Ricotta Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce

Ricotta Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce-

Ricotta Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce

It’s hard to go past a bowl of gnocchi when you’re in the mood for something comforting and filling. Unlike traditional potato-based gnocchi, these little pillows of goodness are low carb so you can enjoy them knowing they’re not going to cause any BG spikes. Win!

I love them simmered in a classic tomato based sauce but there are plenty of other options! See the variations below for other delicious ideas.

There are two types of ricotta – firm ricotta from the deli or smooth ricotta in tubs. I’ve used both. This recipe is written for ricotta from the deli so see the ‘variations’ below if you’re using smooth ricotta in a tub.

enough for 2-3
takes 45 minutes

500g (1lb) firm ricotta from the deli
100g (3.5oz) almond meal + extra
100g (3.5oz) grated parmesan (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
salad leaves, to serve

1. For the gnocchi, mix ricotta, almond meal and parmesan (if using) in a bowl. Season well.

2. Sprinkle extra almond meal on the base of a large plate. Scoop small tablespoons of mixture and shape into little gnocchi pillows. This is messy. I try to use two spoons but sometimes I use my hands if it’s too fiddly. Place each gnocchi on your prepared plate. When they’re all done pop in the fridge to firm up while you make the sauce.

2. Cook onion on a medium heat in a very generous pool of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t be shy with the oil!

3. When onion is soft, add tomato and simmer rapidly for about 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Use a spoon to chop up the tomato if you’re using whole.

4. Place gnocchi in the sauce, cover with a lid and simmer until warm. About 2-3 minutes. Be careful, if you cook them too long they’ll turn into a melted pool of cheesyness (which actually doesn’t sound that bad!).

5. Serve gnocchi in pasta bowls with salad leaves on the side.


smooth ricotta in a tub – since smooth ricotta is much runnier, add 1 tablespoon psyllium husks to soak up the extra moisture. Otherwise the ricotta will fall apart. If using firm ricotta from the deli you won’t need the psyllium.

short on time – skip the onion. And start making the sauce first so it can simmer while you’re making the gnocchi. If you are really short on time you could skip the gnocchi and serve tomato sauce with zucchini noodles or cooked pasta.

dressed salad – make a quick dressing with 1 tablespoon sherry or wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.

dairy-free – sorry! Can’t help you with this one.

carnivore – add bacon or crumble a few sausages and brown the meat with the onion before adding the tomato.

hot! – add a few chopped red chillies with the tomato. Or some dried chilli flakes or powder.

different sauces – my next favourite is to pan fry the gnocchi in burnt butter, crispy sage leaves and pine nuts. Gnocchi is also lovely with meat based pasta sauces like bolognese or other ragus.

extra veg – wilt down some spinach, kale or other greens in the sauce before adding the gnocchi.

spinach & ricotta gnocchi – finely chop (or use your food processor) a few handfuls of baby spinach. Stir this into your ricotta mixture.

herby – simmer some rosemary or thyme in the sauce.

carb lovers / more substantial – toss in cooked pasta.

more substantial (low carb) – add some roast almonds.

paleo (grain, legume & dairy-free) – serve tomato sauce + salad with pan fried chicken.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

ricotta – in a sealed tub it usually has a shelf life of a few weeks in the fridge. If in an opened container, will only keep for a few days so use for another meal or freeze.

almond meal / can tomatoes / bay leaves – keep them in the pantry.

parmesan – keeps for longer in a chunk so only grate when you’re cooking. I wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and then keep in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. I prefer this over just wrapping in cling wrap because the air in the container allows the cheese to breathe and not sweat but the container / plastic bag prevents from drying out in the dry fridge air. Either way will keep for months.

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.

Prepare Ahead

Yes and making the gnocchi up to a few days ahead will actually give a better result! Just prepare the gnocchi and cook the sauce as per the recipe but keep them separately. Uncooked gnocchi will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. To serve, bring sauce back to a simmer and then add gnocchi and cook as per the recipe.

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  • Hello!
    Psyllium is mentioned in the variations, but not in the ingredients list, nor instructions. Is it optional?

    • Hi Samantha!
      Thanks for asking this. And sorry for it being a bit confusing. I’ve updated the variations now so it should make more sense.
      You’ll need psyllium if you’re using smooth ricotta from a tub. But if you’re using firm ricotta from the deli (as per the main recipe) you won’t need psyllium.

  • Hi Jules
    This sounds delicious. Can the gnocchi be frozen for later? Or could i freeze the gnocchi in the sauce?

    • I’d freeze them separately Judy so then you can reheat the sauce and get it super hot. And add the defrosted gnocchi to just warm through (they’re really delicate so you need to be careful not to over cook as they’ll fall apart)

  • Would regular or whole wheat flour work in place of the almond meal? I know it kills the low-carb aspect but my husband has a nut allergy (I’d rather not kill him!).

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