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Is Gnocchi Vegan? Find Out If This Dish Is Allowed On A Vegan Diet In 2023
While environmentally conscious, the vegan diet may pose challenges when determining what to eat. Restrictive in nature, this diet consists of eating primarily seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, and veggies, while excluding animal-based products. While many store-bought and restaurant meals offer vegan options, animal-based ingredients can sneak into foods, even ones that may appear vegan. For example, you may be wondering, “Is gnocchi vegan?”
It’s easy to assume gnocchi, a much beloved Italian pasta, is vegan. Yet, there’s more than what meets the eye. In this article, we determine whether gnocchi is vegan or not and why.
Is Gnocchi Vegan-Friendly?
This depends. Traditional gnocchi contains egg, making it not vegan-friendly. However, you can make and find vegan gnocchi options that use potato or potato starch to bind the dough together. It’s always important to check with the chef or label before eating or purchasing gnocchi products.
Can Vegans Eat Gnocchi?
Most fresh gnocchi isn’t vegan because the traditional recipe contains eggs. Typically, homemade gnocchi and restaurant gnocchi uses egg to hold the dough together and create a desirable texture.
This means that gnocchi can be enjoyed by vegetarians but not vegans. This is because vegans exclude all animal-based products, while a vegetarian diet technically only excludes the flesh of an animal. This means that many vegetarians can enjoy foods that contain milk, cheese, and eggs, like gnocchi.
However, you can opt to make homemade vegan gnocchi without using eggs or vegan eggs. Additionally, most store-bought gnocchi and packaged gnocchi are often vegan since eggs are not typically included in these recipes. It’s important always to check the label to determine if the ingredients are vegan.
What Is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a dumpling originating from Italian cuisine. However, most refer to it as a type of pasta and use it as such. For instance, gnocchi may be served with marinara sauce or other pasta sauces.
In Italy, it’s frequently served as a starter before the main course. Yet, depending on where you are in the world, it can also be the main dish or served as a side.
A traditional gnocchi recipe includes whole wheat flour, eggs, potato, and salt. Yet, some non-traditional gluten-free gnocchi or vegan gnocchi recipes may contain mashed potatoes, vegan sauce, or a different type of flour, such as rice flour.
Some recipes also offer the option to make cauliflower gnocchi, which is made with cauliflower, flour, egg, and salt.
Regionally, you may also find various different gnocchi recipes. Ingredients may vary, including spinach, cheese, sweet potato, ricotta, flour, herbs, vegetables, and more.
Either way, the gnocchi-making process begins with the dough. The gnocchi is added to salted water once the dough is made and each piece is assembled. It’s brought to a boil to cook for about 30 seconds. The gnocchi is then cooked in a pan until golden.
In some cases, some individuals may opt to cook the gnocchi directly in a pan. Yet, this may yield a slightly different texture and take longer to cook thoroughly.
Reasons Gnocchi Is Often Non-Vegan
The main reason gnocchi is not vegan is that many recipes include eggs. Milk, butter, and cheese are also common non-vegan gnocchi ingredients. These foods are often added to help bind the dough together and for optimal flavor.
Since the vegan diet excludes all animal-based products, many types of gnocchi aren’t suitable for vegans. However, it’s still possible to make vegan gnocchi.
Tips To Make Vegan Gnocchi
Many traditional foods have vegan food alternatives, and gnocchi is no exception. Making vegan gnocchi is surprisingly easy. While egg may seem necessary in this recipe, adding sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, or even pumpkin can bind the dough together.
A vegan gnocchi recipe, also often referred to as potato gnocchi, involves a few easy steps, including:
- Mixing cooked potato and flour together to make the gnocchi dough while ensuring it’s not too sticky, crumbly, or dry.
- Roll the dough into a long tube, then cut it to appropriate gnocchi sizes.
- Adding texture with a fork or shape.
- Frying the pasta until golden, then serve it with a sauce of your choice.
Similarly, gluten-free gnocchi can be made with rice flour or another gluten-free flour. Sweet potato gnocchi or pumpkin gnocchi further offers an extra touch of brightness and flavor to this traditional pasta recipe.
In some grocery stores, it’s also possible to find vegan egg yolks. This food product mimics the qualities of an egg but isn’t derived from an animal-based source. When using vegan egg yolk, you may be able to make gnocchi similar to the traditional recipe.
Store-bought vegan gnocchi also uses potato starch to bind the dough instead of eggs, making most forms vegan-friendly. Again, always double-check the label.
If you’re ordering in a restaurant, you’ll want to be cautious as most of these types of gnocchi are made with eggs. Always make sure you ask your server before ordering to ensure you follow your specific diet accordingly.
Gnocchi is a traditional Italian dish enjoyed by many across the globe. However, the traditional recipe is usually not vegan. The good news is you can opt to make vegan recipes mimicking gnocchi, such as pumpkin gnocchi or potato gnocchi.
When ordering in a restaurant or buying at the store, it’s always best to check the ingredients to determine whether the gnocchi is vegan.
When following the vegan diet, ensuring you’re getting the nutrients your body needs is important.
With various dietary restrictions, it’s easy for vegans to become deficient in specific nutrients. Thus, getting frequent blood tests with your doctor is recommended to monitor this carefully. It may further be beneficial to take certain vitamins and minerals or green powders.
It may also prove worthwhile for vegans to order vegan meal delivery or purchase vegan meal replacements. This can ensure the food you’re eating is vegan and help you avoid the angst of figuring out whether a meal is vegan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most traditional gnocchi recipes contain eggs. However, vegans can make homemade gnocchi by replacing egg with pumpkin, potato, or another vegetable that helps bind the dough together.
Some types of gnocchi contain milk and cheese. Yet, you can purchase or make gnocchi without dairy or dairy products. For example, vegan gnocchi can be made with potato and flour.
Traditional Italian gnocchi is not vegan because it often contains eggs.
Yes, most vegetarians can enjoy almost any kind of gnocchi. This is because vegetarians primarily exclude animal flesh from their diet but include animal-based products like milk and eggs.
Yes, gnocchi is technically vegetarian. Vegetarians often include dairy products, like milk, cheese, and eggs, compared to vegans.
Gnocchi may contain eggs, milk, or cheese, which are animal products. However, you can find or make gnocchi vegan recipes that exclude all animal-based products.
Traditionally, gnocchi is made of flour, eggs, potato, and salt. These ingredients form the dough, which is then cooked via boiling, frying, or both.
Gnocchi doesn’t contain meat unless added to the sauce. Yet, it often contains animal-based products like eggs, milk, or cheese.
+ 1 sources
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- Verónica Elizabeth Burgos, Estela Patricia López, María Cristina Goldner and Cristina, V. (2019). Physicochemical characterization and consumer response to new Andean ingredients-based fresh pasta: Gnocchi. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, [online] 16, pp.100142–100142. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgfs.2019.100142.