This tasty Instant Pot gnocchi with meat sauce is a hearty one pot dinner. Potato gnocchi combine with ground beef, green pepper, mushrooms and spinach in a creamy tomato sauce for a simple, delicious dinner that will be ready in about 30 minutes.
I love to make one pot dinners for my family. Easy dinners that can be cooked and served quickly and efficiently with little clean up are the best and appeal to my desire for quick, homemade meals.
Sometimes I make a one pot meal in a skillet, like Taco Rice Skillet and sometimes in the Instant Pot or slow cooker like Bangers and Mash. This recipe for gnocchi with sauce is another simple one pan dish.
In less than 30 minutes you can have an easy dinner the entire family will enjoy. Potato gnocchi make a hearty base for a creamy tomato sauce loaded with extra vegetables.
Gnocchi in Instant Pot
Gnocchi are one of my favorite ingredient to use in simple dinners. They are kind of a cross between potatoes and pasta, made from mashed potatoes, flour and eggs. They are like little pasta potato dumplings.
I like them because they seem a little bit fancier than pasta and make for a heartier dinner. They are excellent for cooking in an Instant Pot because they hold up well to the high pressure.
What Kind of Gnocchi Should I Use?
There are a number of different types of gnocchi you can buy at the grocery store. I used the basic potato gnocchi that you find in the pasta aisle. I think this recipe would also work well with refrigerated potato gnocchi.
You can also buy varieties using whole wheat flour, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and probably other types. I haven’t tried these, but as long as the cooking time for the gnocchi is less than 5 minutes you could certainly try them in the recipe and I’d expect decent results.
I’ve never made gnocchi from scratch, but even if I had I don’t think I’d use them in this recipe. I think they would be a little too fragile to hold up to pressure cooking.
Ingredients and Substitutions
In this recipe I pair the gnocchi with a basic Italian meat sauce made with ground beef, tomatoes, mushrooms and green pepper. You could easily vary the sauce by including different vegetables, like onions or carrots. I just use the vegetables I have on hand, which makes this a versatile recipe.
I prefer ground beef for the meat sauce but any ground meat would work. I have made this before with spicy Italian sausage, which is delicious. It would also work with ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey.
To finish off the recipe after it is cooked I add some marscapone cheese and spinach. The cheese melts and thickens the sauce to a nice creamy consistency. And the spinach wilts and adds extra nutrition and some nice color to the dish.
How to Make Instant Pot Gnocchi
1. Brown the Beef and Veggies
The first step is to brown the beef in the Instant Pot. I love the Saute feature of the Instant Pot, because it means I don’t need to get a frying pan dirty to make this meal.
Brown the beef and once most of the pink is gone add the garlic, mushrooms, peppers and spices. These should saute for a few minutes until they soft and start to look cooked.
For ground beef or sausage I don’t add any extra oil to the Instant Pot during sauteing, because there is plenty from the meat. If you are using a very low fat substitution like 98% fat free chicken you might need to add a few tablespoons of oil while browning.
2. Deglaze the Instant Pot
Once everything is browned turn the Instant Pot off. Then add the beef broth to the pressure cooker. Stir to deglaze the Instant Pot and make sure there are no bits of browned beef or vegetables stuck to the bottom.
If you don’t deglaze the Instant Pot you might end up with a burn error, so take the time to scrape the bottom.
3. Pressure Cook the Gnocchi
Next add the gnocchi to the Instant Pot, followed by the tomatoes. Don’t stir these ingredients after adding them.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the sealing ring is in place and the valve is closed. Set it for Manual, high pressure, for 3 minutes.
It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure. Once it has finished cooking let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
4. Add the Spinach and Cheese
After the 5 minutes turn the valve to release any remaining pressure manually. Add the spinach and marscapone cheese to the Instant Pot. Stir to mix everything, replace the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes the heat will have melted the cheese, thickened the sauce and wilted the spinach.
Can I Make this Ahead of Time?
This isn’t really a meal that does well with making ahead of time or reheating. Gnocchi tend to get kind of rubbery when they are reheated. If you are going to reheat leftovers it will taste better if you heat it on low heat on the stove in a sauce pan rather than microwaving it.
What to Serve With Gnocchi
This Instant Pot Gnocchi is a complete dinner on its own, although a green salad or crusty bread are a nice addition to any Italian meal. I like to garnish the gnocchi with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley or basil.
This easy recipe is perfect for a busy day. It cooks quickly and makes a nice pasta dinner that is different from basic spaghetti but not much more difficult to make!
Find More Instant Pot Dinner Ideas
- 1 pound ground beef
- 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup beef (or chicken) broth
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces potato gnocchi
- 1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 4 Tablespoons marscapone cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute. Add the ground beef and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until there is not much pink left, about 6 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, green pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt. Cook, stirring, for another 4 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and add the broth to deglaze. Stir, scraping the bottom of the Instant Pot and make sure there are no browned bits of meat or vegetables stuck to the bottom.
- Add the gnocchi, followed by the tomatoes. Don't stir the mixture.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the seal is in place and valve is closed. Set for Manual, high pressure, 3 minutes.
- It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure. After it is done cooking let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
- Release any remaining pressure manually and remove the lid. Stir in the spinach and marscapone cheese. Replace the lid and let the meal rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve, topped with Parmesan cheese and parsley or basil.
You can substitute other vegetables like carrots or onions for the mushrooms and green pepper.
Cream cheese works as well as marscapone cheese.
Other types of ground ground meat work well, like sausage, ground pork, turkey or chicken. If you use a low fat ground meat like ground chicken you might need to add 2 Tablespoons of oil to the Instant Pot to brown the meat.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 737Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 679mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 7gSugar: 7gProtein: 44g
Nutrition facts are estimates.