Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post CookingLight Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network Healthline Shape

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Veggie Gnocchi

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.

Veggie gnocchi with spinach, white beans, and tomato is the healthy gnocchi recipe you have been waiting for! It’s the perfect comfort food to warm you up and keep you satisfied. A flavorful and colorful vegetarian main dish that is great for lunch or an easy dinner.

Closeup of finished healthy gnocchi recipe in a pan.

This healthy gnocchi recipe is one of our family’s favorite meals. It’s so flavorful and delicious, and I have been making it for years. The ingredient combination is crave-worthy with whole wheat gnocchi, spinach, diced tomatoes, white beans, crushed red pepper, fresh basil, lots of garlic, and gooey cheese. It’s a family favorite healthy vegetarian Italian recipe!

You can serve this healthy gnocchi recipe for any occasion. It’s a delicious meal for lunch or dinner, or as a packed dish to take to school or work. It’s also great when you have friends over and want to serve them a hearty meal that’s filling and beautiful. You’ll love taking the whole skillet to the table or to your next potluck.

🙋🏽‍♀️ What Is Gnocchi?

Gnocchi is an Italian dish with soft potato dumplings that are made with flour and potatoes and then added to a tomato sauce, creamy sauce, or combined with vegetables. Pillowy gnocchi is cooked in boiling water similarly to pasta and is delicious with many types of vegetables, making it a wonderful vegetarian entree. Whole wheat gnocchi, used in this recipe, is made with whole wheat flour instead of white flour, for a healthier option in this true comfort food.

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Healthy Veggie Gnocchi Recipe

  • Easy Weeknight Meal: This fast meal uses ready-made gnocchi, canned tomatoes and beans, and frozen spinach which means you can keep these ingredients on hand or an easy meal on busy weeknights. There is minimal chopping and you can also substitute the vegetables or cheese for whatever you have in your refrigerator.
  • Kid-Friendly: The texture of the gnocchi and gooey cheese make this easy vegetarian gnocchi recipe a hit with kids. The frozen spinach is finely chopped, making this recipe ideal for younger children, toddlers, or picky eaters.
  • Healthy & Vegetarian: Gnocchi with white beans is vegetarian and has 15 grams of protein per serving making it a good source of protein without meat. You can also make this recipe vegan so it’s a great recipe for any group! It also happens to be low calorie and low fat, which makes it a great healthy option!
  • Creamy Without Cream: The gnocchi and white beans have a smooth and creamy texture for a rich-tasting meal made without cream. Gnocchi are pillowy soft and the other vegetables soften as they simmer for a saucy compliment to this easy gnocchi recipe.

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

This vegetarian gnocchi recipe uses simple ingredients that deliver flavor and protein to this colorful meal. For the full recipe and nutrition facts, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients for healthy gnocchi recipe on a white background.
  • Gnocchi: Whole wheat gnocchi offers fiber and whole grains to this meal. It tastes just as good as traditional gnocchi but is healthier for you! Store-bought gnocchi is stocked in the pasta aisle of the grocery store. One of my favorites is the Trader Joe’s brand, but most stores will have a whole wheat option.
  • Olive Oil: You’ll use olive oil cooking spray for pan-frying the gnocchi – which is the key to getting a great texture and outer crust. You’ll also use regular olive oil (or any oil of your choice) for cooking the onions and garlic.
  • Spinach: Frozen spinach adds flavor, nutrients, and a bold color, and cuts down on preparation time for this veggie gnocchi bake, but you can use fresh spinach as well.
  • White Beans: Cannellini, navy, or great northern beans are all excellent choices for this healthy meal.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes are what make this recipe saucy. Regular or petite-diced tomatoes work well.
  • Red Onions & Garlic: Red onion gives a little zestier onion flavor than white onion. Fresh minced garlic gives the most flavor.
  • Cheese: A combination of shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese makes the perfect gooey cheesy topping for this veggie gnocchi skillet.
  • Crushed Red Pepper: Red pepper flakes add heat and extra flavor. Increase or decrease to personalize this recipe.
  • Fresh Basil, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Black Pepper: All of these spices add lots of flavor without calories or fat. Dried Italian seasoning especially offers a large profile of flavors in one ingredient. Look for a salt-free variety. Use salt and pepper generously to taste, and reserve some fresh basil for topping this healthy gnocchi dish before serving.

