Gnocchi with Lighter Tomato Cream Sauce (gluten-free option)

This gnocchi with lighter tomato cream sauce only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is so simple, quick and delicious.

I’ll get back to actual baked stuff next week, but for now, I just had to share this gnocchi with you.

Gnocchi is something I only discovered recently and I love it. What I do not love is my failed attempt at making it. So many people say it’s really easy, but mine was just a disaster. So this recipe uses the kind you find in the refrigerated or frozen section. Hooray!

This cream sauce recipe is so quick and easy that Mr. Texanerin made it for me. This was actually supposed to be one of his Even He Can Do It! posts but he’s a bit tied up. Hopefully next week, you’ll find out why. ;)

Gnocchi with Lighter Tomato Cream Sauce - this only takes a few minutes to put together but it tastes like it took hours! With a gluten-free option.

I saw this lighter tomato cream sauce recipe a few weeks ago and sent it to Mr. Texanerin. Kind of as a joke. Kind of not.

But he actually made it for me a few days later.

Looking at the ingredients, you’d probably never figure that this is so delicious. But it really is!

The red pepper flakes add just a little spiciness and the cream cheese? Wow.

I wish I would have known about this cream cheese in pasta sauce business sooner! I’ve been missing out. I also recently made some healthier fettuccine alfredo with cream cheese and that was pure heaven. I don’t often make sauces with heavy cream (not that I mind fat) but I don’t see any reason to ever again.

Don’t like or can’t find or don’t want to make homemade gnocchi? Use pasta! 8 ounces will do it.

The recipe calls for crushed tomatoes, but if you have a lot of tomatoes to use up and you need to preserve them, here’s how to can tomatoes. Then you’ll have them on hand for whenever you’re in the mood for this gnocchi.

I hope you’ll enjoy the recipe! If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments below. Thank you!

Gnocchi with Lighter Tomato Cream Sauce

  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 22 ounces (600 grams) gnocchi (use this gluten free potato gnocchi recipe for a GF version)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz (800 grams) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces (125 grams) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan or Pecorino Romano


  1. Prepare the gnocchi according to the instructions on the package. For the kind I buy, all you do is put them in boiling water and let them boil about 2 minutes until they're floating.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Then add the garlic and stirring occasionally, cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the can of crushed tomatoes, salt, and red pepper flakes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cream cheese and basil, stir, and then add in the prepared gnocchi. Top with Parmesan and serve.

Adapted from Cooking Light

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67 comments on “Gnocchi with Lighter Tomato Cream Sauce (gluten-free option)” — Add one!

  • Danica says
    June 29, 2014 @ 2:40 am

    Do you have any recommendations for store bought gnocchi?

    • Erin replies to Danica
      June 29, 2014 @ 10:46 pm

      I wish I did but I live in Germany so unfortunately I’m no help. All of the refrigerated ones here are awesome and weirdly enough, the ones at Aldi are my favorite (though I’m sure the ones at Aldi in the US are different). Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

  • Marci says
    September 20, 2013 @ 1:11 am

    Made this tonight….quick, easy and OMG soooooo good!! Thanks so much for posting this!!!

  • Amelia says
    September 12, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

    There are few things I love more than gnocchi. Can’t wait to try it with a light-ish cream sauce. Mmmmmm!!!

  • foodwanderings says
    August 11, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    I agree with you making gnocchi is not as easy as it seems. Ironically the first time I made it years ago was perfection the rest disasters so I gave up. Your Mister did a great job with this vibrant and flavorful looking sauce.

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    April 19, 2013 @ 4:52 am

    Love gnocchi! Wonder what would happen if I sent this to my husband. He would probably say – "yeah, looks good, when are we having it for dinner." :)

  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
    April 17, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

    Love gnocchi and that tomato cream sauce sounds incredible! This is a perfect weeknight meal!

  • says
    April 17, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

    I really like the simplicity of this dish. Simple is often best. I haven't had gnocchi in for ever but maybe now I will :-)

  • Jessica - The Novice Chef says
    April 17, 2013 @ 3:20 am

    I can already tell I am going to be obsessed with this. That photo is perfect!

