You are going to love this One-Pot Creamy Gnocchi recipe for an easy dinner (including clean-up!). It uses refrigerated gnocchi for a quick, simple gnocchi dish and is tossed in a luxurious and creamy tomato spinach sauce for a comforting vegetarian meal that’s ready in just 25 minutes from start to finish!
The most famous question of them all: what’s for dinner tonight? I GET IT.
Even as a single lady, this is a question I wish someone would answer for me 99% of the time.
And do I have the answer for you! The best kind, too.
The kind that takes less than 20 minutes, is made in ONE PAN and even has some veggies thrown in.
Did you catch the part where I said one pan?
Yes, ONE pan to clean. Ain’t nobody arguing with that.
It’s a vegetarian dinner dream come true…it’s a one-pot gnocchi recipe made with a creamy, luxurious tomato sauce with a handful of spinach tossed in, too. It’s dreamy and about to become your new go-to comfort food dinner.
What’s in Creamy Tomato Spinach Gnocchi?
Let’s take a closer look at this one-pot “pasta” recipe. It uses simple ingredients that you can easily customize to meet your needs!
- Leek & Yellow Onion: they make our aromatic base. I use leek in this recipe for variety and depth of flavor, however, I realize that when you’re making a quick dinner you might not have it on hand. In this case, you can substitute yellow onion. Just promise me you’ll try it next time with the leek if you do, ok? It’s just so delish.
- Garlic: adding to the aromatics, there’s no pasta recipe that can be without garlic, is there?
- Cherry Tomatoes: really, you can use cherry or grape tomatoes here. The small tomatoes burst into the sauce and release their juices, contributing to the flavor and texture.
- Spinach: a delicious addition to wilt in at the end, it adds texture, flavor, and nutrients to this pasta recipe. You could also use kale or arugula.
- Gnocchi: this recipe makes things really easy and uses refrigerated gnocchi, found in the fridge section of your local grocery store. You can use shelf-stable gnocchi, just note the cook times with either, as they will vary depending on the brand you buy, and shelf-gnocchi generally takes a lot longer.
- White Wine or Vegetable Stock: deglazing a sauce brings a lot of flavor as any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan get scraped up. A lovely way to do this and add even more flavor is to use white wine. If you don’t have wine open, you can also use vegetable stock, which adds loads of flavor too. If you have neither, use water, but be sure to adjust salt levels as needed as there will be less flavor if using water.
- Butter: need I say more?
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: salty, cheesy, and delicious with the flavors we have going on here. I like using grated parmesan as it blends into the sauce best. Check that it’s vegetarian, if needed.
- Half and Half (or heavy cream): using one of these is an option, but recommended for the most creamy gnocchi around. Readers have commented on using coconut milk and greek yogurt as substitutes, however, I haven’t tried either myself.
There it is: 10 ingredients (or fewer)! And they all come together in one pot. I think we may have arrived at the weeknight dinner of all dinners! Gnocchi in tomato cream sauce is taking us to the next level.
How to Make One-Pan Gnocchi
It’s not quite a throw it in the one pan and be done, but it’s just as simple. It’s not a throw-and -go kind of recipe because WE NEED FLAVOR IN LAYERS!
I’ve talked a lot about layering in flavor with salt in recipes before. You’ve got to add the amount of salt you want in a recipe bit by bit throughout the cooking process so the flavors build on each other.
Similarly, we want to cook the leek and onion first and then add in the garlic, before continuing with the rest of the ingredients. Starting with the aromatics as the building blocks guarantee flavor.
Next in go the cherry tomatoes – whole. They’ll start to blister and roast, at which point you’ll begin to gently “smash” them. This releases the juices and starts to create the sauce. That is: the tomato cream sauce. Blistering the tomatoes is how we are making the creamy tomato sauce (of course, with the addition of some cream later on too).
After the tomatoes begin to pop, it’s time to deglaze the pan with white wine or stock.
Add the gnocchi to the pan and cover it to help them cook further.
Cook the gnocchi about 2 minutes longer than the package directions state. Because we aren’t fully submerging the gnocchi in boiling water to cook them, we need to give them extra time.
Regardless of adding a few extra minutes, it will still be a quick process. Refrigerated gnocchi doesn’t take long to cook! Do note, if you are using shelf-stable gnocchi, it will likely take longer to cook.
Right before the gnocchi is ready, add the spinach to the pan and allow it to wilt at the very end. It adds color and, of course, nutrients. It’s only right for some creamy spinach gnocchi.
How Do You Make it Creamier?
Add the final creamy touches! It wouldn’t be creamy gnocchi without parmesan cheese, butter, and half-and-half for creamy richness. Ah, the creaminess! Ah, this easy vegetarian gnocchi recipe wonder.
Now that it’s cheesy, creamy, and ready to enjoy, be sure to garnish with some fresh basil for added freshness and flavor, then dig in and enjoy this super easy, total comfort food, meal.
If your gnocchi is gluten-free, then yes! Be sure to check the packaging, as some brands are made with flour, and others are certified gluten-free.
I haven’t tested it myself but several readers have commented that they have made it with success. Be sure to let us know if you try it!
It will depend on how much liquid your specific gnocchi absorbs. That being said, in the end, this is a thicker sauce recipe. If you want the finished dish to be saucier, add more vegetable stock for a thinner sauce.
More Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners
- Tuscan White Bean Skillet
- Simple Blistered Tomato Pasta
- Easy Spring Vegetable Fusilli
- Vegetarian Lo Mein
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
One Pot Creamy Tomato Spinach Gnocchi
- 3 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup halved and sliced leek, ~1 large leek
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1- pint cherry tomatoes
- 3/4 cup white wine or vegetable stock, more stock if needed to thin sauce
- 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 17 oz. refrigerated fresh gnocchi
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Several handfuls of baby spinach, 1-2 cups
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add leek and onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt- remember to continue to add it in layers for flavor! Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add cherry tomatoes; cook until they begin to blister, about 5 minutes, and then begin to smash them down gently with the back of your spoon. Let the juices cook about 1-2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine or vegetable stock. Bring it back to a simmer and let it cook down for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the butter to melt.
- Add in the gnocchi, stir to coat and make sure they are in a single layer to cook evenly. Cover the pan (use foil if you don't have a lid) and cook about 2 minutes longer than the package suggests (since you won't be boiling them, it may take a little longer). Mine usually cook for about 4-5 minutes total (*see notes). Be sure to taste test!
- Stir in parmesan, spinach, and half-and-half. Add additional vegetable stock if desired (see notes). The spinach will wilt with the heat of the gnocchi. Serve immediately with additional parmesan and/or fresh basil as desired.
- To cut the leeks: trim off the root end and top stems (where the white turns dark green). Cut lengthwise and lay on the flat side. Cut into 1/2 inch half circles. Clean properly by placing cut pieces in a bowl of water and stir around to remove any dirt and sand. Drain and rinse.
- Cook Time: The final cook time of the gnocchi may vary depending on what the packaging says for the brand you use. Generally, it takes 2 minutes longer than suggested, but be sure to check and taste test (the best part! :)).
- The Liquid: If your gnocchi absorbs more of the liquid, or you’d like it saucier, add water or vegetable stock in 1/4 cup increments until the desired consistency is reached.
- Reheating: If reheating, do so slowly on the stove as the gnocchi tends to get hard if microwaved, in my experience.
- *Makes 2 “meal-sized” portions or 4 small portions.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!