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.
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.
Only when you’re ready to serve and eat the gnudi you should make the walnut and sage pesto.
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.
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.