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Gnocchi: Any kind of gnocchi will work in this recipe. Gnocchi made with cauliflower can be substituted for whole wheat gnocchi and is usually allergen-friendly. You can also classic potato gnocchi or sweet potato gnocchi, or feel free to make your own gnocchi and use homemade gnocchi.
  • Oil: You can use olive oil, avocado oil, or vegan butter to fry the gnocchi instead of the olive oil spray.
  • Tomatoes: If you don’t have canned diced tomatoes, you can also use canned crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce.
  • Greens: In place of the frozen spinach, use fresh chopped spinach, or other fresh or frozen leafy greens of your choice such as chard or kale for this healthy gnocchi recipe.
  • Fresh Vegetables: The gnocchi flavor blends well with many nutritious veggies. Substitute fresh cherry tomatoes for the canned tomatoes or use diced zucchini, bell peppers, your favorite root vegetables, or yellow squash along with the spinach.

🔪 How to Make Healthy Veggie Gnocchi

Here’s how to make this vegetarian gnocchi:

Boil Gnocchi And Cook The Onions: Cook gnocchi in boiling water in a large saucepan according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet, and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

onions and garlic sauteeing in a pan.

Pan Fry The Gnocchi: Using olive oil cooking spray, pan fry the cooked gnocchi in a separate skillet until lightly browned.

gnocchi sauteeing in a pan.

Wilt The Spinach: Add the spinach to onion and garlic, and cook until the spinach defrosts and starts to wilt.

spinach added to onions in a pan.

Stir In Vegetables And Seasonings: Add in the tomatoes, white beans, Italian seasoning, basil, crushed red pepper, and salt to taste. Give it a good stir, and bring to a simmer.

tomatoes and white beans added to spinach and onions in a pan.

Add Gnocchi: Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

shredded cheese added to gnocchi in a pan.

Simmer Until Cheese Is Melted: Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the vegetables are bubbling, about 3-5 minutes. Serve this spinach white bean gnocchi skillet warm!

finished veggie gnocchi in a skillet.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Avoid Overcooking: Don’t overboil the gnocchi, or it will end up with more of a slimy or mushy texture. Cook as instructed on the package and then immediately drain it. 
  • Pan Fry The Gnocchi: For best results, make sure to pan fry your gnocchi until it’s lightly golden brown – do not skip this step! Pan-frying the gnocchi is what really sets this recipe apart. This step adds flavor and gives this delicious gnocchi recipe the ideal texture.
  • Cook Spinach Just Until Wilted: The spinach will have the best flavor if it is cooked just until it has defrosted and wilted.

📖 Variations

  • Extra Cheesy: Add additional cheese or swap out the cheese for another variety. Swiss, gouda, cheddar, provolone, and asiago would also blend well with the white bean gnocchi flavors. Freshly grated cheese will offer the most flavor.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Gnocchi: Add ¼ – ½ cup of sliced or diced sun-dried tomatoes along with the canned tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes are available whole or sliced in a package or oil-packed in a jar.
  • Fresh Pesto: Try a variety of different pestos with this recipe – just add in 1-2 tablespoons along with the crushed tomatoes! We love this creamy gnocchi with a kale pesto or this pesto without pine nuts.
  • Kid-Friendly Gnocchi: This recipe is already pretty kid friendly, but if you’re making this gnocchi for toddlers or young kids, you can cut the gnocchi pieces in half before serving, so it’s more bite-sized.
  • More Herbs: Sprinkle additional finely sliced fresh herbs on top before serving. Oregano, parsley, or rosemary would add texture, herby flavor, and a pop of color to this easy healthy gnocchi recipe.
  • Extra Vegetables: Try any combination of your favorite veggies for this filling meal! Asparagus, carrots, zucchini or summer squash, red bell pepper, sweet potatoes, chard, kale, and butternut squash would all work well. Basically, just add in any extra veggies you have in the fridge – almost anything will work!
Healthy veggie gnocchi covered with mozzarella cheese served in a large skillet on the counter.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

