Vegan Gnocchi Pesto on a plate next to a bowl of bread crumbs with a spoon applying breadcrumbs
Main Dishes Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Gnocchi Pesto with Veggies

What is Vegan Gnocchi Pesto?

Vegan Gnocchi Pesto is an easy weeknight-friendly dish that is super-easy to customize. It comes together in very little time and is a nice fresh dish perfect for Spring.

Ingredients in Vegan Gnocchi Pesto:

  • Prepared Gnocchi
  • Olive Oil
  • Panko style breadcrumbs
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Orange, yellow or red bell peppers
  • Fully cooked soy meatballs or sausage links (these are optional if soy meats are not your thing)
  • Prepared pesto
  • Cherry tomatoes
Vegan pesto Gnocchi

What is Gnocchi

Gnocchi (pronounced nyoh-kee) is a type of small potato dumpling that is a traditional Italian dish. It is typically made from a mixture of boiled and mashed potatoes, flour, and sometimes eggs, that is formed into small bite-sized dumplings. Gnocchi can be served with a variety of sauces, including tomato-based sauces, creamy sauces, or pesto sauce, and can be cooked by boiling or pan-frying.

Gnocchi has a soft and pillowy texture and a slightly sweet flavor, with a mild potato taste. It is often served as a main course or side dish and is popular in Italian cuisine.

Can Vegan Gnocchi Pesto be made Vegetarian or Vegan?

Yes. Here are the things you will need to consider to make sure you are meeting your dietary needs.

  • Gnocchi: Most Store-bought gnocchi is vegan & vegetarian friendly, but be sure to check as brands may vary.
  • Breadcrumbs: should almost always be fine for either vegetarians or vegans
  • The herbs & veggies are good to go!
  • Pesto: Here we hit our first big need for a swap.
    • Vegetarians. I used this one which is vegetarian friendly. Any basil pesto of your choice will most certainly be vegetarian-friendly.
    • Vegans. Traditional pesto sauces, including the one I recommend for vegetarians, are rarely vegan as they almost always contain cheese. Compagnia and Amore both make really good Vegan-friendly pestos.
  • Meatballs/Sausage
    • Clearly traditional beef, chicken, pork or turkey meatballs or sausage will not work for either vegans or vegetarians so here we have some options.
      • Omit this entirely. Just serve the gnocchi with pesto, veggies and breadcrumbs and skip the meatballs entirely.
      • For Meatballs, I used these Vegan & Vegetarian-Friendly Meatballs
      • For Sausage, these from Beyond Meat or these Loma Linda Big Franks might be good alternatives.
Vegan pesto Gnocchi

Ideas to Customize Vegan Gnocchi Pesto?

  • Swap the seasonings. Try some rosemary or chili powder.
  • Add some green bell peppers
  • Add some chunks of onions to mix up the vegetables
  • Add some carrots
  • Swap the meatballs for some sausage links, sliced thickly.
  • Swap the basil pesto for a tomato pesto or this combo pack of hatch chili pesto or lemon artichoke pesto
Vegan Gnocchi Pesto

How to make Vegan Gnocchi Pesto?

Heat your oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook the gnocchi as directed.

Add the oil to a small skillet and warm over medium-high. Add the bread crumbs and toast.

Combine the gnocchi, the oil, the seasoning and bell peppers. Put on a sheet pan allowing room at one room. Add sausage links or meatballs at the open end of the sheet pan.

Roast for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir. Roast 15 minutes more.

Slice the sausage (and meatballs if desired). Return to pan and add the pesto and gently stir.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Serve warm.

How to store leftover vegan gnocchi pesto?

  1. Place the leftover gnocchi in an airtight container. Airtight containers help prevent the gnocchi from drying out and absorbing odors from other foods in the refrigerator.
  2. Store the gnocchi in the refrigerator for up to three days. Make sure to place the container in the coldest part of the fridge, which is usually the back of the bottom shelf.
  3. Reheat the gnocchi before serving. To reheat, you can either microwave them for a minute or two or place them in a saucepan with a little bit of water or sauce and heat them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through.

It’s worth noting that leftover gnocchi may not be as tender as when freshly cooked and may lose some of their texture. Therefore, it’s best to consume them within a day or two for optimal taste and texture.

What to serve with Vegan Gnocchi Pesto?

  1. Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and bell peppers can add a pop of color and flavor to the dish. Simply toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they are tender and caramelized. These Lemon Roast Veggies would be a great choice.
  2. Garlic Bread: A slice of garlic bread is the perfect side to dip into the creamy pesto sauce. You can make your own garlic bread by slicing a baguette and spreading garlic butter on each slice, then toasting in the oven until golden brown. Our Air Fryer Texas Toast would work perfectly!
  3. Salad: A fresh and colorful salad can balance the richness of the pesto gnocchi. Try a simple side salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
  4. Sauteed Mushrooms: Sauteed mushrooms add an earthy flavor and texture to the dish. Simply saute the mushrooms in a pan with garlic and olive oil until they are browned and tender.
Vegan Gnocchi Pesto on a plate next to a bowl of bread crumbs with a spoon applying breadcrumbs

Vegan Pesto Gnocchi

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 16oz package gnocchi
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers
  • 1 package fully cooked meat balls or 2 sausage links
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes


  • Heat the oven to 400. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  • Cook the gnocchi as directed on the package. While that is cooking, chop the peppers in approximately 1" squares.
  • Place 1T of the olive oil in a small skillet and warm to medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a small bowl. Stir in the garlic powder and Italian seasoning and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the gnocchi, the remaining olive oil, the salt & pepper and the peppers. Stir to coat and place on the prepared sheet pan, leaving room on one end for the meatballs or sausage. Add meatballs or sausage to the other end.
  • Roast 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and gently stir the whole mixture. Roast an additional 12-15 minutes until gnocchi are beginning to brown and sausage or meatballs are cooked through.
  • Slice sausage (or meatballs, if desired). Add the pesto atop the sheet pan and gently stir. Serve topped with the breadcrumbs.

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