Pastas like spaghetti and penne have well-earned reputations as simple, crowd-pleasing, weeknight-friendly meals. But if you’re short on time, and you don’t want to wait for a big pot of water to boil, you should turn to the underrated stars of the pasta family: soft, tender potato gnocchi.
Roasted on a sheet pan with sweet onion, meaty slices of bell pepper, tender squash, and sweet-tart cherry tomatoes, and dusted with parmesan, these little potato dumplings make a colorful and flavorful meal!
A Sheet Pan Makes Packages Gnocchi Shine
Here are a couple pieces of good news for people who find cooking gnocchi intimidating: Gnocchi are readily available at the grocery store and this cooking method makes sure they aren’t a goopy mess. The dumplings cook perfectly in the oven without absorbing excess moisture, the way they would if they were cooked like traditional pasta, and you’ll cut way down on both prep time and cleanup.
Choosing Gnocchi for Your Sheet Pan Dinner
There are a wide variety of different kinds of fresh and shelf-stable gnocchi available at grocery stores. In addition to the classic potato dumpling, you’ll find versions flavored with cheese, colorful options made with other vegetables like spinach or sweet potato, and even gluten-free options made with rice or cauliflower.
But, unlike other types of pasta, gnocchi tends to be slightly different from brand to brand (in size and recommended cook time). For this recipe, I’ve opted to use a 14-ounce package, because that seems like the most common measurement, but you can use a little more or a little less without changing the other ingredients in the recipe at all.
The fresh gnocchi in the refrigerated aisle of your grocery store is pretty similar to homemade versions and is likely to be a bit more tender and more flavorful than shelf-stable versions. That said, the kind you find in the pasta aisle is also great. I like it because I can store it in my pantry for weeks and pull it out whenever I need it.
Make Sheet Pan Gnocchi Work for You
I like to cook my gnocchi with a variety of different vegetables, depending on the season, but my base recipe uses readily available bell peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini and is great all year round. This recipe serves four as a light meal and is great paired with a quick and easy salad or a side of green beans. But sometimes, if I want to skip the sides, I just load the sheet pan with even more vegetables and cheese (I’ve listed some of my favorite additions below). However you make it, you’ll have a quick, healthy, flavorful meal that will appeal to everyone at the table.
Prepping the Zucchini and De-Seeding Bell Pepper
This recipe calls for zuchinni noodles (or “zoodles”), which are often available in the refrigerated section of markets and cut down on the dish’s prep time. If your market doesn’t carry them, you can make your own using a spiralizer or a mandoline with a shredding blade, or just cut your squash into ½-inch cubes instead.
There are a number of different techniques out there for seeding bell peppers, but I still prefer the one I learned in high school, when I worked for a caterer one summer. First, cut out stem with a small sharp knife (cutting around the base of the stem, so you don’t remove much of the flesh).
Next, hold the pepper upside down over a bowl, trash, or compost bin and use your fingers to pull out the white interior ribs.
Lastly, with the pepper still over the bin, tap the pepper firmly onto to palm of your opposite hand; the motion will dislodge the seeds, and they’ll fall straight into the receptacle.
Swaps and Additions for Sheet Pan Gnocchi
This dish can be made with a different vegetables and cheeses, for a variety of seasonal flavor profiles.
- In the fall and winter, swap the zucchini noodles for thin slices of delicata squash or ½-inch cubes of butternut squash. Alternatively, you could use squash gnocchi in place of the regular potato version.
- In summer, you can swap half of the squash and half of the bell pepper for fresh corn—or keep all three ingredients at their full amounts for a more veggie-forward dish. Just cut the kernel off of two cobs of corn (you’ll have about 2 cups) and add it to the other ingredients.
- If you want to add a little more heft and protein to your meal, skip the parmesan, and add little cherry-sized “ciliegine” balls of fresh mozzarella or chunks of feta to the pan about half-way through cooking.
We’ve Got Gnocchi on the Brain!
Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Bell Peppers
1 red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick strips
1 orange or red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2–inch strips
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
14 ounces zucchini noodles (about 4 cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
14 ounces gnocchi (fresh or shelf-stable)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large basil leaves, cut crosswise into very thin strips
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Season the gnocchi and vegetables:
Place the onions, bell peppers, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, and gnocchi into a large mixing bowl (separating any of the gnocchi if they’re sticking to each other). Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Divide gnocchi and vegetables on baking sheets:
Divide the gnocchi and vegetables between 2 rimmed baking sheet and spread everything out as much as possible.
Roast the gnocchi and vegetables:
Roast the gnocchi and vegetables until all of the ingredients are tender and some have slightly browned spots where they’re touching the pan, 20-25 minutes.
Mash garlic cloves and incorporate into gnocchi and vegetables:
Remove the pans from the oven and set it on the stove or another heat-proof surface.
Find the garlic cloves, and carefully (without burning yourself) squeeze them out of their skins, then placing the cloves in a corner of the sheet pan so you can mash it.
Use a fork to mash each clove into a paste, then use a spatula or a wooden spoon to toss all of the ingredients (carefully loosening any bits that are sticking to the pan).
Divide the gnocchi and vegetables onto 4 plates and sprinkle with basil and cheese on top of each serving. Serve.
Storage and reheating:
The gnocchi and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To reheat, spread it out on a sheet pan, cover it with foil, and put it in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, until everything is heated through; the exact timing will depend on the size of your gnocchi and how crowded your pan is.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||21%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||16%|
|Total Carbohydrate 52g||19%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||17%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 86mg||429%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|