This pesto gnocchi recipe is everything you want in an easy dinner meal. It’s only 6 ingredients, cooks in one pot, and the gnocchi is perfectly creamy, cheesy and pillowy! It’s a great meatless dinner that takes under 15 minutes and requires no prep time. It can also be easily made gluten free and dairy free!
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Why This Recipe Works
- Pesto gnocchi is so easy! There are only 6 ingredients needed to make it, and it all cooks in just 10 to 15 minutes in one pan!
- This gnocchi with pesto recipe is vegetarian, and a really great meatless recipe to have for dinner or serve as a pasta side with a meal. It can also be made gluten free and dairy free.
- There are many ways to customize creamy pesto gnocchi, including options like adding diced chicken, chopped bacon or using different kinds of pesto such as kale pesto or sun dried tomato pesto.
- Looking for more easy gnocchi recipes? Check out Garlic Chicken Gnocchi Skillet, Cheesy Broccoli Gnocchi Skillet and Creamy Sausage Gnocchi Soup
Ingredients in Pesto Gnocchi
The ingredient list for making creamy pesto gnocchi couldn’t be easier. The recipe is made up of very common, standard kitchen ingredients that are both affordable and easy to source. You will need 1 pound of gnocchi, 1/3 cup of pesto, heavy cream or half and half, chicken or vegetable broth, minced garlic and parmesan cheese.
Salt and pepper is added to taste, and you can opt to add more cheese and fresh basil to garnish, but those are completely optional. You can also add meat such as diced chicken, ground sausage or chopped bacon if you want to add a more substantial protein.
Gluten Free Gnocchi
Pesto gnocchi can be easily made gluten free by picking up a gnocchi that is gluten free! Not all potato gnocchi options are being it’s typically made with eggs, flour and potatoes. When you’re shopping for your gnocchi, simply make sure to go for a brand or selection that is. You can find them at many major grocery stores or online.
There are three gluten free potato gnocchi options I recommend: Sanniti Italian Gnocchi, DeLallo, and Le Veneziane. The other option for gluten free gnocchi is to use a vegetable substitution such as cauliflower gnocchi.
Best Jarred Pesto
There are so many different types of jarred pesto that can be picked up at your local grocery store. Some are better than others, and being pesto is the star of this dish, the quality does matter. Our favorites are jarred pesto from DeLallo, Filippo Berio, Cucina & Amore, and ROI Pesto for a dairy free option.
You can also use a different type of pesto to change up this gnocchi recipe. They make so many different types of pesto sauces now, so you can use one that sounds great to you! Ones I recommend include Tomato and Ricotta Pesto, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, or Creamy Kale Pesto.
Homemade Pesto Sauce
If you find yourself with an abundance of basil that you need to use up, or just feel like making your own pesto sauce instead of purchasing it, you’re in luck because blending up a pesto sauce is quick and easy to do!
You simply need to add 2 cups of basil leaves, 2 heaping tablespoons of pine nuts and 2 cloves of garlic to a food processor and blend until everything is finely minced. Then, slowly pour in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil while the food processor is running and blend until smooth. Lastly, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan. Just like that you have your own basil pesto sauce to add to your gnocchi!
How to Make Pesto Gnocchi
There are only 4 simple steps to follow to make your creamy pesto gnocchi. The entire meal comes together in about 10 minutes, with no real prep time being there’s nothing to chop or prepare, and cooks all in one skillet for easy clean up!
The first step to making creamy pesto gnocchi is to add your pesto and minced garlic into a skillet over medium high heat. Make sure to use a large enough skillet that will hold the liquid from the cream and broth. You’ll saute the pesto with the minced garlic for about a minute until the garlic is fragrant, and then pour in the broth and cream.
Mix the broth and cream together with the pesto and bring it to a light simmer. Once it’s gently bubbling, reduce the heat down to medium. Carefully add in the gnocchi and stir to mix it into the sauce.
Cover the skillet with a lid and let the gnocchi cook for about 5 minutes. After those 5 minutes, remove the lid and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. The creamy pesto sauce will reduce and thicken as the gnocchi finishes cooking.
