Ever heard of gnudi?! Well it’s a bit of a trend and I have yet to see a great vegan gnudi recipe out there on the internet. So I took it upon my hungry self to take a stab at it. OMGeeee it’s delicious and so comforting! Gnudi is traditional in Tuscany, and speaks to the idea of “nude ravioli”! Think of it as just the creamy filling of the ravioli and no pasta, or kind of like gnocchi but with no potato.
I paired this vegan gnudi with a simple walnut sage pesto, toasted walnuts, garlic, shallots, and fried sage. Just call it heaven on a plate! If you’re used to making quick recipes, challenge yourself and spend a little more time in the kitchen with this recipe. I promise once you take that first bite, it’ll be totally worth it! Check out how to make it in the video below and then scroll on for the full recipe.
vegan gnudi with walnut sage pesto
One bite of this vegan gnudi with a comforting walnut sage pesto and you’ll be in heaven! These super pillowy ricotta filled dumplings are way too satisfying.
tofu ricotta with green onion (makes about 2 cups)
- 1 x 450 g package firm or medium-firm tofu
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
- 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 2 C tofu ricotta (from above)
- 1 tsp egg replacer powder mixed with 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 C durum wheat semolina
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 to 5 whole sage leaves
- 1/2 C finely chopped shallots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- chopped toasted walnuts, as garnish
- the parm from the hot for food cookbook or pre-made vegan parmesan product, as garnish
walnut sage pesto (makes about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 1/4 C walnuts, toasted & divided (1/4 cup will be used as garnish for the gnudi)
- 3/4 C packed fresh sage
- 1 C packed fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 C the parm from the hot for food cookbook or pre-made vegan parmesan product
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 C olive oil
For the tofu, look for a brand that is water packed and not vacuum sealed as those types tend to be drier and more crumbly. Drain the brick of tofu from the water in the packaging. If it’s fairly firm and not really moist, all you need to do is squeeze out moisture from the tofu with some paper towel. If you’re using a medium firm tofu and it’s quite moist then use a nut milk bag, double layer of cheesecloth, or a clean dish towel to wring out as much water as possible. It should still be a little bit moist but not drenched in water by any means.
In a food processor or high powered blender, add the tofu broken up along with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, onion powder, granulated garlic powder, white pepper, and garlic cloves. Blend until very smooth, using the baton to get the mixture close to the blade. If using a food processor, you’ll need to stop the machine a couple of times to scrape the sides down with a spatula to ensure everything gets incorporated. Transfer the tofu mixture to a bowl and fold in chopped green onion.
To make the gnudi, add all-purpose flour to the bowl of tofu ricotta and add in the egg replacer with water mixture. Then fold with a spatula to combine until a sticky ball of dough forms and it comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Add semolina flour in a small shallow bowl. Remove 1 tablespoon of semolina from the bowl and sprinkle evenly onto a large baking sheet where you’ll place the formed gnudi.
Place the ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use a dough scraper or knife to cut it in half and keep one half off to the side on the floured surface. Roll out one portion of dough at a time into a log that is about 1 1/4-inch in width. Then cut across the log about every 1/2-inch creating pieces that are about 30 g in weight.
Roll each piece into a ball gently between your palms and coat in semolina flour. Then place on the baking sheet spaced apart. If you don’t have a scale, don’t worry. Just ensure the balls are all about the same size and approximately 1-inch in diameter or about 2 teaspoons total. Don’t make them too small otherwise they will overcook.
Do the same thing for the second portion of dough. Cover the tray with a clean damp tea towel and chill in the fridge and let it rest for up to 24 hours. This helps the gluten develop, making them soft and pillowy!
Only when you’re ready to serve and eat the gnudi you should make the walnut and sage pesto.
For the pesto, toast walnuts in a non-stick or cast iron pan on medium heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan often so the walnuts don’t burn, until nicely toasted and darker in color.
In a food processor, add 1 cup of toasted walnuts, sage, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan, sea salt and ground black pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of walnuts to chop and serve on top of the gnudi. While blending the pesto, add olive oil in a slow stream while the machine is running and continue processing until the pesto is more smooth and well incorporated.
To cook the gnudi right before serving, boil water in a medium sized pot. Boil 6 to 8 gnudi at a time for about 1 minute only. You only want to cook the skin on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.
Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vegan butter. Spread it out to create an even layer of oils in the pan. Once hot, fry 4 to 5 fresh sage leaves without crowding the pan for about 1 to 2 minutes, flipping half way through, until crispy. Set fried sage aside.
Turn the heat down to medium and place boiled gnudi in the pan spaced apart. Brown the gnudi on one side for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then turn the heat down slightly if needed and add the shallots and garlic divided, if cooking the gnudi in 2 batches depending on the size of your pan, tossing the shallots and garlic around and flipping the gnudi to brown the other side for about 2 minutes.
If you want to heat the pesto, add it in the last minute and toss together with gnudi. Or you can spoon the pesto onto your serving dish and place cooked gnudi on top, which is what I did. Garnish with a crispy fried sage leaf per serving, chopped toasted walnuts, more vegan parmesan, and ground black pepper to taste.