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This Vegan-Optional Sheet Pan Gnocchi Was Born of Empty Cupboards and Lethargy

by 
Julia Tausch
March 11, 2022

This recipe came about on a night when all I had going for me was a half a head of cabbage in the fridge, a package of shelf-stable gnocchi in the pantry, a tired, hungry body, and a brain full of “hacks” amassed over my years of vegan cooking nerdom.

The first hack that sprang to mind is one of my all-time faves: gnocchi on a sheet pan! Did you know you can just toss gnocchi in olive oil and throw them in the oven? Once I learned this, I never went back to boiling or frying again. They come out puffed and golden brown, maybe a little chewier than the other preparations, and — to my mind and mouth — sheer perfection. 

This dish also employs one of the most classic kitchen hacks: making ahead. I already had a batch of my easy almond parmesan in the fridge, so I sprinkled that liberally on the finished dish and was, to my surprise, instantly hit with pierogi vibes. In light of said vibes, I served subsequent iterations with a simple silken tofu sour cream (another thing that can be made ahead). Not only did my family approve, they declared the addition non-negotiable. 

Though born of nearly-bare cupboards and lethargy, this dish came together more beautifully than I deserved. It’s become a winter staple as we slog through an especially cold and snowy one here in Toronto. And if you make the sour cream and parm the day before, there’s plenty of downtime while everything roasts to catch up on “Love Is Blind.” Any hacks that let me do that are ones I can get behind.

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A note on the non-dairy subs: when I was but a baby vegan, still learning how to cook, I balked at dairy subs made of tofu. It seemed so ‘70s and desperate. If that’s you, too, hear me out: The sour cream doesn’t fully taste like dairy, and that’s okay. The better I got to know tofu and understand its traditional uses, the more I warmed to the idea of using it. If you’re not so familiar, silken tofu is often used as the mild, creamy component in a dish — think funky Korean kimchi jigae or super-spicy mapo tofu. In both dishes, the tofu provides contrast in terms of both texture and flavor, just as sour cream does atop a chewy-savory pile of pierogi. Nowadays the fact that this condiment tastes like tofu is no problem for me. It’s just tofu doing its thing — being delicious!

As for the parm, it’s nubbly and salty and yummy and good. That’s it and that’s all. The recipe is my riff on one by Joanne Stepaniak, who published “The Uncheese Cookbook” back in the ‘90s. So yes, it’s another ode to old-school veganism, and I’m not ashamed. In a world where plant-based tech meats and “melty shreds” get all the attention, sometimes it just feels right to mix up some almonds and miso and call it a day.

Of course you can use the dairy versions of these components if you like, but I’d encourage you to try these recipes at least once. Whether you’re still riding the “Veganuary” high or just want ideas for incorporating more plant-based deliciousness into your life, having these non-dairy hacks in your arsenal makes so many dishes easy to veganize without sacrificing texture and flavor.

Hack-Heavy Caramelized Cabbage Gnocchi with Easy Almond Parm and Tofu Sour Cream

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Serves 1-2 as an entree

Ingredients

Half a medium cabbage, about 1.5-2 lbs, thinly sliced

1 tennis ball-sized yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper to taste

1 package of shelf-stable or frozen gnocchi (about 1 lb)

1-2 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped (optional)

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


For the almond parmesan

1 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)

4 tsp white or yellow miso

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt


For the tofu sour cream

1/2 package silken or extra firm silken tofu (I use Mori Nu brand)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp brine from jarred sauerkraut (optional)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

 | 
 | 
Serves 1-2 as an entree

Ingredients

Half a medium cabbage, about 1.5-2 lbs, thinly sliced

1 tennis ball-sized yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper to taste

1 package of shelf-stable or frozen gnocchi (about 1 lb)

1-2 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped (optional)

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


For the almond parmesan

1 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)

4 tsp white or yellow miso

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt


For the tofu sour cream

1/2 package silken or extra firm silken tofu (I use Mori Nu brand)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp brine from jarred sauerkraut (optional)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients

Half a medium cabbage, about 1.5-2 lbs, thinly sliced

1 tennis ball-sized yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper to taste

1 package of shelf-stable or frozen gnocchi (about 1 lb)

1-2 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped (optional)

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


For the almond parmesan

1 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)

4 tsp white or yellow miso

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt


For the tofu sour cream

1/2 package silken or extra firm silken tofu (I use Mori Nu brand)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp brine from jarred sauerkraut (optional)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Spread cabbage and onions and on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with the salt, several grinds of black pepper, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Mix thoroughly with your hands, ensuring vegetables are well coated. Roast, stirring once, for 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the sour cream if you haven’t done so in advance (see directions below) and put it in the fridge to chill.

4. In a large mixing bowl, toss gnocchi with the remaining two tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. At the 25 minute mark, toss the vegetables one more time. By now they should have softened, reduced in volume, and browned a bit, with some frizzled edges. Move all the vegetables to one half of the sheet pan. Pour the prepared gnocchi into the open half on the pan and spread into a single layer.

6. Roast for another 25 minutes, flipping the gnocchi over halfway through. The gnocchi should be growing puffy and lightly golden.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the almond parmesan if you haven’t done so in advance (see directions below) and get the parsley and scallions chopped.

8. Remove from the oven and stir the apple cider vinegar into the cabbage. 

9. Sprinkle half the parsley (if using) over the contents of the sheet pan and mix everything together. Serve in shallow bowls topped with almond parmesan, more parsley, scallions, and big dollop of tofu sour cream. 

For the tofu sour cream

1. Drain off any liquid the tofu is packed in as best as you can and crumble it into a tall measuring cup, if you’re using an immersion blender, or the bowl of your food processor.

2. Add remaining ingredients and blend together until very smooth and emulsified. Chill for as long as you can before serving for best flavor. This keeps 2-3 days in the fridge, so feel free to make in advance.

For rhe almond parmesan

1. Add all ingredients except miso to a food processor and mix for about 20 seconds, then transfer to a bowl. Alternatively, use a medium mixing bowl and stir with a fork to thoroughly combine. 

2. Add miso to the bowl and mash it into the almond mixture with a fork until well incorporated, similar to incorporating butter into pastry or streusel dough. You should end up with a nubbly, relatively dry mixture. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to a month.

About the Author

Julia Tausch

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