Feta Gnocchi and Tomato Bake is the ultimate flavorful and easy weeknight meal! It’s ready in one pan and all you have to do is dump in all the ingredients and let it bake.
If you are on Tiktok, you probably saw the viral feta-baked pasta. It involved baking feta and tomatoes to make a pasta sauce. But the thing is, the pasta was always cooked separately. If I’m making that, why would I want to use another pan to make pasta that could (will probably) boil over?
That’s where gnocchi is perfect for this! Gnocchi is small enough to be cooked perfectly in this tomato and feta sauce in the oven. Pair this with the fresh basil leaves, salty feta, and bright cherry tomatoes, and this baked feta gnocchi pasta recipe is a super delicious and easy dinner!
Table of Contents
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted.
Gnocchi: The star of the show! Gnocchi is great because you can use gluten-free versions, mini, or any other! We prefer the mini gnocchi because they’re easier to cover in the liquid in the pan meaning you get more evenly cooked gnocchi.
Substitutions: As I mentioned, any type of gnocchi can be used. This can be frozen or fresh, gluten-free gnocchi, potato gnocchi, full size, or mini.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes are found canned in oil. They’re sweeter because when they’re dried under heat, the tomatoes release their natural sugars.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitutions for this. And their sweetness is necessary because it counters the extreme saltiness of the feta.
Feta Block: This is how we get that creamy sauce! Feta is a salty cheese known for its Mediterranean flavor and is traditionally derived from goat’s milk. In the store, you may see a cup of feta cheese made from cow’s milk. This is fine and tasty, but it’s even saltier than goat’s milk feta.
Substitutions: Any block of feta can be used. Just be sure to use goat’s milk feta and not cow’s milk as this dish is already plenty salty. You could try using vegan feta too for a vegan feta gnocchi but it has not been tested.
Italian Seasoning: This is a great way to pack in more flavor with limited work!
Substitutions: Any Italian seasoning you prefer can be used or you can make your own.
Garlic: No pasta dish is complete without garlic!
Substitutions: We prefer minced garlic because we are lazy but any garlic will work. You could also use 1 tsp of garlic powder.
Basil: No pasta dish is complete without basil!
Substitutions: We use fresh basil but half the amount of dried basil could also be used.
Tomato Sauce and Water: Use tomato sauce with no added salt. It may seem weird to have tomatoes and tomato sauce and water but we need enough liquid to cook the gnocchi and allow some liquid to get absorbed to ensure this baked feta gnocchi is super saucy!
Substitutions: Any unsalted tomato sauce can be used. Sorry, no substitute for water.
Honey: This may seem like a weird ingredient, but the secret to neutralizing salty or bitter flavor is sugar! With just a little bit of honey, this gnocchi feta bake goes from so salty it tastes like bitter lemon to absolute creamy perfection!
Substitutions: Any type of mild sweetener can be used. This could be cane sugar, agave, or brown sugar.
Tomatoes: We use small sweet tomatoes that burst when heated. The tomatoes must be small or diced so they do not take up too much space in the baking dish.
Substitutions: While we used grape tomatoes, any type of tomatoes will work as long as larger ones are cut into ½” cubes or slices.
How to Make this – Step by Step
Step one: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the basil and dice the sun-dried tomatoes.
Step two: Place the feta block in the center of a 9×9 baking dish or a similar-sized, oven safe large skillet. Spread the gnocchi around the feta block on the bottom of the pan.
Step three: Add the sundried tomatoes and Italian seasoning to the top of the feta block. Pour the tomato sauce, water, and honey all around the side of the feta block, covering the gnocchi. Sprinkle the tomatoes on top of the sauce.
Step four: Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the gnocchi is fork tender.
Step five: Remove from the oven and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to burst any cherry tomatoes that did not burst while baking. Then gently break apart the feta and mix in the basil with everything else until mixed to be creamy and delicious! You may need to squish the feta to better incorporate it. Top with a little cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes if desired!
Watch How to Make This – Step by Step
Feta is salty by nature because it’s stored in a whey brine. However, because of this brine, feta presents as bitter instead of salty. The only way to neutralize bitterness is with sugar or sweetness. Hence why we use sun-dried tomatoes and honey. So, if you have something bitter, try adding a little sugar!
Facts and Common Questions
Can you bake gnocchi without boiling it first?
You sure can! As long as you have enough liquid to cover the gnocchi while it bakes, it will cook and become soft just like it does when it’s boiled in water.
Can you melt feta cheese in the oven?
So this is an interesting one. Feta is highly acidic thanks to the brine it’s cured in. As it heats, this acid causes any liquid in the cheese to burn off before the solid cheese can melt. This is why feta is often sold as crumbles. However, in this recipe, because there is so much other liquid, feta reacts like ricotta cheese. It makes the sauce creamy, but some chunks will remain.
What is gnocchi pasta made from?
Traditionally, gnocchi is made from mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. But it can also be made gluten-free with other types of flour or even cauliflower or sweet potatoes.
Is gnocchi gluten-free?
No, gnocchi typically has flour in it as a binder. However, you can buy gluten-free gnocchi and use it for this recipe just the same!
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
This recipe is great in the fridge, but it should not be frozen. Here is the best way to store it.
Fridge: Before storing it, this gnocchi tomato feta dish should cool completely. Once cooled, place it in an airtight container for up to one week. When ready to enjoy, reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
Despite what I’ve been describing as pasta, gnocchi is not pasta. Because it’s made with potatoes, it’s actually a dumpling! Most Italian families have their own gnocchi recipe meaning there is no specific way to make it. And finally, I was 21 before I ate gnocchi for the first time and now I am obsessed and sad I didn’t try it sooner. Ok, that wasn’t exactly a fun fact but it is my fun fact! (source)
More Joyful Recipes!
Try these other great recipes to pair with this tasty gnocchi!
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 17.5 oz Gnocchi* mini
- 3 sun dried tomatoes diced
- 7 oz feta** goat's milk
- 1/4 cup fresh basil diced
- 1 cup water
- 15 oz tomato sauce unsalted
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the basil and dice the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Place the feta block in the center of a 9x9 baking dish or a similar sized, oven safe large skillet. Spread the gnocchi around the feta block on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and Italian seasoning to the top of the feta block. Pour the tomato sauce, water, and honey all around the side of the feta block, covering the gnocchi. Sprinkle the tomatoes on top of the sauce.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the gnocchi is fork tender.
- Remove from the oven and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to burst any cherry tomatoes that did not burst while baking. Then gently break apart the feta and mix in the basil with everything else until mixed to be creamy and delicious! You may need to squish the feta to better incorporate it. Top with a little cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes if desired!
Nutritional information is an estimate and for informational purposes only.