This vegetarian gnocchi goes well with a variety of side dishes and is also filling when served alone. Our family enjoys eating this meal with salad, bread, or roasted veggies. A salad is a great way to offer additional vegetables and add color to your dinner table. Pair this recipe with a spinach and arugula salad or this tomato avocado cucumber salad.

The smooth gnocchi and melty cheese also pair well with all types of bread from soft and fluffy dinner rolls like these vegan dinner rolls, pita, vegan flatbread, sourdough or buckwheat sourdough bread, or with this vegan garlic bread or plain toast.

If you’re looking for an elevated bread option, you could serve this veg gnocchi recipe alongside mushroom flatbread. Roasted seasonal vegetables are also a delicious complement to this savory meal.

🙌 Dietary Adaptions

  • Gluten-Free: To make gluten-free use a gluten-free gnocchi.
  • Creamy Vegan Gnocchi: To make vegan, use plant-based gnocchi such as cauliflower gnocchi and omit the cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Dairy-Free: To make this healthy low calorie gnocchi recipe dairy-free, omit the cheese.

🫙 Storage Directions

  • Storing: Leftovers keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture of the gnocchi will change when thawed and reheated.
  • Reheating: Reheat this meatless gnocchi recipe in the microwave on medium heat for 30-60 second intervals until it is heated through or reheat it on the stovetop on medium heat until the gnocchi is warm and the cheese is melty.

❓Recipe FAQs

Is gnocchi healthy?

This veggie gnocchi recipe is low-calorie with about 300 calories per serving. There are also 15 grams of protein in each serving, making this a recipe that is not only satisfying but filling. The spinach, white beans, and other vegetables also offer vitamins and minerals including folate, copper, iron, manganese, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin A, magnesium, and selenium.

Is gnocchi healthier than normal pasta?

Gnocchi is made with potatoes and flour and can also be made with cauliflower so it typically contains fewer carbohydrates per serving than pasta made with white flour. This vegetable gnocchi recipe includes white beans, tomatoes, and spinach for a veggie-rich dish that’s also vegetarian and easy to make vegan.

Portion of veggie gnocchi in a bowl with the skillet in the background.

🍝 More Healthy Dinner Recipes!

Love this vegetarian italian recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family-friendly food, and if you have any questions, I’m here to help!

📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

Healthy veggie gnocchi covered with mozzarella cheese served in a large skillet on the counter.
Print Recipe
5 from 27 votes

Healthy Veggie Gnocchi

Veggie gnocchi with spinach, white beans, and tomato is the Healthy Gnocchi Recipe you have been waiting for! It’s the perfect, easy comfort food to warm you up and keep you satisfied.  A flavorful and colorful vegetarian main dish that is great for lunch or dinner.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 187kcal
Author: Anjali Shah


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 sprays olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 16oz package whole wheat gnocchi
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 16oz package frozen spinach
  • 1 15oz canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings added
  • 1 15oz can of white beans cannelini, great northern, or navy beans
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup part skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper more or less to taste
  • 1-2 tsp fresh basil
  • 2-3 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt more to taste


  • Cook the gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, cool, set aside.
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a large skillet, and add the onion – cook for a few minutes
  • Add the garlic, cook until the onion is soft and translucent (4-6 min)
  • Meanwhile, using olive oil cooking spray, pan fry the gnocchi in a separate skillet until lightly browned
  • Add the spinach to the skillet with the onion in it, and cook until the spinach defrosts/starts to wilt
  • Stir in the tomatoes, beans, pepper, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and salt to taste – bring to a simmer
  • Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  • Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3-5 min.


