Want to jazz up an ordinary pack of store-bought gnocchi? This easy-peasy vegetarian baked gnocchi recipe has got you covered. Each mouth-watering bite is packed with flavour and texture, thanks to a medley of tomato, broccoli, and mushrooms in a creamy, herby béchamel sauce topped with a crispy, cheesy crust.
And the best part? You can prep and bake in one pan and there's no need to pre-cook anything. Whether you follow the recipe to the letter or mix things up by throwing in whatever veggies you have to hand - this versatile recipe is sure to be a hit.
Looking for more ways to take store-bought gnocchi to a whole new level? You should try this Fried Gnocchi Recipe with Spinach and Feta. For more comforting vegetarian weeknight-friendly pasta dishes take a look at my Cheesy Pasta Bake, Roast Pumpkin Pasta, and Pesto Lasagne. Or if you want to try making your own gnocchi this Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe is surprisingly quick and easy.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
✅ 6 reasons why you should choose this recipe:
- Creamy, cheesy, and comforting
- Packed with fresh veggies - broccoli, tomatoes and mushroom
- Crispy cheesy topping
- Quick and easy dinner recipe
- One-pot dish if you have an oven-proof pan/skillet
🛒 Ingredients and variations:
I normally use store-bought fresh potato gnocchi. I recommend avoiding the pantry long-life kind that you don't need to refrigerate because the consistency can be a bit rubbery. Homemade gnocchi are also a good option, but you should cook them first in boiling water before baking them in the oven. There's no need to pre-cook store-bought gnocchi, they will get nice and soft and pillowy when you bake them.
I've tested a variety of veggies and found that broccoli, tomato and mushrooms provide a brilliant blend of flavour and texture. Feel free to change it up, other green veggies like spinach, courgette/zucchini and peppers will work nicely.
Herbs and seasoning
I add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and dried oregano to the sauce and I put in fresh basil and thyme before baking. However, if fresh herbs are not available, you can switch them for dried herbs or skip them (you'll still have a very tasty gnocchi bake).
After testing a few cheeses, I found a blend of soft stretchy mozzarella and nutty Parmesan was the winning combo. I opt for grated mozzarella for convenience, but you can also use fresh. That said, there are other cheeses that will work well like cheddar, Monterey Jack or Gouda so feel free to switch things up.
I also like to scatter panko breadcrumbs onto the cheese to get the topping extra crispy. You can use normal breadcrumbs or skip the breadcrumbs and enjoy a topping of pure cheese.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
1. Fry the mushrooms
Place a frying pan on a high heat and add a quarter of the butter. Add the mushrooms when the butter gets hot and starts to sizzle and fry for a few minutes until they begin to brown and set aside.
2. Make the sauce
Reduce the heat of the pan to medium and add the rest of the butter. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two then stir in the flour until a smooth paste is formed. Pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until a smooth sauce is formed. Then season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and ground oregano.
3. Add the veggies
Add the tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes then stir in the broccoli, gnocchi, cooked mushrooms, thyme and basil. Then remove from the heat.
4. Topping & bake
Sprinkle mozzarella, Parmesan and breadcrumbs on top and bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden and bubbling around the edges.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
There are so many ways you can change up this dish. Here are a few suggestions:
- Veggies - switch the broccoli and/or mushrooms for courgettes/zucchini, spinach/baby spinach or green or red peppers.
- Gnocchi - use sweet potato or cauliflower gnocchi instead of regular potato gnocchi
- Add meat - such as sausage, leftover chicken or pork or beef mince.
- Pesto - add some red or green pesto to the white sauce.
- Sauce - try a marinara tomato sauce instead of bechamel.
👍 Expert tips
- Use an oven-proof pan or skillet - to reduce washing up.
- Add the milk slowly to the roux - to avoid lumps.
- Don't worry about pre-cooking the gnocchi or veggies (aside from the mushrooms) - the magic happens in the oven.
Gnocchi is a type of Italian pasta that is usually made from potatoes and flour. It's a comfort food, enjoyed around the world thanks to its soft and pillowy texture. Gnocchi can be enjoyed as a main or side dish and served in several ways including boiled with sauces like marinara, pesto or cream-based, fried, baked or in soup.
There is no need to boil gnocchi before adding them to a baked dish. They will cook as they bake in the oven. The only exception is homemade gnocchi, which should be cooked for a few minutes in boiling water first.
You can use frozen gnocchi and bake them from frozen. Just add another 5-10 minutes to the cooking time. To test the doneness, try a piece of gnocchi from the centre of the bake.
Like most foods, baked gnocchi is best eaten fresh. That said, the dish can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 3 months without sacrificing too much of the yummy taste or texture. Simply cover or place into an airtight container and place in the fridge or freezer.
You can reheat chilled baked gnocchi in the oven, microwave, or air fryer if you are reheating a smaller portion.
- Oven: this is the best way to retain the delicious taste and texture of the gnocchi. Heat the oven to 180C or 350F cover and bake for 20-25 minutes until warm and bubbling. You can bake from frozen too, but you will need to allow 45-60 minutes.
- Microwave: doesn't do wonders for the taste and consistency, but is super speedy if you're in a rush. Simply place your desired portion into a microwave-safe dish or plate, cover it with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid and heat on high power for 2-3 minutes.
- Air fryer: this is one of my favourite ways to reheat baked pasta dishes because you get oven-baked quality in a much shorter time. Preheat your air fryer to 175°C (350°F) and transfer the gnocchi to an oven-safe dish that is suitable for your air fryer and cook until hot and bubbly. This will take 5-8 minutes from chilled and 10-15 minutes from frozen.
😋 Check out my other cheesy pasta bakes
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Cheesy Vegetarian Baked Gnocchi
- 1 large oven-safe pan
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 200g (2 cups) broccoli florets cut small (in half / thirds (Note 1)
- 300g (1 ⅓ cups) tomatoes diced
- 150 g (1 ⅔ cups) mushrooms sliced (around 4 large mushrooms)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 400 ml (1 ¾ cups) milk
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 500 g (1 lb) gnocchi (Note 2)
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves torn/roughly chopped
- 80g (¾ cup) mozzarella cheese grated or fresh
- 10g Parmesan grated
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (preferably panko) optional
- Heat the oven to 180°C or 350°F.
- Place a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and add one quarter of the butter. Add the mushrooms and fry until browned then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the butter and minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- Add the tomatoes, broccoli, thyme and oregano and simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes. Then stir in the gnocchi, cooked mushrooms and basil leaves.
- Sprinkle mozzarella, Parmesan and breadcrumbs on top.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until the cheesy topping is brown and bubbling. Optional: Place under the grill / broiler for a few minute to get the cheese topping extra crispy.
- Broccoli - equivalent to one small head of broccoli for 4 portions.
- Gnocchi - store-bought fresh gnocchi is recommended. Avoid the type you can store in the pantry if possible. There's no need to pre-cook unless you are using homemade gnocchi, which will need to be cooked in boiling water for a few minutes first.