Vegetarian Gnocchi Bean Casserole is a creamy dish made with broccoli, gnocchi, white beans, tomato sauce, cream cheese, and shredded cheese. It’s perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dish. This homemade vegetarian meal can be served to everyone at the table.
What is Vegetarian Gnocchi Bean Casserole?
This gnocchi casserole uses pre-made gnocchi in a dish that’s made from scratch. It’s creamy and delicious with Italian-inspired flavors and ingredients. You can add extra toppings, vegetables, or meat if you want to make it into a meal for the whole family.
Keep it vegetarian and add a side of this string bean and mushroom casserole. You'll have a meal loaded with protein, nutrients, and delicious flavors!
- 2 medium heads of broccoli: Buy heads of broccoli or a bag of florets in the produce section of the grocery store.
- 14 oz (400g) gnocchi pasta: You can buy frozen gnocchi if you aren’t able to find it fresh. This can also be made with conchiglie pasta if you prefer a lighter option. And, you can always make your own homemade gnocchi if time allows.
- 14 oz (400g) canned white beans, drained: Use Great Northern or cannellini beans in this recipe.
- 2 1⁄2 cups tomato sauce: Buy canned tomato sauce or tomato purée for this dish.
- 2⁄3 cup cream cheese: Soften the cream cheese before adding it to the dish.
- 1 cup shredded cheese: Buy pre-shredded cheese or a block to shred yourself for the best flavor.
How to make vegetarian gnocchi bean casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C and prepare a baking dish with non-stick spray then set it aside.
2. Cook gnocchi or conchiglie pasta in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
3. Then, to the same stockpot of water and pasta, add the broccoli florets and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Then drain it and pour into a large bowl.
4. Combine the par-cooked broccoli and pasta with tomato sauce, beans, and cream cheese. Stir this together until fully coated and combined. Best if using softened cream cheese.
4. Transfer this pasta, bean, and broccoli mixture into the prepared baking dish from earlier. Then, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. White cheddar or mozzarella can both work great for this recipe.
5. Bake for 15 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese on top. Add a bit of color to the top by broiling for 1 to 2 minutes.
Tips for success:
This vegetarian casserole is a great dish to serve as a side or a full entree, but there are a few things you might want to try to give it a bit more flavor or just to add a unique spin to the dish. Below are some things to consider.
- Add shredded chicken, diced ham, pulled pork, or even cooked and drained ground turkey or chicken for more protein if you don't follow a vegetarian diet.
- If you need this to remain vegetarian, consider adding in some TVP or a ready-made vegan meat option.
- Add more flavor to the dish with your own preferred herbs and spices. It can work great with Italian herbs, Greek herbs, or even a hint of curry if you prefer.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs to the top before baking for a bit of added texture.
- Try this with different beans you have on hand for a unique flavor. Kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans can all be used. Chickpeas may work as well as lentils if you prefer.
What Other Vegetables Go in Gnocchi Bean Casserole?
You can easily include additional vegetables to this dish to make it healthier and add some extra flavor. Below are a few popular options that would work with this recipe.
- Green beans, string beans, snap peas, snow peas, or asparagus
- Onions, roasted garlic, bell peppers
- Zucchini or summer squash
How can I make vegetarian gnocchi bean casserole in an instant pot?
The instant pot is a fun kitchen tool that has three main functions that include sautéing, pressure cooking, and slow cooking. To make this casserole in the instant pot, you will want to use the pot-in-pot method. This is when you place water in the pot, a trivet on top of that, and your recipe into a baking dish sitting on top of the trivet.
For this recipe, follow the directions below:
- Prepare the recipe up to the baking portion. Put into a baking dish that easily fits into the Instant Pot.
- Then, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil and place it onto the trivet with 1 to 1 ½ cups of water below the trivet.
- Set to manual high pressure for 3 minutes. Once the cooking cycle ends, you will carefully manually release the pressure.
- Remove from the Instant Pot and then broil in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes to add color to the melted cheese.
Can I add meat to this dish?
This is a great vegetarian meal, but if you want to add meat, you can. Some options include chicken, sausage, bacon, or ground beef. This will add a tasty savory dimension to the dish.
How to store:
To store this vegetarian gnocchi bean casserole for future servings, you will want to put any leftovers into an airtight container and refrigerate it. It is good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days but is best in the first 49 hours after baking. The longer it sits, the more the pasta becomes mushy.
To reheat this, you will put it into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second increments until piping hot. It can also be reheated in the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes, depending upon the amount being heated.
If you want to make this ahead of time and freeze, assemble everything in a disposable aluminum pan up to the point of baking. Then, wrap it with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil over that. Make sure to label, date, and write cooking instructions on top before freezing.
How can I make this dish vegan?
You can easily make this casserole vegan-friendly. All you need to do is replace the cream cheese and cheddar with vegan options. Kite Hill and Tofutti cream cheese options are excellent. Some cheddar options include Chao brand, Follow Your Heart and Miyoko's Creamery.
Is gnocchi bean casserole gluten-free?
Unfortunately, as listed, this recipe is not gluten-free. To make a gluten-free option you would need to replace the pasta or gnocchi with a gluten-free option for safety.
Is this vegetarian gnocchi bean casserole keto-friendly?
Since the gnocchi is made with potatoes, this dish isn’t great for keto diets.
More Pasta Casseroles
Whether you want a traditional pasta dish or just something with added pasta for texture, below are some of my favorite pasta casseroles. Make sure that you bookmark these, print out the recipes, or pin them to Pinterest so they are handy when you are ready to make them.
- Baked Ziti Casserole
- Creamy Mushroom Casserole
- Spicy Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Turkey and Pasta Casserole
- Four Cheese Pasta Casserole
- 2 medium heads of broccoli
- 14 oz (400g) gnocchi pasta
- 14 oz (400g) canned white beans, drained
- 2 1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
- 2⁄3 cup cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Add broccoli florets and cook for 2-3minutes more. Drain.
- Combine broccoli and pasta with tomato sauce, beans, and cream cheese.
- Transfer pasta and broccoli into the baking pan and top with shredded cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
This can be made with any small pasta you prefer.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 937Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 556mgCarbohydrates: 154gFiber: 26gSugar: 6gProtein: 49g