Easy Baked Gnocchi with Butternut Béchamel


The other day on Facebook, I mentioned going through a bit of a comfort food conniption fit. Well, I didn't say it like that but that's what I meant. Our false spring ended abruptly and the biting cold has returned. I've been craving hearty baked dishes like no man's business. But, I didn't want to make a big production out of it and I certainly didn't want to make a huge dish of something I'd be forced to eat for a week, breakfast, lunch and dinner!

What's a girl to do? Turn to her trusty fridge and say, "Trusty fridge, what do you have in there to chase away my icy cold blues without creating a giant mess or an onslaught of leftovers?"

The answer? Well, there was no answer because refrigerators don't talk. Or at least mine doesn't. But I did spy a package of whole wheat gnocchi that I'd snagged recently at Trader Joe's. Their regular potato version isn't vegan but the whole wheat variety is! Score!

Gnocchi is a perfect candidate for baked dishes because it cooks quickly. It can be baked in as little as 20 minutes, as opposed to traditional pasta that takes over an hour (or must be par-boiled prior to baking). Remember my desire for a no-fuss baked dish? Gnocchi it is!

My fridge dialogue also let me know I was running pretty darn low on fresh produce. Lucky for me, I had part of an onion, a few mushrooms and a freezer stash of spring peas. The real find, however, was some leftover butternut squash in the fridge, already cooked from an earlier recipe. This is when the lightbulb went on.

A quick trip to the pantry for some staples and this simple, elegant, and truly comforting baked gnocchi dish was born. You're welcome.


Easy Baked Gnocchi with Butternut Béchamel and Vegetables
Yield: 1 entree or 2 side servings

3/4 cup whole wheat gnocchi
1/4 cup frozen peas
2-3 mushrooms, chopped finely
1/2 cup mashed roasted butternut squash (or canned puree)
1/2 cup plain almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth (or 1/2 cup water plus 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon)
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place gnocchi, peas and mushrooms in a 2-cup baking dish or two 1-cup ramekins.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and whisk frequently over medium heat until it begins to thicken, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over gnocchi and vegetables.
  5. Bake 20-22 minutes until gnocchi are fork tender.
  6. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
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