    • Erin replies to Jessica – The Novice Chef
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

      Thanks, Jessica! :) And this sauce is a good thing to be obsessed with. Better to be obsessed with tomato sauce than the bacon beer bread I'm about to post. ;)

  • Lora CakeDuchess says
    April 16, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

    My kids adore gnocchi. It's such a fun and fast dinner idea and so good with a cream sauce:)

    • Erin replies to Lora CakeDuchess
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

      I love them with any kind of sauce! I wish my mom would have introduced me to gnocchi. You're a good mom. :D

  • Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations says
    April 16, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    Oh yummy! I've never attempted making gnocchi, probably because I quite like the store-kind ;)

    • Erin replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

      Hehe. I know, right? Why bother?! But I guess there are people out there who say, "Who bother with making a cake? Cookies? Brownies? The ones at the store are fine!"

  • Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings says
    April 16, 2013 @ 5:24 am

    Nice! This takes me back to a vacation in Rome :) Definitely worth a place in my weekly repertoire of family meals. So easy to make and so delicious to eat! Gnocchi is such a joy to eat – whether pre-made or homemade (but I usually reserve home made for weekend projects!).

    • Erin replies to Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

      Ah, Rome. I've never been there. I've been to Tuscany twice and LOVE it but I've heard so many mixed things about Rome. I suppose I need to go and find out for myself!

  • Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } says
    April 16, 2013 @ 5:22 am

    Just got home from work and I am hungry. Now I am even more hungry after reading your post and admiring this dish. Gnocchi are my favorite pasta dish and your sauce is perfection.

    • Erin replies to Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet }
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

      Thank you, Lisa! I think gnocchi might be my favorite pasta now too. So easy to make and ah… those little pillows of goodness! Yum. :)

  • Carla Walker says
    April 15, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

    Mmm, this looks awesome! And I cant wait to hear the news about the hubs! On the edge of my seat now haha! In the meantime, Ill go make me some of this pasta!

    • Erin replies to Carla Walker
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

      Haha. I think you might actually already know what he's up to! If not, I really need to catch up with our emailing. Yikes.

  • Annie @ Annie's Noms says
    April 15, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    I love gnocchi! I'm always looking for new recipes to go with it and this looks great, I love that you use cream cheese in the sauce too :) I have made my own gnocchi, but most of the time I need a quick dinner and they're way too fiddly so I end up buying it! Definitely be having a gnocchi night here soon! :)

    • Erin replies to Annie @ Annie’s Noms
      April 17, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

      I love the word fiddly. :D I hope you can try out this recipe. It's quick and easy and super yummy. :)

  • Jean | Lemons & Anchovies says
    April 15, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    I've had great luck with Michael Chiarello's recipe. I wasn't much of a fan of gnocchi until I tasted his version and now his is the only one I use (posted on the blog). That said, if I can save myself the time of making them and end up with these, I'm all for it. Love the sauce. :)

    • Erin replies to Jean | Lemons & Anchovies
      April 15, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

      Oh! I'll check out that recipe. Thanks for the tip. :) I'm not against homemade gnocchi… just scared of it! But if you say it works, I'll try. :D

  • Kelly Senyei (Just a Taste) says
    April 15, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

    Yum! I just made some homemade gnocchi over the weekend, and this will be the perfect complement! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog says
    April 15, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    I have yet to make gnocchi. What's up with that? Your version looks absolutely delish!

  • Mihai says
    April 15, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

    Oh yes, when it comes to Italian food I'm all in :D… can't wait to try this myself!

    • Erin replies to Mihai
      April 15, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

      I hope you'll enjoy it! Let me know how it comes out. :)

  • MadSCAR says
    April 15, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

    Love it! Thanks :)

  • london bakes says
    April 15, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

    I love gnocchi – it's one of my staple weeknight suppers and really like the sound of this sauce to go with it!

    • Erin replies to london bakes
      April 15, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

      It's lovely, isn't it? And so quick when it comes out of a bag. :)

  • Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen says
    April 15, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    This looks so delicious, thank you for the recipe!

  • Tracey Wilhelmsen says
    April 15, 2013 @ 2:41 am

    I've only made gnocchi at home a few times, and while I love it, my husband wasn't impressed so we don't have it much these days. I'll have to come to your house next time instead, this looks fantastic!!

    • Erin replies to Tracey Wilhelmsen
      April 15, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

      Haha, yes. I make the gnocchi and you bring that lemon cake of yours that I LOVE. :D

  • Angela AnotherBitePlease says
    April 14, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

    i made gnocchi at home and turned out pretty ugly looking ha ha…but covered in this sauce none is the wiser.

