Comfort food doesn't get much easier than this Spinach and Tomato Gnocchi Bake. Light and pillowy gnocchi in a rich tomato based sauce with leafy greens and a cheesy top. It's family friendly comfort food with a healthy twist. A fuss-free one pan carb loaded dinner that is easy to adapt and ready in under 30 minutes.
A comforting baked Italian dish doesn't have to involve pasta. Why not try swapping the pasta and using gnocchi instead?
Why you will love it
- Total comfort food
- An easy way to use gnocchi
- All cooked in one pan
- Easy to adapt
- Gnocchi - We used a good quality store bought gnocchi to save some time. However if you have a little extra time, then you could make your own. Why not try our Leftover Mashed Potato Gnocchi.
- Spinach - A great way to add a green boost to this dish. You could use chopped up kale instead.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - This adds a really intense tomato flavour to the dish. Add a little splash of the oil from the jar for more of a flavour boost.
- Onion - You can save yourself some time and use frozen. You can also swap it for shallots if you want a sweeter flavour.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best, but you could save yourself some time and use frozen garlic, or chopped garlic in a jar.
- Passata - This is pureed and strained tomatoes and it is where all the sauce comes from. Try to use the best quality passata that you can afford, as you will really be able to taste the difference. A great passata will be really watery and you won't get the same rich sauce, as this sauce doesn't cook for very long, so it doesn't have time to reduce. You can swap it fo a can of chopped tomatoes if you prefer.
- Creme fraiche - This gives the dish a little creaminess and helps to thicken it up. You could leave it out.
- Basil - The perfect herb to go with a tomato based dish.
- Parmesan - If you want to make this dish vegetarian, then use a vegetarian alternative to parmesan. If you want to make this vegan, you could just leave the cheese out.
- Mozzarella - This super melty cheese just finishes the whole dish off. You could swap it for a mature cheddar if you prefer.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
One: Heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic until softened.
Two: Add the passata, basil, gnocchi, sun-dried tomatoes, creme fraiche and salt and pepper.
Three: Mix well and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Four: Top with Parmesan and mozzarella.
Five: Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve with more Parmesan and chopped basil.
What is gnocchi?
Gnocchi (pronounced NYOW-kee) are a type of Italian pasta, the most common of which is classic potato gnocchi (also known as Gnocchi di patate). They are made using cooked mashed potatoes (a great way to use leftovers), flour and eggs. Some gnocchi recipes add ricotta to the dough, and that does give it a richer flavour.
You can use it in all the same ways that you use other pasta, and it makes a nice change when you are bored of all the same pasta dishes.
How to adapt it
This is an easy dish to adapt, and you could swap in any vegetables that you have on hand. We used spinach because it cooks quickly, however you could sauté kale and use that instead.
Try to only use quick cooking veg, rather than root vegetables that would take longer. Bell peppers and courgettes work well in this, or you could fry some broccoli for an extra green boost. Artichokes go really well in it too. If you are making it for kids, then peas and sweetcorn are always a favourite.
To make this a really quick and easy meal, we used store bought gnocchi in a packet. However, you could make your own gnocchi which is far easier to make than you might think. We will have a recipe for that soon.
If you don't want tomato based sauce, and you would prefer a creamy one, then you could swap the creme fraiche, mustard and parmesan.
What to serve it with
Garlic bread of course! Gnocchi and garlic bread are such a delicious match. Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes.
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette.
No, you do not to precook the gnocchi in this recipe, as it will all cook together in the sauce for an easy one pot meal.
This is an easy and delicious meat free meal, and it really does need any meat. However, if you wanted to add some then you could add some leftovers from a Roast Chicken or even some chopped up cooked sausages. You could also add some extra flavour with adding chopped bacon at the same time as the onion.
You can store leftover baked gnocchi in an air tight container in the fridge for around 4 days. You can either reheat it in a microwave or in a frying pan with a splash of stock to loosen it up a little, as the leftovers can be a little dry.
We don't recommend freezing leftovers, as once it is defrosted, it tends to fall apart and become a bit mushy.
Yes, you can easily make this gluten free. Just make sure to use gluten free gnocchi and make sure all the other ingredients that you are using are gluten free too.
We used store bought gnocchi to make this a super quick and easy meal, however you could use your favourite homemade gnocchi recipe for this too.
• If you wanted to add meat to this, then leftover shredded chicken or some chopped cooked bacon would work.
• If adding other vegetables, make sure they are quick cooking softer vegetables.
• You can use any cheese that melts well in this recipe.
• Top it with some fresh herbs, extra cheese and a sprinkling of pine nuts.
• A little bit of the starch water from the pan added to the sauce makes it lovely and silky, so don't drain all the water.
• If you don't have gnocchi, you could make this recipe with any pasta sauce instead - it's a great pasta sauce. It's also a good sauce to pour over chicken or salmon too.
More Italian recipes
Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Gnocchi Bake
- 400 g (14 oz) Gnocchi
- 1 teaspoon Olive oil
- 1 (1) Onion - diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 350 g (1.33 cups) Passata
- 50 g (4 cups) Spinach
- 10 g (0.5 cups) Fresh basil - chopped (plus extra to serve)
- 85 g (0.75 cups) Sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon Creme fraiche
- 150 g (5 oz) Mozzarella - grated; optional
- 50 g (1.75 oz) Parmesan
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6.
- Heat 1 teaspoon Olive oil and sauté 1 Onion and 2 Garlic clove until softened.
- Add 350 g Passata, 50 g Spinach, 10 g Fresh basil, 400 g Gnocchi, 85 g Sun-dried tomatoes, 3 tablespoon Creme fraiche and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper.
- Mix well and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Top with 50 g Parmesan and 150 g Mozzarella.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Serve with more Parmesan and chopped basil.
- If you wanted to add meat to this, then leftover shredded chicken or some chopped cooked bacon would work.
- If adding other vegetables, make sure they are quick cooking softer vegetables.
- You can use any cheese that melts well in this recipe.
- Top it with some fresh herbs, extra cheese and a sprinkling of pine nuts.
- A little bit of the starch water from the pan added to the sauce makes it lovely and silky, so don't drain all the water.
- If you don't have gnocchi, you could make this recipe with any pasta sauce instead - it's a great pasta sauce. It's also a good sauce to pour over chicken or salmon too.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.