#MeatlessMondays – Gnocchi with Seco sauce

Throughout my years as a vegetarian, many friends have shared with me their failed attempts at becoming veggie, too tempted by the piercing smell of a BBQ, a pollo a la brasa, and the likes. But there was never any of that in my experience, because I thankfully got all the support I could’ve wished for in my house. The usual pan for lunch became 2 pans from the moment I decided to quit meat: one with “normal” food, and one with the vegetarian version of “normal” food. I did not have to stop enjoying all the flavors I had grown up with and loved, because every effort was put into helping me eat the way I was used to, but sans the animal protein.

When I started cooking for myself years later, I felt confident in the kitchen because I had been geared up with lots of delicious ideas to keep eating my favorite dishes despite the “inconvenience” of being vegetarian. That said, I started my cooking days as a stick-to-the-recipe kind of girl, but I think I’ve come a long way from then. Now that I blog about food, I have become more adventurous and creative, and like to mix, match and change stuff more often than I used to. 

Today’s meal, inspired by my mom’s Seco de Pescado recipe from The Everything Peruvian Cookbook, is a good example. The easiest way to turn any dish vegetarian is by replacing the meat with a vegetarian protein such as tofu, soy meat, or portobello mushrooms. But instead of doing that, I turned the potatoes that usually accompany this traditional entree into gnocchi, and left the meat completely out of the formula. I really liked what came out of this, and it brought me back to the seco taste of my childhood that I hadn’t enjoyed in a very long time. Most importantly, I had fun!

What’s your favorite and most creative way of turning a dish vegetarian?

Gnocchi with Seco sauce
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ají amarillo paste (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ cup cilantro leaves, blended with ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup fava beans or green peas, cooked
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring until very tender (about 5-7 minutes).
  2. Add ají amarillo paste, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cilantro paste, salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable stock, put the lid on, lower the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cooked fava beans or green peas and keep warm.
  5. In the meantime cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water. They are ready when they float.
  6. Drain and combine with the sauce.
  7. Serve with Parmesan cheese.


  1. Riquísimo. Yo no soy vegetariana pero cada vez como menos carne. De hecho, ahora que he mudado el blog me he dado cuenta de la gran cantidad de recetas vegetarianas que publico y basicamente ahí pongo el día a día de mi cocina.
    Hoy en el restaurante peruano que te comentaba en Google +, una de mis amigas se pidió el seco con carne y quería probarlo, pero le dije que sin carne. Así que gracias por esta receta que me dan tantas ganas de hacer en casa.

    • Vero, como ya sabrás, mi hija es vegetariana desde pequeña, así que siempre se han hecho versiones vegetarianas de todos los platos posibles. Esta salsa es super versatil y se puede servir de muchas maneras diferentes. A mí me encanta con arroz, lo que me lleva a pensar que un risotto con salsa de seco es una idea deliciosa!


  1. […] Although Jorge’s seco sauce was a component of a chicken stew, I was able to try some sans chicken and decided I would include a vegetarian version of this recipe courtesy of Peru Delights: […]

  2. […] Recipe Notes The nutrition analysis seems to be off on this, I'm not sure why. The gnocchi is about 240 calories per serving, the oil has 120 calories per tablespoon, or 80 calories per serving, aji paste has 5 calories per tablespoon, veggies and broth are going to be negligible, so you're actually looking at about 450 or so calories per serving on this.Adapted from Peru Delights  […]

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