Dinner is so easy with this vegetarian baked gnocchi with meatless meatballs! This dump-and-bake recipe uses just 5 ingredients and requires only a few minutes of active time. It's perfect for weeknight dinners.
If you're new here, let me start by saying I love sharing vegetarian dump-and-bake recipes because they just make life a lot easier.
This baked gnocchi is actually the easiest dump-and-bake recipe that I've ever made because it uses just 5 main ingredients and no chopping or prep is required. Unlike my sheet pan baked gnocchi which results in crispy gnocchi, this is more of a casserole that creates soft, tender gnocchi.
This is the kind of recipe to make when you really don't feel like cooking or when you just want a simple, comforting meal without any hassle.
- Made with just 5 ingredients: gnocchi, frozen broccoli, pasta sauce, mozzarella, and meatless meatballs.
- Baked gnocchi: Unlike boiled gnocchi, baked gnocchi is firmer and has more of a bite to it. It is my second favorite way to serve gnocchi, right after pan-frying it.
- Quick: Requires only 5 minutes of prep time! Just dump the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Versatile: Use your favorite sauce, switch up the veggies, or double the portions. There are a lot of ways to make this baked gnocchi your own.
- Gnocchi: Choose dry gnocchi from the pasta aisle. I usually use Delallo brand. I have not tested this recipe with frozen gnocchi, but I do think it would work. The gnocchi will likely just be softer.
- Broccoli: I use frozen broccoli crowns for convenience. Fresh broccoli does work but will have a different texture (roasted, less tender).
- Mozzarella: This is where things get cheesy! Slice up one mozzarella ball. Shredded mozzarella works if a ball of fresh mozzarella isn't available.
- Pasta sauce: Choose your favorite pasta sauce. I usually go for a roasted garlic sauce because the sauce contributes the majority of the flavor in this recipe.
- Meatballs: Gardein or Impossible meatballs are my favorite type of vegetarian meatball. You can also make homemade mushroom meatballs.
How to make
Making dump-and-bake gnocchi is very straightforward. The frozen ingredients are added directly to the pan, so no thawing is necessary.
The pan does not need to be oiled before use. Just add the gnocchi, meatballs, and pasta sauce and stir to fully coat the gnocchi in the sauce.
Add in half of the torn mozzarella pieces, then top with broccoli. Add the remaining mozzarella, salt, and pepper.
Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until the meatballs are hot throughout and the cheese is melted. For golden and bubbly cheese, broil for just 30 seconds to a minute.
- Meatballs: Although this is a vegetarian bake, I know that I'll likely get asked if regular meatballs can be used in this recipe. My guess is that any already-cooked frozen meatball works in this gnocchi bake.
- Other protein options: This method works with any kind of vegetarian protein. Try using veggie sausage, chickpeas, or even tofu. Start checking the bake at 30 minutes if using a protein other than meatballs.
- Portions: This recipe makes 3-4 servings. It can be doubled for larger portions, just use twice as much of every ingredient and a deeper or wider baking dish.
- Cook time: I tested this recipe covered and uncovered and found that uncovered results in better (firmer, almost roasted) broccoli. If you cover the baking dish with foil, it will cook more quickly, so this is an option if you're in a rush.
- Vegan option: Make this recipe vegan by using vegan mozzarella, like this kind by Miyoko's.
- Leftover baked gnocchi is best within 3-4 days. Keep covered and refrigerated.
- Reheat leftovers in individual servings in the microwave. To reheat the entire dish, cover with foil and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until heated through.
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Vegetarian Baked Gnocchi with Meatballs
- 16 ounces gnocchi see note #1
- 12 ounces frozen vegetarian meatballs I use Gardein or Impossible
- 24 ounces pasta sauce
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 16 ounces frozen broccoli florets
- salt & pepper to taste
- other optional toppings: red pepper flakes, fresh basil, Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- To a 9x9 or similarly sized pan, add the gnocchi, frozen meatballs, and pasta sauce. Stir so that the gnocchi is fully coated in sauce.
- Top with half of the torn mozzarella. Top that with the frozen broccoli. Season the broccoli with salt & pepper, to taste. Add the remaining mozzarella on top.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350F for 35-40 minutes. The baked gnocchi is ready when the meatballs are fully cooked and the cheese is melted.
- For golden and bubbly cheese, turn the broiler on high for just 30 seconds to a minute. Keep an eye on the cheese to avoid burning it. Enjoy!
- Gnocchi: I recommend using dry gnocchi. Frozen gnocchi will result in softer gnocchi because of the long bake time.
- Nutrition facts are an estimation and will vary based on the ingredients used. If monitoring salt intake, use half of the mozzarella and use a lower-sodium protein option.
- Leftovers are best within 3-4 days. Keep covered and refrigerated.