Cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi

A creamy vegetable-packed vegan ‘cheese’ sauce with just a handful of ingredients but eat-by-the-spoonful-delicious flavour.

Sometimes going about something with no or low expectations is the best you can do. Or at least that’s what I can say about this recipe. It’s one of those dishes you prepare without much thinking. Just adding some of this, some of that, and, oh, hey, that tastes really good.  Do you like to surprise yourself while cooking? I do. Unfortunately, some of these dishes aren’t a real eye candy, either, though, as is the case here. But I’ve said it before and will say it again: taste beats appearance.

There are one million recipes for mac and cheese out there and probably at least half as many vegan variations. Don’t make me guess the number of either using pumpkin, too. The combination of cheesy taste and pumpkin was clearly meant to be.

Pumpkin gnocchi

So I didn’t reinvent the wheel here – and you wouldn’t want me to because … is not my forte.  but since it was seriously delicious and we agreed that blogging is mostly for y ourself I’ll be completely honest with you: When I post recipes it’s not selflessly. No. Rather, I’ve come to realize I’m the one benefitting most. In other words: my blog has become my personalized cookbook
Way back I used to print out recipes I enjoyed or jot down measurements of dishes I created on loose sheets. All stuffed into a practical not pretty blue folder. Do I really need to tell you what happened?  Well, first it got completely overstuffed and I lost overview. And then I lost the whole folder when moving years ago. Awesome.

Pumpkin Gnocchi_2

That’s where blogging comes in handy. My WIAWs are often a collection of others’ recipes and how I liked them so I’ve made one or the other dish more than once already. And when I can’t quite remember all ingredients in a meal I created I can look through my recipes. Which actually happens on the regular but who am I to complain? You could probably call my blog my external hard disk. That’s actually what I jokingly referred my notebooks to be years ago. How times changes. And tastes of humor…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

Mine were in fact double-pumpkin because I bought a package of organic pumpkin gnocchi at the store. If you have some extra time on hand and feel fancy you could obviously make your own gnocchi but I was happy to find these sketchy-ingredient-free storebought ones.

Cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi

A serving of storebought gnocchi [I used 125 g/ 4.5 oz ]*
1 cup of cauliflower, chopped into florets
3/4 cup of butternut squash, chopped**
about 1/4 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk
3/4 to 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp onion powder***
a pinch of garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup green peas
Cherry tomatoes

Prepare the gnocchi according to package directions but when you drain it, reserve the cooking liquid.

Put the cauliflower and butternut squash into a small saucepan and add water until they’re just covered. Boil until soft. I usually just bring the water to a boil, then turn off the stove and let it cook for a few minutes.

Blend the vegetables with the remaining sauce ingredients. Put the sauce back onto the stove and let thicken a little.

Add the gnocchi, peas and cherry tomatoes to the sauce and heat through. Serve with a generous amount of parsley sprinkled on top or mixed in.


* This dish is gluten-free if using a gluten-free variety of gnocchi. A quick search brought up brands like DeLallo and Aurora for those of you living overseas.

* *You could sub another type of winter squash like kabocha.

**If you’re German you might be skeptical of the onion powder in the ingredient list. Or at least if – like me – you grew up clueless of its existence. But trust me it’s what makes this dish. Without it the sauce doesn’t have that ‘authentic’ [and in this case: delicious] boxed mix taste.

Maybe you already know I’m not one to claim authenticity on my recipes. Growing up in Germany I’ve never had either the infamous blue box nor the homemade mac ‘n’ cheese variety [unless ‘Nudeln mit Käsesauce’ is the same but just a less snazzy way of saying it]. But what I know for a fact is that it’s seriously good in its own right – and that’s all that matters to me.

Authentic or not I’m convinced a good recipe pleases everyone so I’m joining the celebrations of deliciousness via Laura, Kierston, Tasty Tuesdays#FoodieFridayReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-free Wednesday, the Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Happiness inducing today: Turning around a corner and squinting because of the sudden intensity of the sunlight. Followed by a huge smile on my face.

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Did you grow up eating the blue box? A homemade variety? Or mac ‘n’ cheese-less?

Were peas a typical childhood food for you? In which combinations? Clearly carrots, peas and the occasional kohlrabi [still not a fan], sometimes in a bechamel-type sauce were my mum’s favourite way of getting us to eat them. Usually alongside homemade ‘Frikadellen’ [think burgers but without the bun] and potatoes.