High Protein Gnocchi Recipe: A Nutritious Twist on a Classic Italian Dish

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Gnocchi, a traditional Italian dish, is beloved for its pillowy texture and rich, comforting flavors. Traditionally made from potatoes and flour, gnocchi is a versatile dish that can be paired with a wide range of sauces and ingredients for endless culinary possibilities. However, traditional gnocchi is relatively low in protein. For those looking to increase their protein intake without sacrificing taste, this high-protein gnocchi recipe offers a nutritious twist on the classic.

Why High Protein?

Increasing protein in your diet offers several health benefits. Protein supports muscle repair and growth, maintains healthy skin, and aids in producing essential enzymes and hormones. It may also help you with weight management by consuming a diet rich in protein to promote your metabolic rate. Adequate protein intake is vital for athletes, bodybuilders, or anyone aiming to build muscle. Making sure your dietary intake comprises an adequate variety of protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and nuts can play a pivotal role in achieving your health and fitness objectives.

image illustrating Ingredients for High Protein Gnocchi

Ingredients for High Protein Gnocchi

We need to adjust the traditional recipe to create a high-protein version of gnocchi. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

For the Gnocchi:

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese (high protein)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • One large egg
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour (for added fibre and protein)
  • 1/2 cup of chickpea flour (high in protein)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (optional for flavor)

For the Sauce:

  • Use two or three tablespoons of olive oil at max
  • Use three to four cloves of garlic, and make sure you mince properly
  • Use 1 and half cup of cherry tomatoes, and it should be halved
  • Use 1 cup of baby spinach leaves and make sure they are fresh
  • Use 1/2 or 1 cup of boiled or shredded chicken breast, (always optional for some extra protein)
  • Use 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Use Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Making the Gnocchi

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

  1. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and an egg until fully combined.
  2. Gradually add whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, salt, black pepper, and optional nutmeg. The dough will be formed by stirring for a while.You may throw in extra chickpea flour if you feel the dough is too sticky.
  3. Now put the dough onto your slab or wherever you feel is a good surface to knead the dough. Avoid over-kneading to prevent the gnocchi from becoming tough.

Step 2: Shape the Gnocchi

  1. Separate the dough into four equal parts. Now next step is to roll out each dough part into a long rope and make it at least about 1/2 inch thick or as per your preference.
  2. Cut each of them rope-shaped dough into pieces (preferred 1-inch). For better sauce adherence, you may also press each piece with a fork to create ridges
  3. Continue until all dough is shaped into gnocchi pieces, ready for cooking.

Step 3: Cook the Gnocchi

  1. Boil the salted water in a large bowl or pot. Add the gnocchi in small batches to avoid overcrowding.
  2. For about 2-3 minutes, cook the gnocchi until they float to the top.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked gnocchi to a plate.

Preparing the Sauce

Step 1: Sauté the Vegetables

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Now throw the garlic that you minced and cook it for about 50-60 seconds on low heat until it starts giving out a pleasant smell. You know how fragrant it becomes when you cook garlic, just Yum!
  2. Now throw in the cherry tomatoes and cook for at least 4-5 minutes, until soften.

Step 2: Add the Spinach and Chicken

  1. Stir in the baby spinach leaves and cook until wilted about 2 minutes.
  2. If using, add the shredded chicken breast and cook until heated through.

Step 3: Combine with Gnocchi

  1. Combine the prepared gnocchi with the sauce in the skillet, gently mixing to ensure even coating.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper according to your taste preferences and throw in the diced basil into the mixture and cook.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Divide the gnocchi among serving plates. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and extra fresh basil if desired.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy your high-protein gnocchi!

Nutritional Benefits

This gnocchi recipe boasts ample protein content, offering both flavor and nutritional benefits. Here’s a closer look at the nutritional benefits:

  1. Ricotta Cheese: Rich in protein and calcium, ricotta cheese adds creaminess to the gnocchi while boosting its protein content.
  2. Parmesan Cheese: Adds a savoury flavour and extra protein.
  3. Whole Wheat Flour: It helps with digestion and makes your tummy full as it is rich in fibre.
  4. Chickpea Flour: A high-protein, gluten-free flour that adds fibre and essential nutrients like iron and magnesium.
  5. Olive Oil: Provides healthy fats that are crucial for heart health and the absorption of nutrients.
  6. Garlic and Spinach: Both ingredients are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, supporting overall well-being.
  7. Chicken Breast: A fantastic lean protein source, aids in muscle repair and growth.
  8. Cherry Tomatoes and Basil: These ingredients enhance the flavor while adding extra vitamins, contributing to the dish’s nutritional value.

Tips for Making Perfect High-Protein Gnocchi

  1. Use High-Quality Ingredients: The taste and texture of your gnocchi are greatly influenced by the quality of the ingredients you use. Use fresh ricotta and high-quality Parmesan for the best results.
  2. Don’t Overwork the Dough: Kneading the dough too much can make the gnocchi tough. Mix until just combined and smooth.
  3. Cook in Batches: To prevent the gnocchi from sticking together, cook them in batches in a large pot of boiling water.
  4. Serve Immediately: Gnocchi is best served fresh. If you need to reheat, do so gently in a skillet with olive oil or sauce.


This high-protein gnocchi recipe is versatile and can be adapted to suit your tastes and dietary needs:

  1. Vegetarian Version: Omit the chicken and add more vegetables, such as mushrooms or zucchini, for a vegetarian version.
  2. Gluten-Free: Opt for a gluten-free blend or chickpea flour as a substitute for whole wheat flour.
  3. Different Sauces: Pair the gnocchi with various sauces, such as pesto, marinara, or a creamy Alfredo sauce.
  4. Protein Boost: Add other high-protein ingredients like tofu, tempeh, or lentils for an extra protein boost.

Storing and Reheating

Use an airtight container to store the leftover gnocchi in for up to two-three days in the refrigerator. For reheating, sauté the gnocchi in a skillet with olive oil or your preferred sauce over medium heat until thoroughly warmed. Avoid using the microwave, as it may result in a rubbery texture


This high-protein gnocchi recipe is a nutritious and delicious way to enjoy a classic Italian dish while boosting protein intake. Its tender texture and rich flavors are bound to make it a favorite in your meal rotation. This high-protein gnocchi will unequivocally help you maintain a healthy diet, build muscle, or you may simply enjoy this as a delicious meal. Give it a try and savour the benefits of this wholesome, protein-packed dish.

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