This pan fried pesto gnocchi is the perfect family-friendly midweek meal. Crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle with a garlicky spinach and basil pesto - this is comfort food at its finest.
I love gnocchi, but boiling it just makes it stodgy and mushy. A much better alternative is to pan fry it! Pan fried gnocchi crisps up so beautifully in just a small amount of oil, but it still stays soft and fluffy on the inside.
I've paired this gnocchi with a spinach and basil pesto. It only takes about five minutes to make this gluten and nut free pesto, and it's the perfect complement to crispy gnocchi.
- Spinach: Use fresh spinach. Frozen won't work here.
- Basil: A small amount of fresh basil really lifts the flavor this pesto.
- Garlic: Two cloves of garlic will give your pan fried pesto gnocchi a lovely garlicky taste. If you don't like the taste of garlic, you can reduce or omit it.
- Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds replace the pine nuts that are traditionally used in most pesto recipes, making this recipe accessible to allergy sufferers.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice brightens your pesto up, giving it a zesty, tangy flavor.
- Salt: Salt enhances all the other flavors.
- Olive Oil: Choose the best quality olive oil you can afford. It's a major component in the pesto sauce, and an extra virgin olive oil will give you the best flavor.
- Gnocchi: You can make your own gnocchi, or go the easy route as I do, and buy it chilled or frozen.
How To Make Pan Fried Pesto Gnocchi
- Put your spinach, basil, minced garlic, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, olive oil and salt into the bowl of your food processor. Blitz it until you have a smooth pesto.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan. Saute the gnocchi until it's browned and crispy on the outside. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Add your pesto to the pan with the gnocchi, and turn everything over with a spatula to ensure all the pan fried gnocchi is coated in the pesto.
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Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
No, most gnocchi is made using flour as a binder. The pesto is gluten free.
Put it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay fresh for 2-3 days.
Yes, you can freeze it in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Do not defrost it before using it. Simply saute the frozen gnocchi in a bit of hot olive oil.
No, you don't. Simply pan fry it from fresh or frozen. No boiling is necessary.
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Crispy Pan Fried Pesto Gnocchi
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup basil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound gnocchi
- Make the pesto by combining the spinach, basil, garlic, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a smooth pesto forms.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Spread the gnocchi out evenly in the pan and saute until crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Add the pesto to the gnocchi and gently turn the gnocchi over with a spatula to ensure even coating. Heat through for 2 minutes.