This recipe is for anyone who, like me, loves creamy pasta sauces but can’t eat them. (In my case, I’m lactose intolerant.) This rich and creamy mushroom and spinach gnocchi recipe uses soy milk, shallots and button mushrooms to create a rich and delicious “cream” sauce for gnocchi with mushrooms.
And you won’t believe how easy it is to create this restaurant-quality dish at home. (Or that you can create a delicious mushroom sauce for gnocchi with no cream!)
Notes on ingredients for this healthy mushroom spinach gnocchi
The best thing about this easy gnocchi recipe is that every flavor-boosting ingredient has health benefits from the soy milk to the spinach. But in case you want to make swaps and substitutions, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the ingredients in this gnocchi with mushroom cream sauce:
Can you use store-bought gnocchi?
Ok, I won’t try to sell you on gnocchi as a health food. But in this recipe, we’ve combined classic, potato gnocchi with so many healthy ingredients that we’ve given the dish a balance between nutrition and indulgence.
You can make the gnocchi by hand if you have the time. If you love pasta, nothing beats fluffy, homemade gnocchi. Here’s a classic potato gnocchi recipe from Fine Cooking if you need one.
However, if you don’t have the time to create traditional pasta at home, don’t worry. This spinach mushroom gnocchi recipe can also work with store-bought gnocchi from the fresh pasta section.
We recommend seeking out fresh gnocchi. It will be more expensive than the shelf-stable kind you find in the dried pasta section of the store. However, we find that the shelf-stable gnocchi tends to be gummy whereas the refrigerated kind is more like homemade.
Do you have to make the cream sauce with soy milk?
This dairy-free cream sauce calls for using soy milk and a butter substitute. If you don’t need to make the sauce completely free of dairy, you can use regular, unsalted butter. You can also use cream or half cream, half soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk) to make the mushroom cream sauce.
What non-dairy milk alternatives can you use?
I recommend soy milk for this recipe because I appreciate the neutral flavor and texture of this non-dairy milk. Plus tofu is on our list of the 10 best foods for women and we like to celebrate soy in the best ways possible.
That being said, I know there’s some controversy around using soy milk. To ensure you avoid GMO’s I recommend choosing organic soy milk. You also want to make sure it is unsweetened and has similar calories to 2% or whole milk.
Low-calorie soy milk or other non-dairy milk will make the sauce thin. I like Edensoy Organic Unsweetened for this recipe.
But if you don’t want to use soy, I recommend unsweetened hemp milk as a good alternative. The sauce will be a little thinner but hemp milk tends to have good texture. You can also try unsweetened rice milk.
How do you choose a white wine for cooking?
The other key ingredient to a delicious sauce for this spinach gnocchi recipe is white wine. Do not buy the product sold on grocery store shelves as cooking wine. You want to choose a wine you would want to drink to get the best flavor from your sauce. (In fact, I recommend saving the rest of the bottle to sever with your pasta.)
You want to make sure you choose a dry white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay. (I might use something with a more bold flavor in winter and a lighter, more refreshing wine in spring and summer.)
How do you make this a vegan spinach mushroom gnocchi?
The recipe as written is not entirely vegan but can easily be adapted for a vegan diet. You simply have to omit the optional parmesan cheese.
Also if you’re using store-bought gnocchi, be sure to check the ingredients for eggs or dairy before you buy.
Why this creamy gnocchi recipe is my pick for a vegetarian date night
As with many of the recipes featured on the site, this one was designed to potentially be served at a romantic dinner. Pasta isn’t traditionally my first choice for a meal of seduction. I always encourage choosing lighter foods for date night.
However, with the dairy-free cream sauce and the addition of nutritious spinach and aphrodisiac mushrooms as well as a hint of beneficial garlic, I think this dish is a great date night choice for pasta lovers.
Creamy Gnocchi with Spinach and Mushrooms
- 1 16 oz gnocchi either homemade or fresh, prepackaged
- 1 tbsp your favorite non-dairy butter substitute
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 10 oz button mushrooms sliced
- 1/8 cup dry white wine
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened, organic soy milk (substitute rice or hemp milk)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 3 cup fresh baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, add butter and olive oil to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Heat until the butter is completely melted.
- Add the shallot and saute until tender, about 1 minute.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with the sliced mushrooms. Let them rest for one minute then saute until tender, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add the white wine and let it reduce slightly, continuing to stir the mushrooms for 30 seconds-1 minute.
- Add the garlic and the soy milk. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese, (optional).
- Add the spinach and stir until it wilts, approximately 1 minute.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the cream sauce from the heat and add in the gnocchi, gently folding it in the sauce to coat.
- Serve immediately.
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