This pesto gnocchi is packed with fresh vegetables and covered in a creamy and flavorful basil pesto. It is super easy to make, tastes amazing, and is absolutely perfect for a weeknight dinner!
If you love quick and delicious pasta recipes, then this pesto gnocchi recipe is for you! All you need is your favorite potato gnocchi, basil pesto, and vegetables you love.
This dish is super delicious, nourishing, and just perfect on busy weekdays!
Pesto Gnocchi Ingredients
To make this pesto gnocchi, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Potato gnocchi: Use regular potato gnocchi to make this recipe. I haven’t tried it with sweet potato gnocchi yet, but I think it should be a delicious alternative!
- Basil Pesto: You can either use store-bought basil pesto or make your own basil pesto. For the homemade basil pesto, you’ll need pine nuts, garlic, basil leaves, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. All of these ingredients are important for making pesto, so I recommend sticking to the recipe.
- Vegetables: In this recipe, I used cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, yellow bell pepper, zucchini, and baby spinach. If you like these vegetables, I recommend using all of them! They really make this dish extra special and go super well with the pesto, gnocchi, and feta cheese.
- Lemon: Lemon juice is another must as it brightens the flavor of this dish and brings everything together. So don’t forget to add it!
- Feta cheese: Another ingredient that makes this gnocchi with pesto extra delicious is feta cheese. So make sure you add it!
How to make pesto gnocchi
Pesto gnocchi is super easy to make and ready in only 30 minutes. Just follow these steps:
- Prepare the pesto: First, roast the pine nuts in a pan over medium-high heat. Then add the pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Blend until the pesto is creamy with some chunks left.
- Sauté the vegetables: Next, preheat some olive oil in a large pan. Add the cherry tomatoes and mushroom and let them brown in the pan. Give them an occasional toss to prevent them from burning. Then add red bell pepper and zucchini and sauté until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the gnocchi: In the meantime, cook the gnocchi until it has softened a little.
- Combine: Transfer the gnocchi to the pan. Add the pesto, pasta water, and baby spinach. Toss until everything is combined.
- Finish and serve: Now add the lemon juice and feta cheese. Carefully toss to combine everything. Then serve and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Here are a few tips to make sure that your basil pesto gnocchi turns out perfectly!
- Let the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms brown. I know that it can be hard to let vegetables cook without stirring anything. But this allows them to brown and become extra delicious, so give them an occasional stir and let the vegetables brown.
- Don’t overcook the gnocchi. Gnocchi cooks very quickly, so make sure to keep an eye on them and only start cooking them when the vegetables are almost done. You want them a little undercooked before adding them to the pan. You can also sauté them in the pan with the vegetables, but I prefer gnocchi when it is cooked in boiling water and then tossed with the other ingredients.
- Save some pasta water and use as much as needed. This is just a quick reminder to keep some of the water the gnocchi cooked in! It is perfect for making the pesto creamy and delicious without adding any heavy cream. Plus, it makes the sauce cling to the gnocchi beautifully, so save some pasta water!
- Don’t skip the lemon juice. The lemon juice really makes a difference, so please make sure to add some! It just makes everything taste more balanced and super delicious.
I recommend sticking to most ingredients and combinations in this recipe, but here are a few things you can change depending on your preferences.
- Vegetables: I absolutely love the combination of vegetables in this pesto gnocchi recipe! But if there is a vegetables you don’t like, feel free to replace it with something you like. There really is no need to eat things you don’t enjoy.
- Add protein: You can enjoy this recipe as is or add more protein. Since I really like baked chicken breasts, I’ll often just season two chicken breasts and bake them at 425 °F for 20 minutes. Then I’ll cut them into slices and serve them with this basil potato gnocchi. Another option is searing fish filets and serving them with this gnocchi.
- Add heavy cream: If you love using heavy cream to make pasta sauces, feel free to add some to this pesto gnocchi! I think this pasta dish tastes perfect the way it is, but it really is a matter of personal taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you definitely can! Just skip the feta cheese and buy vegan basil pesto. It is usually made with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. And vegan pesto can be just as delicious! Or make your own homemade vegan basil pesto. There are quite a few recipes online, so feel free to pick one and use it to make vegan pesto gnocchi!
Gnocchi is usually vegan as it is mostly made from potatoes and wheat flour. But please check the ingredient list to be sure.
This depends on the potato gnocchi you buy. There are gluten-free options available in grocery stores, so feel free to use one of them to make gluten-free pesto gnocchi!
Yes, this recipe works with store-bought pesto. Since the pesto I made is creamier than most store-bought pestos, I recommend adding more olive oil and/or pasta water as needed. I really like to make my own pesto as it is super quick and easy to do (and it tastes super good!). But feel free to skip this step and use the store-bought version!
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can reheat them using a microwave or stovetop. You might have to add some water to make the pesto creamy again.
More simple and delicious pasta recipes
If you love quick, simple, and delicious pasta recipes, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are some of my all-time favorites that I love to make for dinner.
- Vegan Penne alla Vodka
- Tortellini Alfredo
- Pesto Spaghetti Salad
- Creamy Fettuccine Bolognese
- Cajun Salmon Pasta
- Food processor for the pesto
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 yellow bell pepper cut into thin slices
- ½ zucchini cut into quartered slices
- salt and pepper to taste
- 21 ounces potato gnocchi
- 1 cup baby spinach roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons pasta water more as needed
- lemon juice to taste
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 2 cups basil leaves
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, roast the pine nuts in a pan over medium-high heat. Then add them to a food processor alongside the other basil pesto ingredients. Pulse until the pesto is creamy with some chunks left.
- Next, preheat some olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes to one side of the pan and the mushrooms to the other side. Toss them occasionally and let the tomatoes blister and the mushrooms brown.
- When the tomatoes and mushrooms have browned, add the yellow bell pepper and zucchini. Sauté until they start to soften. Then season with salt and pepper and toss.
- While you sauté the vegetables, cook the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes. They should still be firm but slightly softened.
- Transfer the gnocchi to the pan. Add the pesto, pasta water, and baby spinach. Toss until everything is combined.
- Now add some lemon juice and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Carefully stir in the feta cheese and enjoy!