Creamy Spinach Gnocchi is a comfort food dish made in just 20 minutes in one pan! This quick and easy recipe uses store-bought, shelf-stable potato gnocchi. The creamy sauce is made with garlic, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. This flavor-packed dinner is sure to become a family favorite meatless main course or a comforting side dish to enhance your favorite protein or meat dinners!
20-Minute, One-Pan Dinner
This 20-minute family-friendly recipe uses only 3 basic ingredients: shelf-stable potato gnocchi, spinach, and cream. What makes this recipe special and extra flavorful is the use of spices: smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes, and, of course, salt and pepper. Everything is cooked in one pan, including the gnocchi! Easy enough to make on a busy weeknight. Fancy enough to serve when entertaining company. It's a great dish to add to your monthly dinner rotation! ! Serve it as a meatless dinner, or add protein to turn this into a complete meal. Other 30-minute, one-pan gnocchi recipes that I recommend are creamy chicken gnocchi and reader-favorite creamy sausage gnocchi with spinach.
What makes this recipe work
- Quick and easy recipe. Spinach gnocchi is a simple 20-minute dinner that uses minimal ingredients. Everything is cooked in one pan, including the gnocchi! In the end, there is only one pan to clean! It's a must-have to have in your rotation for busy weeknights.
- Satisfying meatless dinner. The richness of the creamy sauce, the pillowy soft gnocchi, and the wilted spinach together with spices create a flavor-packed dinner where you will not miss any meat.
- Add more veggies. Spinach gnocchi is an incredibly versatile recipe. You can use spinach, kale, or arugula, or a combination of these greens. Add any other veggies you like: mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, roasted butternut squash, etc.
What type of gnocchi to use?
- Shelf-stable gnocchi. I used potato gnocchi, a Delallo brand, made with 85% potatoes. They are not gluten-free, but this brand also offers a gluten-free option of potato gnocchi.
- Refrigerated gnocchi - you can find these in the refrigerated pasta section of some grocery stores!
- Cauliflower gnocchi sold by Trader Joe's can also be used in this recipe without making any changes.
Do you need to pre-cook the gnocchi?
You don't need to pre-cook the gnocchi for this recipe. Just add the uncooked gnocchi directly to the sauce (heavy cream + chicken broth). The gnocchi will cook in the same pan with the sauce and the sausage. This saves you one more pan to clean and minimizes the cleanup. Also, as you cook the gnocchi in the sauce, the starch from the gnocchi is released which helps to thicken the sauce. I use heavy cream in this recipe, but half-and-half can be used instead.
Spinach gnocchi - main ingredients
- Gnocchi. I used store-bought potato gnocchi, Delallo brand, made with 85% potatoes.
- Greens. I used fresh spinach. You can also use frozen spinach - thawed and drained of any liquid. Or, use kale or arugula instead.
- Heavy cream adds creaminess and richness to spinach gnocchi. You can lighten it up by using half-and-half instead.
- Chicken broth is combined together with heavy cream to cook the gnocchi. You can also use vegetable or beef broth (or stock). Or, even water if you don't have chicken stock available.
- Italian seasoning adds a ton of flavor to creamy spinach gnocchi.
- 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 any dish.
- 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 spinach gnocchi
This easy recipe is done in 4 simple steps.
1) Cook spinach. Start by cooking spinach seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil in a large high-sided skillet until wilted. Remove spinach to the plate.
2) Make the creamy sauce and cook the gnocchi. Next, to the same, now empty, skillet, add uncooked potato gnocchi, chicken broth, heavy cream, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil on medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, while the sauce boils.
4) Assembly. Finally, assemble the dish by adding cooked spinach back to the skillet with cooked gnocchi and creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, as well as red pepper flakes and more smoked paprika.
- 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.
- The sauce will thicken as this dish cools. In this case, add a splash of extra heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or chicken broth to thin it out before serving.
- Use a high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet such as a cast-iron skillet or a good-quality stainless steel pan. This will help avoid the burn spots and will ensure even cooking without food getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Make this recipe gluten-free by using gnocchi clearly labeled as "gluten-free".
Variations, substitutions, and add-ins
- Pasta. 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. If using this kind of pasta, you might have to cook it as you would normally cook pasta - in a large pot of boiling water - and only then add it to this recipe.
- Use other greens. Swiss chard, arugula, or kale will work great in this recipe besides spinach.
- Add any other veggies you like: mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, roasted butternut squash, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, etc.
- Cream. You can use either heavy cream for a rich creamy sauce or half-and-half for a lighter version.
- Dairy-free option. Try using unsweetened coconut milk. Or use almond milk, cashew milk, or oat milk and thicken it up with a roux of olive oil and flour (just like you would make a bechamel sauce).
- Add sausage or chicken. I recommend spicy Italian sausage, chicken sausage, or skinless boneless chicken thighs. You can also use plant-based sausage such as Beyond sausage brand.
- 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 the leftover creamy spinach gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- I do not recommend freezing this dish. Creamy sauces are usually not freezer-friendly and they lose their texture when frozen and thawed.
- Reheat on the stovetop. I recommend reheating the leftovers on the stovetop for the best results. After being refrigerated, the creamy spinach gnocchi 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 heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or broth to thin out the sauce when reheating.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. Reheat the refrigerated leftovers in a deep pasta bowl in a microwave oven for about 30 seconds. Taste and reheat for 30 extra seconds or more, if needed. You might have to add a small amount of milk or cream if the sauce is too thick, gradually add it, and stir it in.
What to serve with it
Because spinach gnocchi has a rich, luscious sauce, I recommend serving it with a light and fresh salad. Here are some of my favorites:
- Apple Spinach Salad with homemade Maple-Lime Mustard Dressing
- Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese
- Arugula Salad with Lemon Zest, Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Balsamic Dressing
- Arugula Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Pecans
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Blueberries, Feta, and Pecans
- Spinach Salad with Mango, Avocado, Blueberries, Strawberries, Cashew Nuts, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Other gnocchi recipes you might like
- Creamy Sausage Gnocchi
- Creamy Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sausage
- Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi with Spinach and Sausage
- Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
Creamy Spinach Gnocchi (20 Minute, One-Pan Meal)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet. Cook spinach (seasoned with salt and pepper) for about 5 minutes until wilted. Remove spinach to a plate.
Make the creamy sauce and cook gnocchi
- To the same, now empty, skillet, add uncooked potato gnocchi, chicken broth, heavy cream, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat and stir everything well. Cover with lid, and allow the gnocchi to cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, while the sauce boils.
- Add back cooked spinach and stir to combine on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Cook longer if you would like a thicker sauce.
- Season with more salt, freshly ground coarse black pepper, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika, if you like.
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.