Vegan Gnocchi with Pistachio Pumpkin Seed Pesto

July 29, 2014

Vegan Gnocchi with Pistachio Pumpkin Pesto

Gnocchi is one of my favorite dishes at Italian restaurants.  These scrumptious, chewy dumplings are a comfort food for me but typically contain eggs.  After craving this dish one day, I decided to challenge myself to create a healthy but restaurant worthy gnocchi dish of my own.

This process is more labor intensive than just boiling water for spaghetti noodles, but the results are definitely worth it.  You can cook the potatoes the day before and mash them up in order to split the work.  However, with some good music playing and a glass of wine nearby, you won’t even mind spending the time to make this delicious meal!

Vegan Gnocchi

5 small red potatoes

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

1/3 cup coconut milk

3 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375, scrub potatoes, pierce with a fork and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until fully cooke

2. Take the potatoes out of the oven and let cool slightly

3. Place the potatoes in your food processor along with the milk, garlic, salt and pepper (you can mash the potatoes by hand if you prefer, but I found it made a smoother dough this way)

4. Slowly add the flour a little bit at a time and mix well to combine.  Add more or less flour as needed.  The dough should hold together but not be too stick

5. Roll the dough into a ball and cut into four sections, then take each of the sections and roll them into a snake

6. Cut the snake into 1 – 1 1/2 in pieces and roll over them with the tines of a fork

They are now ready to cook!

7. Place into a pot of boiling water, once the gnocchi floats to the top, it is done cooking


Saute in a pan with some coconut oil and cook until they are lightly browned.  Cooking them this way leaves them crispy on the outside but warm and chewy on the inside


As a sauce I used up some leftover pesto that I had in the fridge.  Traditional pesto contains pine nuts and parmesan cheese.  Pine nuts can be pricey and difficult to find so I like to experiment and try out other nuts. Instead of Parmesan you can use nutritional yeast, but I find that if you just add more garlic it works just as well.

Pistachio Pumpkin Seed Pesto

2 cups fresh basil

1/2 cup pistachios

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic

juice of 1/2 lemon

sea salt


1. Place all ingredients, except for the oil into the food processor

2. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the oil, pulse until everything is finely chopped and well mixed

3. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks


After tossing the gnocchi in the pesto, I added some arugula and topped it with roasted heirloom tomatoes.  The peppery flavor of the arugula worked beautifully in this dish and the tomatoes added just a touch of unexpected sweetness.

Vegan Gnocchi with Pistachio Pumpkin Pesto


Also by Kathryn: How to Make the Best Summer Salad – plus 3 variations!

Also see: Raspberry Basil Chia Jam

Vegan Sushi Bowl with Carrot Ginger Dressing

Portobello Steak Frites




Photos: Chelsea Sarle, Kathryn Farrugia

Kathryn is a vegan cook and nutrition consultant based in Los Angeles. She uses yoga in the park, runs by the beach and hikes through the mountains to connect and inspire creativity that she brings to her dishes. She is determined to make the world a healthier and happier place one meal at a time. Read more at ZENutrition or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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