This easy gnocchi bolognese recipe combines soft, pillowy gnocchi with a rich, meaty sauce. It comes together in 30 minutes and is perfect for date night, sunday supper, or a simple weeknight meal.
Switch up your classic spaghetti bolognese pasta night with my hearty and cozy gnocchi bolognese. It's great for a quick and easy dinner, with fresh flavors and aromatic spices. This potato gnocchi recipe is comfort food at its finest!
What is gnocchi?
Gnocchi are Italian potato dumplings. They're a soft, tender, and chewy type of pasta, typically paired with a tomato based sauce, butter sauce, or pesto.
Traditionally, gnocchi dough is made with flour, egg, and mashed potato; however, many store-bought brands are made without egg.
- Gnocchi: Use store-bought gnocchi or make it from scratch at home!
- Olive oil: To make this recipe dairy free, I swapped the butter with extra virgin olive oil.
- Soffritto: This Italian holy trinity is a mixture of carrots, celery, and onion and is the base for the homemade bolognese sauce.
- Garlic: Fresh is best!
- Ground beef: I typically use 80/20, but feel free to use what you prefer.
- Tomatoes: This recipe calls for both tomato paste and crushed tomatoes.
- Seasoning: We'll be using bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.
- Fresh basil: I love topping this dish with fresh herbs like basil. It's optional but highly recommended!
How to make gnocchi bolognese
The full directions for how to make gnocchi with bolognese sauce are in the printable recipe card below.
- In a large dutch oven or skillet, warm oil over medium heat.
- Cook vegetables until soft tender.
- Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
- Season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, water, and bay leaves.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a large stock pot.
- Add cooked gnocchi to bolognese sauce, stir to combine, and enjoy!
- Make vegetarian or vegan gnocchi bolognese by swapping the ground beef with plant based meatless crumbles, chopped mushrooms, or by simply leaving the meat out.
- Try cauliflower gnocchi in place of traditional gnocchi for a low carb meal.
Time saving tips
- Instead of chopping, blitz vegetables in a food chopper!
- Meal prep the bolognese sauce ahead of time and store in the fridge. When you're ready to eat, toss gnocchi in boiling water and have dinner on the table in 5 minutes.
Gnocchi bolognese is incredibly versatile! Serve with dinner rolls, classic bruschetta, brussels sprouts, green beans, or your favorite side dish.
How to store leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce, if needed.
Gnocchi bolognese is incredibly freezer friendly! Once prepared and cooled completely, transfer to a freezer safe container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight then reheat as desired.
Try these delicious pasta recipes next:
- Dairy Free & Egg Free Meatballs
- Dairy Free Fettuccine Alfredo
- Dairy Free Shrimp Scampi
- Tahini Pasta
- Lemon Pasta
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 16 ounces gnocchi
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or skillet. Add diced celery, carrot, and onion. Cook until veggies are soft tender.
- Add ground beef and let cook, breaking it apart until fully browned. Season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Stir in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, water or stock, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. Cook gnocchi according to package directions, about 2 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy water then drain.
- Add cooked gnocchi to bolognese sauce and stream in reserved water as needed if the mixture is too thick. Cook for an addition minute or so, taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve immediately garnished with fresh basil.
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