Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce is a quick and easy weeknight meal that comes together in just 30 minutes, and you need only one pan! It's a dairy-free recipe that has no cream and no cheese, but is packed with flavor! Impress your family and friends by cooking this well-balanced meal. It might become a new family favorite!
Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
If you're tired of the same old recipes with tomato sauce, you won't be disappointed by this simple, 30-minute, one-pan weeknight dinner! Here, the traditional tomato sauce is combined together with gnocchi, Italian sausage, spinach, and mushrooms. It's a restaurant-worthy dish that is perfect for weekdays or for that special occasion when you have company over. The recipe uses basic ingredients, such as store-bought tomato sauce and shelf-stable gnocchi to minimize cooking times and the cleanup!
Why you'll love tomato gnocchi
- Use store-bought tomato sauce. This includes a wide variety of options, including tomato sauce in glass jars (my favorite) and canned tomatoes. I prefer tomato sauce with tomato chunks in them. Your options include but are not limited to marinara sauce, tomato basil sauce, canned diced tomatoes, or canned crushed tomatoes.
- There is no cream and no cheese - they are not needed as there are too many other flavors and textures at play in this recipe, including Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Soft, pillowy gnocchi release starch and thicken spicy tomato sauce. This recipe tastes like comfort food without any cream or cheese!
- The one-pan gnocchi is cooked in the same skillet as the rest of the ingredients so you only need one cooking pan. The cleanup is minimal, as a result.
What kind of gnocchi to use
- Shelf-stable gnocchi (dry, packaged) is what I used with the tomato sauce in this recipe. I used store-bought potato gnocchi, Delallo brand, made with 85% potatoes.
- Refrigerated gnocchi - you can find those, you guessed it, in the refrigerated pasta section of some grocery stores! They will work great here, as well.
- Cauliflower gnocchi sold by Trader Joe's can also be used in this recipe without making any changes.
- Can you use homemade gnocchi? If using homemade gnocchi, be very careful cooking them, as they might fall apart or turn into mush in a sauce-based recipe like this one.
- Gnocchi. I used store-bought potato gnocchi, Delallo brand, made with 85% potatoes.
- Sausage. Crumbled spicy Italian sausage works the best. You can also use Italian sausage links (casings removed, sausage crumbled). Or, use mild or sweet Italian sausage - and add some spice to it!
- Tomato sauce. Use your favorite tomato sauce - it can be a store-bought tomato pasta sauce or marinara sauce. Any flavor will work: traditional, marinara, tomato basil, arrabbiata, or garlic tomato sauce.
- Spinach. I use fresh spinach and wilted it right in the sauce. You can also use frozen spinach - thawed and drained of any liquid. Or, use kale instead.
- Mushrooms. I used fresh crimini mushrooms. You can also use portobello mushrooms or shiitake.
- Olive oil is used for sauteeing mushrooms.
- Chicken broth is added to cook the gnocchi. You can also use vegetable or beef broth (or stock). Or, simply use water.
- Italian seasoning adds a ton of flavor to gnocchi with tomato sauce.
- Smoked paprika is another spice that adds both color and lots of flavor to this dish.
- Garlic. I used fresh minced garlic. It adds aroma and pungency to tomato gnocchi.
- Salt and pepper. Use those to taste. I recommend using freshly ground or coarse black pepper.
- Red pepper flakes will add heat. Use these sparingly, to taste, so that they don't overwhelm the dish.
How to make one-pan gnocchi with tomato sauce
This easy recipe is done in 5 simple steps.
1) Cook mushrooms. Start by cooking the sliced mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil in a large high-sided skillet. Remove them to the plate.
2) Cook sausage. Add crumbled sausage to the same skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sausage is cooked. Drain excess fat.
3) Cook the gnocchi. Next, to the same skillet with sausage, add the gnocchi, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Cook on medium heat, frequently stirring, for about 5 minutes.
4) Add fresh spinach, and cook on medium heat until the spinach wilts to your liking.
