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

Vegan Pesto Gnocchi

What is Vegan Pesto Gnocchi?

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.

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Vegan pesto Gnocci

Can Vegan Pesto Gnocchi 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.

Ideas to Customize Vegan Pesto Gnocchi?

  • 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

How to make Vegan Pesto Gnocchi?

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.

Gnocchi Pesto on a plate next to a bowl of bread crumbs with a spoon applying breadcrumbs

Vegan Pesto Gnocchi

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
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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