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.
Craving More Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes?
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.