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Vegetarian Gnocchi with Lemon Basil Pesto Sauce

Vegetarian Gnocchi with Lemon Basil Pesto

Chickpeas, green vegetables, and gnocchi are smothered with a homemade pesto sauce in this delicious and healthy summer pasta dish!

Monday May 17, 2021

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Asparagus Chickpeas Garlic Gnocchi Green Beans Lemon Olive Oil Parmesan Parsley Peas Salt Spinach Tomatoes Walnuts

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Although gnocchi is technically a type of dumpling, I like to pretend it is a pasta. Pretty much any pasta dish can be made better by replacing the pasta with gnocchi in my opinion. You say fettucine alfredo and I say gnocchi alfredo - I truly believe it should be classified as a pasta! In this case, we are taking a pesto pasta dish and using gnocchi instead. I love a good pesto penne, but the gnocchi in this dish really makes it extra special.

There are all sorts of good things packed into this vegetarian gnoocchi meal - chickpeas, green beans, spinach, peas, asparagus, and of course lots of parmesan cheese for good measure. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will really enjoy this dish - it is hearty enough to keep you full and so tasty!

Is this vegetarian gnocchi healthy?

If you are looking for a tasty, yet healthy meal to make then you have found it! Yes - this vegetarian gnocchi dish is packed full of green veggies, and the homeade sauce is low in salt - which is a win in my books!

What are the ingredients in this pesto gnocchi?

top down view of all the ingredients needed to make this gnocchi dish

The ingredients are simple enough, and easy to customize based on your tastes:

  • gnocchi - in this recipe I use one package of store-bought vaccum sealed gnocchi, but you can use homemade or frozen as well
  • chickpeas - a good quality can of chickpeas is my favorite for this recipe because I find them softer and tastier
  • peas - I opted for frozen peas but fresh would be tasty as well - do not used canned peas in this recipe they are too mushy
  • green beans - I used fresh green beans, but frozen would work nicely as well
  • asparagus - fresh is best for asparagus
  • tomatoes - I like to use vine tomatoes
  • spinach - fresh baby spinach is my favourite
  • pesto sauce - make your own or use your favorite store bought variety!
  • parmesan cheese - fresh grated (always!) for sprinkling on top when serving

How do I make this pesto gnocchi dish?

I tried really hard to make this dish as simple as possible to make:

Step one: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add gnocchi, chickpeas, peas, green beans, and asparagus and cook for 5 minutes or until gnocchi is cooked through

 

gnocchi is cooked in a large pot of water along with peas, green beans, asparagus, and

step two: drain the gnocchi, then add the tomates and the pesto sauce and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, or until the tomato starts to soften, then add the spinach and stir again

a collage of steps required for making vegetarian gnocchi

step three: serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

a close up of a plate of vegetarian pesto gnocchi

What is lemon basil pesto?

Lemon basil pesto in this case is a type of sauce or spread that is made from - you guessed it - lemon juice and basil! There are a few other ingredients in this version to help make it tastier (hello, garlic!) and smoother (olive oil!). There is also a type of basil known as lemon basil, and though this is not what I used in the recipe it would make a wonderful susbstition for the basil.

How to make lemon basil pesto?

It only takes 5 minutes and a handful of ingredients to make your own pesto, and while I definitely reccomend making it yourself you can use one to one and a half cups of store bought pesto in its place!

 

a top down view of the ingredients needed to make lemon basil pesto

the ingredients for this basil pesto are pretty basic:

  • basil and/or parsley or cilantro
  • garlic
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • walnuts (or pine nuts if you prefer)
  • lemon juice
  • salt

Making it is as simple as adding all ingredients to a food processor, then processing until smooth. You can even sample it once it is done blending and adjust to suit your tastes!

a top down view of all the ingredients for lemon basil pesto in a food processor

Can I make extra pesto to save?

You can (and should!) double the pesto recipe to save some extra pesto. A great way to store leftover pesto is to use an ice cube tray and save individual cubes of it so you can reheat just the perfect amount every time!

 

What else can I use this pesto for?

I prefer to use this pesto on pasta, or in this dish, but you can do all sorts of delicious things with it like spread it on a sandwich, mix it into some hummus, or make some pesto chicken! The possibilites are endless - one of the many things I love about pesto.

How to store and reheat the gnocchi leftovers?

The leftovers from this gnocchi dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing it as the veggies will go soggy and the gnocchi will turn mushy (but if texture doesn't bother you then go for it - haha!). To reheat, microwave until warm again and enjoy!

Can I use other veggies in this dish?

You can use whatever you like as the veggie portion of this dish. You could customize and add in green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini to change up the vegetables!


Vegetarian Gnocchi with Lemon Basil Pesto

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By: Natalie Kollee
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Lemon Basil Pesto:
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup parsley, cilantro, mint, or your favorite fresh herb (or more basil!)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • juice from half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Vegetarian Chickpea Gnocchi:
  • 1 package gnocchi (about 2 cups raw gnocchi)
  • 1 can chickpeas (about 1.5 - 2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1 cup lemon basil pesto sauce (or your favorite store-bought pesto)
  • 2 vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)

Directions

1.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients for the pesto and blend until smooth; set aside

2.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add gnocchi, chickpeas, green beans, peas and asparagus and boil for 5 minutes, or until gnocchi is cooked through

3.

Drain gnocchi and vegetables, then add the pesto and tomatoes, and cook over medium low for 5-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened

4.

Add the spinach, stir until wilted, then serve with some fresh grated parmesan


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Natalie Kollee

Hi I’m Natalie. I live in Ontario, Canada with my husband, daughter and our cat. Since I was little, I have always enjoyed discovering new recipes and sharing food with loved ones. When I’m not in the kitchen you’ll probably find me crocheting, reading, or crafting.


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