Is the beloved Italian dish, gnocchi, really gluten-free? Most traditional versions of gnocchi aren't gluten-free because they contain wheat flour. But don't lose hope! You can still enjoy gnocchi even if you can't have gluten. Let's dive into the info!
🥔What is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a type of Italian dumpling made from potatoes and flour. The dough is typically rolled out, cut into small pieces, and then boiled until they float to the surface.
Gnocchi can be served with so many different sauces and toppings, which makes it a fun dish to try and good for the whole family.
- 🥔What is Gnocchi?
- 🙋♀️Is Gnocchi Gluten-Free?
- 📝Traditional Gnocchi Ingredients
- 🛒Gluten-Free Gnocchi Brands
- 🏅Tips for Making Gluten-Free Gnocchi at Home
- 💃Gluten-free Alternatives to Traditional Ingredients
- 🔄Variations for Different Flavours of Gluten-Free Gnocchi
- 🧑🍳How to cook gnocchi
- 🥘Do you have to pre-boil the gnocchi before pan-frying?
- 🙋♀️Is gnocchi good for you?
- 🍑Bottom Line
- 🙋♀️More Resources
- 💬 Comments
🙋♀️Is Gnocchi Gluten-Free?
The short answer is no, gnocchi is not gluten-free. Not typically, anyways.
But there are exceptions.
Here's the thing: traditional gnocchi recipes contain wheat flour, which of course, isn't gluten-free.
But there's many gluten-free versions of gnocchi available on the market that use naturally gluten-free flours like rice flour, corn flour, or even potato starch.
📝Traditional Gnocchi Ingredients
- Potato - Potatoes are the star ingredient in gnocchi. They add a starchy, earthy flavor and a creamy texture that makes gnocchi so comforting. When making gnocchi, it's important to use starchy potatoes like russet potatoes, Idaho potatoes or Yukon golds, as they will create a lighter, fluffier gnocchi. Boil them until they're tender, then mash them until they're smooth.
- Flour (all-purpose) - Flour is what binds the mashed potatoes together and gives gnocchi its structure. Usually all-purpose flour is used, because it has the right amount of stretchy gluten to hold the gnocchi together without making it too tough. (Gluten-free flour options for gnocchi are below.)
- Egg (optional) - Eggs are an optional ingredient in gnocchi, but they do help to give the gnocchi a richer flavor and a firmer texture. You'll only need to use one egg for a recipe that serves four people. Be sure to whisk the egg before adding it to the dough, so that it's evenly distributed. And if you're making a vegan version of gnocchi, you can omit the egg altogether and use a little extra flour to help bind the dough together.
- Salt - salt is an important ingredient in a gnocchi recipe! Adding salt to the water when boiling the potatoes helps to enhance their natural flavour, while adding salt to the dough itself helps to bring out the flavours of the other ingredients. Here's the catch: don't over-salt the dough, as this can make the gnocchi too salty and overpower the other flavours. A good rule of thumb is to start with a small amount of salt and adjust as needed. You can always add more salt later, but you can't take it out once it's been added.
🛒Gluten-Free Gnocchi Brands
Want a quick and easy way to enjoy gnocchi without having to make it yourself?
Me TOO. Homemade gnocchi is a treat but we don't always have the time for that.
Luckily for us, there's some delicious options for gluten-free gnocchi brands you can try.
Here's a few brands to check out:
- DeLallo Gluten-Free Potato and Rice Gnocchi - Made with potato and rice flour, this gnocchi is a great gluten-free option that still has a classic texture and flavour.
- Cucina Antica Gluten-Free Potato Gnocchi - This gnocchi is made with potato starch and rice flour, and is a great option for those who are looking for a simple, gluten-free option.
- Schar Gluten-Free Gnocchi - Schar is a well-known brand in the gluten-free community, and their gnocchi is no exception. Made with potato starch, corn starch, and rice flour, this gnocchi has a great texture and flavour.
Check out Amazon or your local grocery store to give these brands a try.
🏅Tips for Making Gluten-Free Gnocchi at Home
If you're interested in making your own gluten-free gnocchi at home, there's a few things to keep in mind to help make sure it's a success😄
Here's some tips to get you started:
Use a Gluten-Free Flour Blend - There's a ton of great gluten-free flour blends out there, BUT not all of them produce the same result.
Look for a blend that is specifically designed for baking, because it will have a more similar texture to traditional flour.
You'll need to experiment with the ratio of flour to potato to get the right consistency, but there's so many recipes available online to help you get started.
In addition to rice flour and potato starch, you could try using almond flour, coconut flour, or chickpea flour.
Each of these options will give your gnocchi a slightly different flavour and texture, so feel free to experiment and find your favourite.
Experiment with the Ratio of Flour to Potato - Getting the right consistency for your gnocchi can be tricky, so don't be afraid to experiment with the ratio of flour to potato until you find the right balance.
Don't Overwork the Dough - When making gnocchi, it's important not to overwork the dough. This can lead to tough, chewy gnocchi instead of light and fluffy ones.
Only knead the dough until it comes together, and then let it rest before shaping and cutting with a sharp knife. Using a special gnocchi board can help you get those little potato dumplings the best shape possible. You can also use the tines of a fork to roll the gnocchi dough out.