Once your creamy pesto sauce has reduced down and the gnocchi is cooked though, add in the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir to melt the cheese into the sauce and if the sauce becomes too thick, you can thin it out a bit by adding about 1/4 cup of cream or broth. Remove it from the heat and add any optional garnishes you’d like!
Pesto gnocchi can be served as a side dish or on it’s own as a meal. If you’re serving as a side, gnocchi is a great compliment to roasted, smoked or braised chicken, pork chops or beef roasts. When served as a side, it can easily feed 4 people, and when served as a main meal, it will feed 2 for an 8 ounce serving of pasta.
How to Store Pesto Gnocchi
If you have leftover pesto gnocchi to save, or are using it as a part of meal prep, the first step in storing it is to let it cool completely after cooking. Once it’s cooled, add the gnocchi into air tight containers with the sauce and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I do not recommend freezing this gnocchi recipe because while gnocchi can be frozen, the dairy in this recipe can separate upon thawing.
Gnocchi is an Italian pasta which is actually more of a form of dumpling made out of potatoes. Potato gnocchi are typically made from eggs, flour and potatoes and once cooked they are soft, chewy and pillowy. They can be served and enjoyed with all types of sauces, cheeses, and meats, just like a pasta noodle would.
Pesto gnocchi can be made gluten free by choosing a gnocchi that is gluten free. Not all potato gnocchi options are, so simply make sure to opt for a brand or selection that is. You can find them at many major grocery stores or online.
There are three gluten free potato gnocchi options I recommend: Sanniti Italian Gnocchi, DeLallo, and Le Veneziane.
The other option for gluten free gnocchi is to use a vegetable substitution such as cauliflower gnocchi.
In order to make this recipe dairy free, you will need to opt for a dairy free pesto sauce. I recommend this vegan pesto, or this vegan pesto. Both are very good. You will also need to use either coconut cream or a dairy free milk in place of half and half, along with a dairy free parmesan. They are simple swaps and still keep the same texture and flavor profile of the dish!
Yes, other types of gnocchi can be used to make pesto gnocchi besides the potato gnocchi and gluten free gnocchi options listed above. There are dozens of types of gnocchi available, so you can choose one at the store or online that sounds good to you. There’s ricotta gnocchi, spinach gnocchi, pumpkin gnocchi, beet gnocchi, cauliflower gnocchi, basil gnocchi and more.
Yes! You can absolutely add a meat protein to this recipe. You can make it into a pesto gnocchi with chicken by dicing chicken and searing it to add into the gnocchi skillet, you can add ground sausage (spicy sausage or italian sausage are our favorites), chopped bacon, sliced kielbasa or rope sausage, or ground beef.
Other Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:
- Cajun Salmon Pasta
- Meatless Baked Ziti
- One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Shrimp Rasta Pasta
- Instant Pot Pesto Chicken Pasta
PS. If you’ve made this recipe, don’t forget to rate this recipe and let me know in the comments how you liked it!
- 1/3 cup pesto
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 16 ounces potato gnocchi
- 1/2 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- Optional, to garnish: fresh basil, extra parmesan
- Add the pesto and minced garlic into a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute together for about 1 minute until the garlic becomes fragrant, and then add in the broth and cream
- Bring the sauce to a light simmer and once it starts bubbling, add in the gnocchi and turn the heat down to medium
- Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, uncover and stir. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes uncovered, stirring frequently, as the sauce reduces and thickens
- Once the sauce has reduced down and the gnocchi is cooked, stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. If the sauce comes too thick, you can thin it out again by adding about 1/4 cup cream or broth. Serve with optional fresh basil and additional parmesan
- You can add additional ingredients to your pesto gnocchi such as pine nuts, spinach or kale, cherry tomatoes, chicken or chopped bacon
- Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side
Keywords: pesto gnocchi, gnocchi pesto, pesto gnocchi recipe, gnocchi with pesto
- Serving Size: 8 ounces
- Calories: 490
- Sugar: 2 g
- Fat: 30 g
- Saturated Fat: 16 g
- Carbohydrates: 40 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Cholesterol: 90 mg
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