Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole on a Boat

Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole ⚓ Wife on a Boat

With the cooler weather, comfort food like casseroles and pasta just sound good. And this Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole fits that bill perfectly!  But it makes a lot which is something I usually avoid since we live on a boat.

But the leftovers are so good – perfect for another dinner or a few lunches. And it’s easy to share! I’m not kidding – the first three times I made this casserole, I spontaneously shared it with someone.

First time’s a fluke?

The first time, I shared some with my next-door boat neighbour who gave me the gnocchi that led to creating this recipe. He lives alone and while he cooks on his boat, I’m pretty sure this is something he wouldn’t make. He enjoyed it and even brought me more gnocchi!!

Second time’s a coincidence?

The second time, even though it was a hot summer day, I was craving this lasagna. Then I found out other boat neighbours were leaving unexpectedly to visit her mom in the hospital. They were busy tying up loose ends for their 12 hour trip the next morning. So they joined us from dinner – it was one less thing for them to look after in a stressful time.

Third time’s a tradition!!

The third time was the most random sharing though. Handsome Hubby and I were in Sidney at the beginning of a late-summer cruise. Again, I had a craving for this dish and thought the leftovers would make easy meals at anchor or after a long passage. Weirdly, that day’s sunny, summer weather quickly changed to cold wind and rain (it wasn’t in the forecast). So a hot dinner turned out to be a great idea.

As I was getting ready to serve our dinner, a sailboat started to dock in the slip opposite us. Handsome Hubby quickly jumped outside to offer assistance with lines and help the duo land safely. We chatted with them briefly and they mentioned their eight hour cruise had been challenging with deteriorating weather. We’ve been there and I know that the last thing I want to do after a day like that is make dinner. So we invited them to join us. And while they were a little surprised by the offer, they accepted.

Based on this history, the official name may be Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole, but I’m thinking of changing it to The Sharing Casserole. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s just darn good!

Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole ⚓ Wife on a Boat

Making Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole on a boat

Making this on a boat is easy. I use my large Le Crueset dutch oven so it’s truly a one-pot meal. I make it in my Magic Chef propane oven but I’m sure it could be adapted for the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

The only thing is the volume of food. It makes a a lot!! But it freezes well and the leftovers are great for lunch or a second dinner. Plus it’s great to feed a crowd or share with friends and even strangers.

Boat Tested and Tasted!

This Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole was boat tested and tasted on a 1978 Tollycraft 37 Sedan using a MagicChef Propane Oven. See other boat tested and tasted recipes.

Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole

This Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole makes a lot!! But it’s so good and easy to share with friends and strangers!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 portobello mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (diced (red or yellow))
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • pinch fennel seeds
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese (grated or diced)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 can (19 oz) white beans (drained (or cook from dry in advance))
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1 lb gnocchi (fresh, frozen or shelf stable)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (for topping the casserole)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large oven safe heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sliced portobello mushrooms and cook until just starting to release their liquid (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add onion and cook until onion begins to soften (about 5 minutes), Add garlic and saute for another minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste and spices. Stirring constantly, cook until onions and mushrooms are well coated and the spices are aromatic (1 to 2 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (with juices) and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  5. Cook on medium-high heat to bring sauce to a simmer for about 15 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly.
  6. Turn heat off and add spinach while stirring to wilt the spinach. Add the beans and gnocchi and incorporate well. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and remaining 1 tbsp basil.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cheese browned. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

This Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole was boat tested and tasted on a 1978 Tollycraft 37 Sedan using a MagicChef Propane Oven. See other boat tested and tasted recipes.

Stay safe and happy cruising!

Vegetarian Gnocchi Casserole ⚓ Wife on a Boat

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