The Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi is a great rendition of it's traditional counterpart------entirely rich, hearty, and vegetable-packed, this dinner is perfect for Meatless Monday or any night of the week for that matter! Made with freshly chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, herbs + spices, quinoa, garlic, cooking wine, and a few pinches of brown sugar, this recipe will be considered an easy stove-top dinner that's a winner! Gluten-free option.
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Seriously, I'm so excited to share this dish with you all because it's SO GOOD! If you've been an avid reader of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you're aware that while I love meat-based dishes, especially chicken or seafood, I'm always the most happy to indulge in meatless and/or vegan dishes because I enjoy them the most! This Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi is one of those dishes.
It's such an easy addition to your week or laidback weekend and one that the entire family would love, which is the basic requirement for most (if not all) of my recipes. I know how hard it is to find a dish that the entire family will love, however, that's why I choose to create "personalized" options and substitutions so that everyone CAN enjoy! Much like this Vegan Bolognese and Skillet Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Gnocchi which I highly recommend trying!
And if you're a lover of gnocchi, then you'll love this oven-baked Garlic Chicken Broccoli Gnocchi Recipe!
This meatless vegan 'meat' sauce recipe has a rich and complex flavor that you might even call meaty, which is why I love using quinoa. That's thanks to plenty of umami from tomato paste, freshly chopped vegetables, dried herbs, and quinoa. I promise that even the biggest beef fan won't miss the meat in this vegan meat sauce. Plus, you can always substitute with your favorite meat alternative like mushrooms, plant-based meat, etc.
If you've seen most recent recipes with gnocchi, then you're probably aware that I've recently become a fan of gnocchi and so I'm currently testing great ways to enjoy it. While I've heard that making gnocchi from scratch tastes that much better, I've really enjoyed the store-bought version from Delallo, which has been easy to cook and really good. But I will try making them from scratch soon! I promise!
Gnocchi are basically Italian dumplings made with flour, eggs, and potatoes---unless they are egg-free like this one that I purchased from Delallo foods. When it comes to making your own gnocchi, the process is done is fairly a few steps. It starts with boiling and mashing the potatoes, combining the ingredients together and kneading them into a ball, shaping the dough, cutting them into pieces, and boiling and draining the gnocchi. For a great recipe, check out AllRecipes.com.
To make this The Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi, you'll start by boiling the gnocchi until they're tender and float to the top of the water, drain, and seta side. Then, you'll need a deep skillet or dutch oven on the stove to sauté the garlic and onions, until fragrant. Once that's done, you'll toss in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, herbs + seasonings, brown sugar, and other ingredients, stirring and letting them simmer together. Finally, you add in the cooked quinoa, stir and simmer a few minutes more until everything comes together! Serve atop gnocchi and enjoy!
Here are the ingredients you need for this The Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi:
OK, so I’ve heard so many people talk about not really being a huge fan of quinoa because it has no taste or the taste is so bland.
Honestly, the KEY is to build flavor for every component of your dish so that together, the flavor is EXPLODING, including with your quinoa.
MY SECRET? Veggie stock or chicken stock (for non-vegan/vegetarian options) or milk. Yup. Instead of using water, I just substitute with some sort of stock or milk, adding salt or whatever based on necessity. Trust me, your quinoa will NEVER BE THE SAME after this delicious trick.
You can use any kind of quinoa to make your Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi. It can be cooked beforehand (and stored in the refrigerator in a tightly-sealed container) or boiled at the same time as the recipe states. White (original) quinoa will give you a whiter-colored look, though multi-color or red grains will give you a stronger nuttier flavor and will blend best with this meat sauce.
At first glance, both might look the same, however, there's a difference. In general, meat sauce is more robust and complex in flavor that creates a richness and includes more ingredients. While spaghetti sauce or marinara, is simpler and thinner in texture and doesn't include meat.
OK, so when it comes to making your vegan meat sauce (or any meat sauce) taste better, it only takes a few simple tweaks to achieve this! Here are my favorite ways to elevate my meat sauce or sauces in general:
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with The Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi. Everything from my fave baking sheet, dutch ovens, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!
If you're thinking about making your own Italian seasoning blend, then look no further! All you need is handful of herbs + spices, mix them together, and wallah! You'll need 2 teaspoons of each simple ingredient:
You can keep leftover seasoning in a small tightly sealed jar and at room temperature for up to 6 months like your other herbs + spices.
The herb-roasted tomatoes offer a delicious umami-packed flavor foundation for this velvety vegan meat sauce.
When it comes to most pasta dishes (including this Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi dish), I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade Garlic Bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other options such as:
Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply microwave for a minute or two or add to a skillet over medium-high heat and stir until heated through.
Absolutely! To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free gnocchi or pasta. Also, if using breadcrumbs, ensure that they are GF-friendly!
My Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi is a smash hit, so if you like this one, you will love these recipes!
If you make this Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!
The Best Vegan Meat Sauce + Gnocchi.