Vegan Ricotta and Potato Gnocchi

Vegan Ricotta and Potato Gnocchi

Good homemade gnocchi like our Vegan Potato Ricotta Gnocchi is one of those things that I always want to make for dinner, but I get intimidated by the whole thing. The potato dough, the rolling, the cutting, the shaping (how the heck do they do that?!), all of it. I never met a gnocchi recipe that I wasn’t scared of. 

So, we decided to make our own.

Once I took the plunge, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It was generally pretty easy, actually! You boil the potato, make the vegan ricotta, bring it all together, boil it for a sec, saute it for a sec, and you’re done. Pair with your favorite sauce and bingo! You’ve got yourself a delicious meal. 

I can’t recommend enough getting some kind of tool to mash the potatoes with. As someone who has mashed potatoes with a fork then bought a potato masher, it’s night and day how much faster it goes when you have the masher. We have one like this, but you could also use a potato ricer like this one if you have one. We don’t have a potato ricer, so we just went with the masher. It’s completely up to you!

For the ricotta, using a high-powered blender like this one makes a huge difference. They can be a bit of an investment, but if you’re trying to make more vegan food, they’re essential. You can make cream sauces, vegan cheese substitutes, nut/grain milk, smoothies, pesto, salad dressings, or anything your heart desires. The list is endless. Without the high powdered blender, the ricotta will end up with little pieces of cashew, which could impact your gnocchi texture. It’ll still be great, but the texture will be off.

Let’s talk about shapes: 

Now, based on the pictures, I’m sure you have noticed the one major, glaringly obvious thing about these gnocchi. “Those look good” you said, but then, after some inspection, you said..

“Those don’t look like gnocchi!”

I know, I know. You’re surprised, to say the least. But, I want to justify why for a minute. 

Whoever said gnocchi needs to be shaped like that clearly had never had to shape them. Restaurants have special tools, but that leaves the home cooks of the world to make them with a fork. A fork?! A fork! That means that home cooks everywhere have been making gnocchi, only to realize that they have to shape each one on a fork. One at a time. How unfair is that? 

Well, I decided to do some research. I personally think it’s ridiculous to have to do something one at a time for such small little pieces of pasta, and what I found is that so do many other people, some professional restaurants included. There was an article out there (I can’t seem to find it, but it’s there, trust me!) from a professional chef saying that he serves little cylindrical pillow-shaped gnocchi and nobody seems to mind.

So, here and now, I give you permission to ignore all the pressure to make specially shaped gnocchi and just serve cylinders. You’ll thank me later.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. The recipe says that you should peel and mash the potato as soon as you can handle it. You’ve got some leeway there. You don’t need to burn your hands just because our recipe says to do something. It helps bring everything together, but it’s not as crucial as with other gnocchi recipes that involve eggs and real ricotta. Take it easy.
  2. There are tons of different sauces you can pair this gnocchi with. We personally love our Vegan Vodka Sauce with it, but you could also do a vegan pesto, tomato basil, some oil and garlic (see what we did there??), or even a vegan cream sauce. Let your imagination run wild! 
  3. Take the time to make sure your dough snakes are evenly sized all the way across. The more consistent shape your gnocchi is, the more evenly it will cook, helping you out later down the line when you’re trying to cook them all at once. If they’re uneven, some will potentially be overcooked, and some will be undercooked, neither of which we want. 

Vegan Ricotta and Potato Gnocchi

Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

Gnocchi:

  • 1 lb medium potatoes of your choice
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting or as needed
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed meal + 2 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 cup vegan ricotta see below
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil for sautéing the gnocchi

Vegan Ricotta

  • 3/4 cup cashew pieces raw and unsalted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Boil the potatoes:

  • Set the potatoes to boil until soft, about 30-45 minutes. They will be easily pierced with a fork and fall back into the water when the fork is lifted.

Make the vegan ricotta:

  • While the potatoes boil, make the vegan ricotta. Set the cashews to soak in a pot of water on medium-high heat. Note, this is not the 1/4 cup of water from the recipe. They will appear bloated and feel squishy. This should take about 5-10 minutes, depending on whether they're cashew pieces or whole cashews.
  • Drain the soaked cashews. Place them and all the remaining ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the walls of the blender or food processor. This will take approximately 3-5 minutes, depending on your blender or food processor.
  • Taste the ricotta for salt and pepper. Add more if you think it needs it.

Make the gnocchi:

  • When the potatoes are boiled, take them out of the water and let them cool. Peel them as soon as you're able, but not so soon that you burn your fingers.
  • To make the flax egg, mix together the flax meal and water together in a small bowl, and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Mash or rice the peeled potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the ricotta and the rest of the remaining ingredients and mix until it comes together. You may have to use your hands. It will be soft, but not overly sticky. Add more flour as needed, about 1 tbsp at a time.

Shape the gnocchi:

  • Now it's time to shape the gnocchi. Line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment (if you have it) and dust well with flour. Set slightly aside for now.
  • Lightly flour a work surface. This can be a cutting board or just your countertop. Turn your dough out onto the floured work surface. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it's at a reasonable thickness, about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Cut 3/4 inch strips of dough. Roll the strips into logs one at a time. Cut each log into 1/2 inch-1 inch chunks, depending on how big you want your gnocchi.

Cook the gnocchi:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat some olive oil on medium-low heat in a frying pan right next to the pot of water.
  • When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the gnocchi a few at a time. They'll sink to the bottom; when they float, they're done. Scoop out with a slotted spoon, drain as much as possible, and place into the pan with oil. Saute for a short while until slightly browned on the outside. Transfer to a plate or bowl and repeat with the rest of the gnocchi.
  • Top with your favorite sauce and serve hot!

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