I’ve made no secret over the years that one of the things from my old, pre-vegan life that I do not miss is cheese. I mean, cheese is good. It’s fine. It’s just no longer my jam since I’m not addicted to it. I’ve experimented with all types of vegan cheese brands and until the past few months, I’ve been underwhelmed. I’ve even done the alt-cheese thing myself, using white beans, a turmeric & nooch béchamel for pizza, a milk-based cheese-ish sauce, and even a carrot cheese. I have tried it all and made an informed decision that I can take or leave cheese.
And then, I did my semi-regular online order of vegan food from a source in Germany and…wow. This super cheesy vegan gnocchi bake was incredible. Ooey and gooey cheesy deliciousness, minus the need to keep eating and eating.
If you know how to make mac & cheese then you know how to make this dish, but there are a few caveats since I got a little fancy with it.
But first, let’s start with ingredients. It’s a little long but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult. I promise you that despite all the components to this vegan gnocchi cheese bake, it is super simple to make.
I have to say that this is the second dish that I tried the Violife, Just Like Mozzarella Shreds and it is seriously good. It doesn’t have the strange odor that some vegan cheese brands do, and best of all it’s melty for when you need a really good melty vegan cheese.
So, the gnocchi is the gnocchi and brands may differ. You can follow the package instructions or do like I do and saute them in a skillet with a bit of vegan butter until brown and crispy. That works especially well in this application because you’re going to smother it in cheese and bake it.
For the vegan meatballs, the choice is yours. You can cook them in the air fryer, on the stovetop or even in the oven. I cooked them on top of the stove until they were a little brown & crispy on the edges and set them aside until it was time for some oven love.
Okay, I’ll stop with the vegan cheese porn and hop to it!
Most of the ingredients will end up in your sauce pan for the vegan cheese sauce, but in stages. Measure out the cheeses you plan to use for this dish and set them aside so they’re ready when you need them.
Start with the béchamel sauce, using plant milk, mustard, nutritional yeast and tapioca starch. When it starts to thicken, add the vegan mozzarella shreds until it starts to get thick & creamy. Then add the vegan cream cheese and stir until well blended.
Add cooked vegan meatballs and gnocchi to the baking dish and pour the sauce over it. Stir and pop in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes on 200c/400f.
If you want a more bubbly and cheesy bake, add another 5 to 10 minutes to the cook time, just keep in mind that everything is already cooked so really this is about browning and crisping.
Let it rest for 5 minutes and you are good to go!