Boil the Gnocchi in Salted Water - To get the best texture and flavour for your gnocchi, be sure to boil it in salted water. This will help to enhance the flavour of the gnocchi.
Storage - for any gnocchi you're not cooking right away, be sure to store the gnocchi in an airtight container until you're ready to use it. It can dry out easily so cook it up within a day or 2 of making it.
💃Gluten-free Alternatives to Traditional Ingredients
- Potato flour or potato starch, also known as "farina" instead of the wheat flour
- Mashed sweet potato instead of the potatoes (both gluten-free but changes the taste and texture of the gnocchi)
- Rice flour, cornmeal, chickpea flour, or a blend of these can be used instead of all-purpose flour.
- And for a vegan version of gluten-free gnocchi: Aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas) can replace eggs in the recipe.
🔄Variations for Different Flavours of Gluten-Free Gnocchi
So now you know gnocchi can be gluten-free, here's some ways to add interesting and different tastes to the gnocchi.
You can use some of these options whether you're making gluten-free gnocchi at home or you're cooking a store-bought gluten-free version:
- 🍃Add herbs: You can add chopped herbs like basil, parsley, or thyme to the gnocchi dough to give it a fresh, aromatic flavour. Add them after cooking into the sauce too!
- 🍠Use different types of potatoes: While russet or Yukon gold potatoes are the most commonly used potatoes for gluten-free gnocchi, you can also try using sweet potatoes or even purple potatoes. You'll get a fun colour and slightly different taste.
- 🎃Incorporate vegetables: Pureed vegetables like spinach, roasted pumpkin, or beets can be added to the dough when you're making gluten-free gnocchi. You'll boost the nutrition and get a fun colour.
- 🧀Say Cheese! You can't really go wrong with some grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or some cheddar cheese. Add some cheese to the dough or on top after the gnocchi is cooked.
- 🍅Try different sauces: While gnocchi is often served with tomato sauce, you can also try it with a creamy Alfredo sauce, pesto, or brown butter and sage sauce.
- 😄Add a little crunch! Change up the typical pillowy, soft gnocchi by rolling the gnocchi in gluten-free breadcrumbs before cooking them to add a crispy, crunchy texture to the outside.
- 💃Experiment with shapes: While the traditional shape of gnocchi is small and pillowy, you can also try making larger, flatter shapes or even forming them into fun shapes like shells or twists. Let your kids decide! Maybe you'll end up with Pokemon-shaped gluten-free gnocchi😎
🧑🍳How to cook gnocchi
Cooking gnocchi is easy and quick. Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the gnocchi and let it cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface. Once the gnocchi float, you know they're done!
You can also tell they gnocchi is done cooking when they're tender but still firm to the touch.
To get them out of the water, use a slotted spoon or a strainer, remove the gnocchi from the water, and transfer them to a serving bowl.
For more of a classic Italian-style dish, heat a pan with some butter or olive oil, add chopped garlic and sauté for a minute. Then, add the cooked gnocchi to the pan, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to coat the gnocchi evenly. Serve hot and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
You can also bake the gnocchi. You just have to boil them first. After boiling the gnocchi, transfer them to a baking dish, pour some marinara sauce over the top and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot and dig in😋
Finally, you can also pan-fry the gnocchi. This is probably my favourite way to cook gnocchi.
Heat a pan with some olive oil and add the cooked gnocchi. Sauté for a few minutes until they are lightly golden brown on the outside. Then, add some chopped cherry tomatoes, spinach, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook for another minute or two until the spinach is wilted, and the tomatoes are softened. Serve hot and sprinkle with some crumbled feta cheese.
🥘Do you have to pre-boil the gnocchi before pan-frying?
You don't have to pre-boil gnocchi before pan-frying, but it can make the cooking process quicker and it'll make sure the gnocchi are cooked through.
Simply add the gnocchi to a pot of salted, boiling water for a few minutes until they float to the surface before you pan fry them.
However, if you're short on time or prefer a crispier texture, you can skip the pre-boiling step and pan-fry the gnocchi directly from the package. Just heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the gnocchi, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Keep in mind that this method may result in slightly denser gnocchi compared to the pre-boiling method. Boiling adds some water into that littl' dumplin' and fluffs things up!
🙋♀️Is gnocchi good for you?
Gnocchi can definitely be good for you and deliver some nutrition! With the main ingredient of potatoes, gnocchi provides a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Like a lot of times, it's what we add to the dish that may give us more fat, calories or sodium so keep the sauces tomato-based vs. cream based.
The best way to up the nutritional value of gnocchi is to inject some vitamins and minerals from additional ingredients. Consider using sweet potatoes or adding vegetables like spinach or kale to the dough. You can also use spinach or chopped kale into a tomato sauce for the gnocchi too.
So ok, while traditional gnocchi is not gluten-free, there's gluten-free gnocchi options that you can find pretty easily online or in a store near you!
And if you're up for it, you can make gluten-free gnocchi at home using gluten-free flours or starches.
Gnocchi cook up quickly and make a great gluten-free dinner served with your favourite sauce.
Why not give gnocchi a try today and see how it can be an easy and delicious way to change up gluten-free dinners in your house🏡