5) Assembly. Finally, assemble the dish by seasoning gnocchi with tomato sauce with salt and pepper, if desired. Top with the cooked mushrooms. Your dinner is ready!
What can you use instead of gnocchi?
If you can't find gnocchi, you can use short-cut pasta instead. I recommend using orzo, bow-tie (farfalle), fusilli, orecchiette, rotini, or rigatoni. The short-cut pasta works great for one-pan meals.
Variations and substitutions
- Use other greens. Swiss chard, arugula, or kale will work great besides spinach.
- Add any other veggies you like: roasted bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, etc.
- Add sausage or chicken. I recommend using spicy Italian sausage, chicken sausage, or skinless boneless chicken thighs. You can also use plant-based sausage such as Beyond sausage brand.
- Use shelf-stable packaged gnocchi for best results. Your next best choice is refrigerated gnocchi or cauliflower gnocchi. Homemade gnocchi can be fragile and fall apart in the sauce or turn into mush, so be careful if using homemade stuff.
- You don't need to pre-cook the gnocchi. Just add the uncooked gnocchi directly to the tomato sauce and cook it in the same pan. This saves you one more pan to clean and minimizes the cleanup.
- Can you make it gluten-free? Yes! There is gluten-free gnocchi available online or in some grocery stores. Just make sure to check the label.
- Toppings. When serving, you can add grated Parmesan cheese (or Asiago, Romano, or Gruyere), fresh herbs, chopped green onions, or chopped chives.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Store tomato gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer. Because there is no cream and no cheese in the sauce, this recipe is freezer-friendly. Freeze this dish in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
- Reheat on the stovetop. I recommend reheating this dish on the stovetop for the best results. After being refrigerated, the gnocchi and tomato sauce will thicken. Reheat it slowly, over low-medium heat in a large, high-sided skillet on the stovetop. When using this method, add a small amount of broth or water to thin out the sauce.
What to serve with it
A slice of bread and a fresh salad is all you need to serve with the gnocchi and tomato sauce.
- Bread. Serve this easy recipe with something equally simple, such as a slice of store-bought, warm Italian bread, garlic bread, or olive bread loaf. Breadsticks are great, too!
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Other gnocchi recipes you might like
- Creamy Spinach Gnocchi (One-Pan, 20-Minute Meal)
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- Creamy Sausage Gnocchi
- Creamy Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sausage
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Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce (30-Minute, One-Pan Meal)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz mushrooms crimini, sliced
- 15 oz Italian sausage crumbled
- 16 oz gnocchi uncooked
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning or Herbs from Provence
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 13 oz tomato sauce such as tomato pasta sauce or marinara (I like to use sauce with chunks of tomatoes in it)
- ½ cup chicken broth or water
- 6 oz spinach fresh
- salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- fresh thyme for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a large, high-sided skillet.
- Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 3 or 5 minutes until they are cooked through but not overcooked. Season them lightly with salt and pepper. Remove mushrooms from the skillet.
- To the same, now empty, skillet, add crumbled sausage and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sausage is cooked. Drain excess fat.
- To the same skillet with sausage, add the uncooked gnocchi, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth (or water). Bring to a boil on medium heat and stir everything well. Cook on medium heat, frequently stirring, for about 5 minutes.
- Add fresh spinach and cook for about 5 more minutes until spinach wilts and gnocchi are completely cooked through.
- Mix everything well. Remove from heat.
- Season with salt, freshly ground coarse black pepper, and red pepper flakes, if needed. Top with cooked sliced mushrooms. Garnish with fresh thyme.
- Tomato sauce. It can be a store-bought tomato pasta sauce or marinara sauce. I prefer tomato sauces sold in glass jars. Any flavor will work: traditional, tomato basil, arrabbiata, or garlic tomato sauce. I recommend using a tomato sauce with tomato chunks in it. You can also use canned diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes.
- Sausage. I used spicy Italian crumbled sausage. You can use any other kind of crumbled sausage (or sausage in casings - but remove the casings).
- Italian seasoning of Herbs from Provence. The mix that I used contained dried rosemary, thyme, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, basil, and sage.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.