A hearty, cheesy and comforting gnocchi bake packed with bites of halloumi cheese and melt in the mouth roasted vegetables! This is a flavor packed vegetarian meal which can be personalised to your tastes and is sure to be a hit. This recipe gives you an ideal way of using up what’s in your fridge to create an amazing family meal!
Introducing My New Favorite Fridge Cleaner-Outer
Gnocchi! Halloumi! Two of my favorite things unite. With a tray of roasted veggies along for the ride to transform them into a super delicious, nutritious family meal.
My veggie lineup is very Mediterranean including pepper, eggplant (aubergine) and cherry tomatoes with a handful of fresh basil. But I’ve tried it many different ways with many different things. So you can definitely mix this up! Use what you’ve got.
This recipe is not of the “quick and easy” kind, given that you need to roast all the veggies before assembling it. It is simple and forgiving though, and has a lot of downtime, so it’s a project you can tackle without too much stress when you have the time to spare for multitasking at home.
Ingredients: How to build and customize your Halloumi Gnocchi Bake
- Gnocchi: dried gnocchi is what I tested this recipe with.
- Halloumi: any ol’ block of halloumi cheese.
- Canned tomatoes: I am using Mutti brand here which has a great flavor to it. I would encourage using high quality tomatoes here if possible because anything too bland or watery will compromise the end results. Canned cherry tomatoes or tomatoes with flavor infused (such as garlic or basil) are also great options.
- Garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey come together to make a marinade for the veggies.
- Mozzarella: For the all important crispy topping.
- Butter: adding butter to the sauce will help bring out the flavors of the tomatoes.
Basically, you’re going to fill one baking tray with vegetables + one casserole dish with tomatoes to roast in the oven. You can mix and match, but this is my lineup:
- Eggplant (aubergine): This one is divisive – it’s certainly not my favorite vegetable, but when roasted with the marinade? It is shockingly good.
- Peppers: These join the eggplant on the roasting tray and turn melty and delish. I’ve used red, yellow, green, bell peppers or romano peppers, and you can’t really go wrong. Any peppers are great.
- Cherry tomatoes: These roast directly in the casserole dish that the gnocchi will eventually be added to and form the base of the sauce. They provide delicious bursts of sweet jammy goodness.
What else could you add / swap?
- Other veggies to roast: Mushrooms and zucchini would work well.
- Other veggies to mix in just before baking: Frozen peas or corn, leafy greens such as spinach or kale.
I personally like to use the more Mediterranean style veggies that turn soft, juicy or melt in the mouth when roasted. I tend to avoid things like cauliflower, broccoli or green beans which are more chewy and tough as I feel they wouldn’t blend in so well, but if you are going to use them, I would suggest you chop them quite finely.
Questions & Troubleshooting
Can I make this without roasting the veggies?
Hmm. So yes, you CAN make this by simply sauteeing all of the veggies and adding them to the casserole dish instead of roasting everything. I have tried it both ways, a few times each, and I just never loved it when the veggies were sauteed. The eggplant especially was a lot better roasted.
Can I make this creamy?
YES. Adding a little pour of double cream, or a swirl of mascarpone, in Step 7 (before adding the mozzarella topping) is delicious.
Can I use pasta sauce instead of tinned tomatoes?
Yes. If you do this, you can omit the honey from the roasted cherry tomatoes because we don’t want it to end up too sweet.
Can I make this spicy?
For sure! Adding some harissa paste to the sauce (in Step 6) would be an amazing upgrade. Chopped chili or dried chili flakes roasted with the veggies would be other great ways to add a kick.
More Flexible Veggie Packed Bakes
Veggie Halloumi Gnocchi Bake
- 400 g (14 oz) cherry or grape (baby plum) tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into small cubes
- 250 g (9 oz) halloumi cheese, cubed
- 500 g dried gnocchi
- 400 g (14 oz) canned tomatoes
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
- 30 g (2 tbsp) salted butter
- 200 g (2 cups) grated mozzarella
For the marinade
- 7 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.7 tbsp olive oil, 6 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Prepare the tomatoes for roasting. Put them into a casserole dish (use the dish you'll be finishing the gnocchi bake in) and then pour half of the marinade into the dish, as well as the dried Italian herbs. Use a spatula to mix everything up and ensure the tomatoes are well coated.400 g cherry or grape (baby plum) tomatoes, 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl with the remaining marinade and mix to ensure they are well coated. Scatter across a baking tray.1 medium eggplant, 1 red pepper
- Place both dishes in the oven for 20-25 minutes, with the vegetables on the top rack. They're ready when the vegetables are browned and caramelized. Remove them from the oven and set aside while you cook the halloumi. (You can leave the cherry tomatoes in the oven for now)
- Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and pan fry the halloumi cubes until golden, usually this will be for 2 minutes on each side.250 g halloumi cheese
- Now remove the cherry tomatoes from the oven. Add the halloumi and the roasted vegetables to the pan with them and mix to combine.
- Add the gnocchi, butter, canned tomatoes, basil and vegetable stock. Season generously with salt and pepper. Give it one last stir then cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes.500 g dried gnocchi, 400 g canned tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh basil, 250 ml vegetable stock, 30 g salted butter
- Remove from the oven, uncover and stir. Most of the vegetable stock should have evaporated and the gnocchi will be soft and plump. Add the mozzarella to the top. Replace in the oven until it's browned and bubbling.200 g grated mozzarella
- Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes and then serve.