There’s nothing quite as delicious as soft, pillowy gnocchi. And, in my opinion, all sauces fail in the face of hearty mushroom sauce. This sauce doesn’t taste exactly like a dairy one, but it’s delicious in its own right.

If you’re vegan, or dairy-free for any other reason, this recipe is for you. Or, if you’re simply an adventurous cook—feel free to try it as well!

Chop your mushrooms and dump them in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let the mushrooms cook for about 7 minutes, then add 2 cups of almond milk. Bring to a boil, and immediately turn the flame down to a low simmer. Let the mixture simmer for half an hour or so.

Then add the third cup of almond milk, the non-dairy creamer and the nutritional yeast, which gives it its cheesy flavor. Continue simmering the mixture for another 15 minutes or so. It already tastes delicious, but the consistency will still be too liquidy at this point. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the water and mix until smooth. Very slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, making sure to stir the entire time. As you stir, the mixture should visibly thicken. Voilà—creamy vegan mushroom sauce.

Now for the gnocchi. Peel the potatoes and set them up to boil. We’re going to add a little kick of garlic to the gnocchi, so now’s the time to chop it up.

Fry the garlic in olive oil, on a medium flame until browned. Do not drain. That oil now has a delicious garlicky taste, and we’re going to use it.

As soon as the potatoes are soft, mash them and pour in the garlic and the oil. Mix until well combined. Add 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste).

To form the gnocchi, turn the potato mixture out onto a non-stick surface (I put a piece of parchment paper down). Start adding the flour, a little bit at a time, mixing it into the potato mixture. Different potatoes absorb different amounts of flour, so don’t worry if you need a little less or a little more.

When it feels like a good texture—workable but soft—start rolling the dough out into long strands. Dust your hands with flour as necessary. Cut them evenly, and put a pot of salted water up to boil.

When the water comes to a rolling boil, start dropping in pieces of gnocchi. As soon as they rise to the top of the water, immediately remove with a slotted spoon and drain. If you leave them in the water too long, they will turn mushy and disintegrate. This is the time to send everyone out of the kitchen so you can concentrate! Repeat until all the gnocchi is cooked. Serve immediately with the mushroom sauce.

Gnocchi Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2–3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Gnocchi Directions:

  1. Peel, boil and mash potatoes until smooth and creamy.
  2. Fry garlic in oil and add to the potatoes. Also add the salt.
  3. Turn the mixture out onto a non-stick surface, and start adding in the flour a small amount at a time. You might need slightly more or less, depending on the potatoes.
  4. When the dough feels soft but workable, roll it out into long strands. Dust your hands with flour as necessary. Cut ½-inch pieces and set aside.
  5. Boil a pot of salted water. When water comes to a rolling boil, drop some gnocchi in, and keep the water at a boil. As soon as gnocchi rise to the top of the water, use a slotted spoon to remove them. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.

Mushroom Sauce Ingredients:

  • 20 oz. mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup non-dairy creamer
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch combined with 1 tbsp. water

Mushroom Sauce Directions:

  1. Lightly sauté the mushrooms in oil and salt.
  2. Add 2 cups of the almond milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour.
  3. Add the non-dairy creamer, nutritional yeast and the rest of the almond milk, and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch until smooth.
  5. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, making sure to stir constantly. Do not stop stirring during this part of the process. The mixture should visibly thicken.
  6. Serve over gnocchi, immediately.

This recipe is somewhat time-consuming, but if you’re adept in the kitchen, you can be busy making the gnocchi while the sauce is simmering.

Keep in mind it’s a very rich dish, so small portions go a long way, and try to serve it with something lighter like a big green salad. Watch everyone lick their plates clean!