  • Rose says
    April 14, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

    Uh… how would NOT figure this is delicious by looking at the list of ingredients?! Great find! As always, I love your photos :)

    • Erin replies to Rose
      April 15, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

      Thanks, Rose! I thought that the ingredient list is kind of bla. But I guess that's just me. ;)

  • Anne@FromMySweetHeart says
    April 14, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    Erin…this looks like what I should be eating for lunch today! I love gnocchi, but have yet to attempt it for myself! Maybe one day! I bet that cream cheese adds such a richness to this dish! Beautiful photos! Happy to have discovered you! : )

    • Erin replies to Anne@FromMySweetHeart
      April 14, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

      Thanks, Anne! I'm happy to have discovered you as well. :) And you have to try this sauce, even if you get the gnocchi from the store like me. :D

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
    April 14, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

    This is so lovely! What an awesome recipe!

  • Becca says
    April 14, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

    I've never tried gnocchi, but it does look really good. And this recipe looks so cream and great. I've never heard of putting cream cheese in pasta sauce!

    • Erin replies to Becca
      April 14, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

      Oh, Becca! You have to try gnocchi. And this sauce! It's super easy. Totally doable in your dorm (or wherever you're living now :))

  • ashley - baker by nature says
    April 14, 2013 @ 6:10 am

    I ready to hop a plane to your house for dinner! This looks amazing, lady!

  • Patty Price says
    April 14, 2013 @ 2:51 am

    Yummy bowl of gnocchi Erin! I wish I could get my husband to make me dinner-now that would be something to look forward to…can't wait to get fresh basil out of the garden-will bookmark this recipe (for my Hubs,ha-ha!) for this Summer, thanks for sharing;-)

    • Erin replies to Patty Price
      April 14, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

      Oh darn. Is this more of a summer recipe?! I'm awful at this whole seasonal thing. Berries, I know. Pumpkin spice and gingerbread…. sure. But I need to learn some more about the other seasonal things. :)

  • Valerie says
    April 14, 2013 @ 2:49 am

    It's so unbearably frustrating when something that's supposedly easy – fails. Grrr. :D Looks like you made a speedy recovery with this beautiful dish! Just in time for dinner too!

    • Erin replies to Valerie
      April 14, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

      Thanks, Valerie! And I agree. SO frustrating!

  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen says
    April 14, 2013 @ 1:19 am

    My husband introduced me to gnocci, and I just love it too! Thanks for the great sauce recipe, I can't wait to make this :)

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says
    April 14, 2013 @ 12:26 am

    Mr T is a cool guy, you're lucky he's cooking. I'm curious what's going on that he's so tied up. You can make gnocchie in a very easy way, I hope I'll make it for you one day or better, Mr T. will make it for us :D

  • Tara says
    April 14, 2013 @ 12:08 am

    Yum! We made this tonight and it was so fast and easy. And SO delicious, I think you just found my new go-to pasta sauce.

    • Erin replies to Tara
      April 14, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

      You made it already?! That's awesome. :) I'm happy that you enjoyed it! Thanks a ton for leaving feedback. :D

  • The Café Sucré Farine says
    April 13, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    Don't feel bad Erin. I've made gnocchi and had it turn out wonderful and I also had a total disaster once. I made it in advance for a dinner party and when I put it into the boiling water, it disintegrated. I had to very quickly come up with a plan B as the guests were waiting for dinner! Love your sauce – it sounds wonderful!

    • Erin replies to The Café Sucré Farine
      April 14, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

      Oh wow. That sounds awful with the dinner party situation. Exactly why I do not like dinner parties. I'm impressed you came up with something else! :)

  • says
    April 13, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

    Oh wow this looks yummy, and I like a light cream sauce. I will have to try this recipe out for my family who loves Italian food.

  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies says
    April 13, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

    I've never tried to make gnocchi at home… I just know it'd be a disaster. Totally love the premade stuff I can get at the store — this sauce sounds amazing for it! I love cream cheese in a tomato sauce. Question though, you have cream cheese listed twice in the ingredients, is that right?

    • Erin replies to Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies
      April 13, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

      Oh goodness. Thanks for catching that! The one time Mr. T doesn't check my post and look what I did. ;) And I agree, the stuff from the store is delicious. I can't imagine it being even better! Thanks again for pointing that out. :)

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
    April 13, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

    I *love* gnocchi, can't wait to try this! :)


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