    Storage Directions
    • Storing: Leftovers keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture of the gnocchi will change when thawed and reheated.
    • Reheating: Reheat the dish in the microwave on medium heat for 30-60 second intervals until it is heated through or reheat it on the stovetop on medium heat until the gnocchi is warm and the cheese is melty.
    Recipe Tips
    • Gluten-Free: To make gluten-free use a gluten-free gnocchi.
    • Vegan: To make vegan, use plant-based gnocchi such as cauliflower gnocchi and omit the cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese.
    • Dairy-Free: To make dairy-free, omit the cheese.
    • Substitute a different variety of cheese such as Swiss, gouda, cheddar, provolone, or asiago, if desired.
    • Be careful not to overcook the gnocchi or the spinach.  Cook gnocchi according to the package instructions and then pan fry.  As soon as the spinach is defrosted and wilts, move on to the next step.
    Adapted from EatingWell


    Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

    Posted In…

    Vegetarian Italian Recipes ·

    These vegetarian Italian recipes are sure to be a hit! Make a healthy homemade pizza or a guilt-free pasta and enjoy the fresh flavors of Italy.

    Many people think carbs and cheese when they think Italian, but there is so much more to appreciate: aromatic herbs, fresh ingredients, and bright flavors shine.

    Many of my Italian-inspired recipes are suitable for special diets, such as vegan bolognese or gluten-free lasagna. Be sure to try other reader favorites like this vegetarian pesto pasta, our healthy risotto, and our homemade alfredo sauce without heavy cream!

    48 responses to “Healthy Veggie Gnocchi”

    1. What a delicious recipe for gnocchi! I can’t wait to try it – I know it will be everyone’s favorite!5 stars

      • Hi Cindy! Yes absolutely – I always rinse & drain canned beans. Hope that helps and I hope you enjoy this recipe!

    2. You don’t need to boil the gnocchi since it is being pan fried. That is redundant. May want to update your recipe.

      • Hi Lindsay, thanks for your feedback! So actually, the gnocchi I used from Trader Joe’s specifically had directions to first boil the gnocchi and then pan fry it. It turned out perfectly crisp on the outside and buttery on the inside. It might work differently with different types of gnocchi, and especially if you make the gnocchi from scratch the directions would be different. But for the packaged version I used, the directions I have in the recipe are the right ones! Thanks again!

    3. I made this for the first time and it came out great! It was pretty simply and tasted delicious! My whole family enjoyed it.5 stars

    4. This dish is AMAZING!!! My husband & I love your blog and have been cooking from it quite a bit lately; this has been my favorite recipe so far!5 stars

    5. I actually made this last week! I found it in a magazine and my kids are really into gnocchi lately. I posted a recipe on my FB page that my son came up with last night. My cousin Lisa told me about your blog and recipe. I have been looking around and it all looks very yummy.5 stars

    6. Often Gnocchi is served without vegetables, making it a guilty pleasure. This is a great comfort dish made healthy with the Spinach.5 stars

    7. I LOVE how everything can be bought at Trader Joe’s. I’m going to be posting a post very soon about making homemade pizza with everything from TJ’s 🙂 Onto serious business: this gnocchi dish is absolutely scrumptious and droolworthy ::drool::5 stars

      • oh! haha it’s extra virgin olive oil spray 🙂 You can find it at Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores. I love it – use it in most of my cooking – great substitute for regular extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)!

    8. Wow this looks great and is right on time. I cooked half a pack of gnocchi the other night and was trying to decide how I wanted to prepare the rest. Thanks!5 stars

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating

    Subscribe to newsletter

    Copyright 2023 The Picky Eater®, LLC. All rights reserved.