemon sauce that just happens to be dairy-free! Served with hearty kale and seasoned with a garlic and a hint of thyme, this easy meal is pure vegan comfort food.

Wooden surface set with skillet, cloth, and plate of vegan gnocchi and kale in creamy sauce.

Gnocchi is my favorite comfort food. I mean, pasta potato dumplings(!)…does it get any better than that? Only if you smother those pasta dumplings in creamy sauce (spoiler: I did).

What I really love about this particular vegan gnocchi recipe is that in addition to being super delicious and comforting, it’s also really easy to throw together. Because how comforting can a meal really be if you have to spend the entire day working in the kitchen to enjoy it? We’re not doing that here!

I incorporated a few shortcuts that I think are pretty clever into this recipe. For one thing, the kale portion of this dish gets boiled right along with the gnocchi. This means you don’t have to blanch it separately like you often do with veggies that get added to pasta dishes. I also decided to ditch the cashews I normally use for creamy sauces, along with all the required blending and soaking, and use coconut milk as the base. Easy!

The result was a delicious skillet of vegan gnocchi that’s both easy enough for a weeknight, but also fancy enough for company.

Jump to:

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Potato gnocchi. We’re using shelf-stable gnocchi because in my experience it’s more likely to be vegan than frozen. But you’ll still want to check your ingredients to be safe. And if you can find vegan frozen gnocchi, feel free to use it!
  • Lacinato kale. This is the dark green variety of kale that has a bumpy surface. It might also be labelled Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale at the store. You can substitute curly kale (or pretty much any variety) if you can’t find it.
  • Shallots. Red onion will work as a substitute if needed.
  • Garlic.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Dry white wine. Not all wine is vegan. You can check to ensure yours is by running the brand through Barnivore.
  • Fresh thyme.
  • Coconut milk. We’re using full-fat coconut milk from a can. Don’t use the type sold in cartons.
  • Salt.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Lemon zest.
  • Black pepper.
  • Red pepper flakes. Skip these if you’re not into heat.
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese. This is optional and for topping. I’m a big fan of homemade vegan Parmesan cheese, but store-bought is fine as well.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Start by boiling your gnocchi according to the package directions. Set a timer for this, and when you’ve got about 30 seconds left, add the kale and boil it with the gnocchi.
  • Drain the kale and gnocchi together in a colander.

Tip: This method works for just about any pasta and any veggie you’d add to pasta. I do it all the time, then add whatever sauce I’ve got on hand, and voilà: I’ve got a healthy dinner on the table that was super easy to make!

Colander filled with cooked potato gnocchi and kale.
  • Heat up some more olive oil in a skillet and add finely chopped shallots. Cook them until they begin to soften up, then add the garlic and cook it with the shallots briefly.
  • Add some flour and stir to form a paste that coats the shallots, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the wine and bring it to a simmer. Let the wine cook until it reduces by about half.
Collage showing first two stages of cooking Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce on a stove.
  • Add the salt and begin stirring in the coconut milk, a bit at a time. You can use a whisk to mix the ingredients if you have trouble getting the lumps out.
  • Bring the liquid to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens up.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and zest followed by the gnocchi and kale. Cook everything very briefly, just to get the gnocchi hot again.
Collage showing last two stages of cooking Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce on a stove.
  • Take the skillet off of the burner, give the sauce a taste test, and add black pepper, along with some additional salt if you’d like.
Skillet of vegan gnocchi and kale with wooden spoon.
  • Divide your creamy vegan gnocchi onto plates and top each with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and vegan Parmesan.
Plate of Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce with water glass and skillet in the background.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover vegan gnocchi will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this dish be made gluten-free?

I think so! I haven’t made a gluten-free version myself, but I think you’d be able to substitute a gluten-free flour blend for wheat flour to thicken the sauce. You’ll also need to use a vegan gluten-free gnocchi (DeLallo makes one).

Can I substitute light coconut milk or another variety of non-dairy milk?

You can, but I haven’t tested the recipe this way, so I’m not sure how it will turn out.

Does the sauce taste like coconut?

Not to me, but if you absolutely can’t stand the taste of coconut you may want to skip this one, or attempt it with another type of non-dairy milk (which I haven’t tested).

Where can I buy vegan gnocchi?

I’ve found that most supermarkets carry it! Many popular shelf-stable brands of gnocchi are accidentally vegan.

More Vegan Pasta Dinners

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Plate of Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce with fork and spoon.

Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce

This vegan gnocchi is dressed in the richest, creamiest, zippy lemon sauce that just happens to be dairy-free! Served with hearty kale and seasoned with a garlic and a hint of thyme, this easy meal is pure vegan comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 1
    pound
    shelf-stable potato gnocchi
  • 1
    small bunch (6-8 ounces)
    lacinato kale,
    torn into small pieces
  • 2
    tablespoons
    olive oil,
    plus a dash
  • ½
    cup
    finely chopped shallots
    (1-2 shallots)
  • 3
    garlic cloves,
    minced
  • 2
    tablespoons
    all-purpose flour
  • ¼
    cup
    dry white wine
  • 1
    tablespoon
    fresh thyme leaves
  • 1
    cup
    full-fat coconut milk
    (from a can)
  • ½
    teaspoon
    salt
    (or to taste)
  • 1
    tablespoon
    lemon juice
  • 1
    teaspoon
    lemon zest
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes,
    for serving
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese,
    for serving

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

  2. Add the gnocchi to the pot and cook it according to the package directions. When you’ve got about 30 seconds of cook time left, stir in the kale and continue cooking until the gnocchi float the kale is bright green.

  3. Drain the gnocchi and kale into a colander, return them to the pot, and toss them with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

  4. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it over medium heat.

  5. When the oil is hot, add the shallots. Sweat the shallots for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they become soft and translucent.

  6. Add the garlic and cook it with the shallots for about 30 second more, until it becomes very fragrant.

  7. Stir in the flour. Continue cooking and stirring the mixture for about 2 minutes, until the flour forms a smooth paste and coats the shallots.

  8. Stir in the white wine and thyme, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 4 minutes, until the liquid reduced by about half.

  9. Stir in the salt, then add the coconut milk, a bit at a time in order to smoothly incorporate it with the flour.

  10. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes smooth and thick.

  11. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, gnocchi and kale. Cook everything for about 30 second more, stirring to coat the gnocchi and kale with the sauce.

  12. Remove the skillet from heat and season the gnocchi with black pepper and additional salt to taste.

  13. Divide onto plates and serve with red pepper flakes and vegan Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

Check the ingredients on your gnocchi package to ensure that the brand you’re buying is vegan. 

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Gnocchi with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce

Amount Per Serving

Calories 610
Calories from Fat 262

% Daily Value*

Fat 29.1g45%

Saturated Fat 18.3g92%

Sodium 875mg36%

Potassium 677mg19%

Carbohydrates 77.2g26%

Fiber 4.3g17%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 12.4g25%

Calcium 110mg11%

Iron 4.1mg23%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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