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Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

January 28, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
Never make another boring easy meatless weeknight meal again with this delicious Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli!

Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

This Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli is sure to keep you comforted and satisfied throughout any season and it's guaranteed to be a hit. A great weeknight option or comforting weekend addition for the entire family, this creamy dish boasts of it’s major flavor factor and comes loaded with tender, soft potato gnocchi, hint of garlic flavor, major lemon-y + pesto vibes, herbs + seasonings, kale, and perfectly sautéed broccolini. Vegan + Gluten-Free options.

Plate of Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love.

There's not much to say when it comes to this dish. It's just SO delicious. I've recently become a fan of gnocchi and so I'm currently testing great ways to enjoy it. While I've heard that making gnocchi from scratch tastes that much better, I've really enjoyed the store-bought version from Delallo, which has been easy to cook and really good. But I will try making them from scratch soon! Stay tuned. Haha. Overall, this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli recipe is by far on my top list of deliciously creamy dishes for a quick dinner. Plus, this oven-baked Garlic Chicken Broccoli Gnocchi Recipe and Skillet Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Gnocchi is one for the books too!

And if you're into soup and gnocchi, then this amazing combo from my Creamy Garlic Chicken Gnocchi Soup is the perfect thing to try ASAP!

This Creamy Gnocchi is super easy to make, only uses a few staple ingredients, ultra creamy, velvety, and flavorful. Plus, it comes with a vegan + gluten-free option.

What is Gnocchi and How Do You Make It?

Gnocchi are basically Italian dumplings made with flour, eggs, and potatoes---unless they are egg-free like this one that I purchased from Delallo foods. When it comes to making your own gnocchi, the process is done is fairly a few steps. It starts with boiling and mashing the potatoes, combining the ingredients together and kneading them into a ball, shaping the dough, cutting them into pieces, and boiling and draining the gnocchi. For a great recipe, check out AllRecipes.com.

Lover of Pesto? Try My Top 4 Recipes!

Vegan Cheese Polenta with Pesto + Chickpea

Vegan Pesto Egg Avocado Toast

Broccoli Pesto Grilled Cheese

Pesto Pasta Bake

Ingredients for Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli including vegetable broth, lemons, heavy whipping cream, and garlic

How to Make Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

To make this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli, you'll start by boiling the gnocchi until they're tender and float to the top of the water. Then, you'll need a skillet on the stove to sauté the broccolini or broccoli until darkened and wilted. Lastly, you'll whip together the sauce in a larger skillet, let it simmer a bit, add the cheese, followed by the drained gnocchi, kale, and broccolini and wallah! Nice, creamy results.

Ingredients for Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

Here's what you need to make this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli at home:

  • Gnocchi. You can make them yourself or purchase a quality store-bought version from Delallo Foods. For a gluten-free version, simply use gluten-free gnocchi.
  • Broccoli. I love using broccoli or broccolini. You'll be sautéing or roasting them to perfection!
  • Kale. I like to add additional greens to this dish. You can sub with spinach, collard greens, etc.
  • Vegetable stock. Use store-bought low-sodium broth or make your own!
  • Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! Of course, for a vegan option, just use full-fat coconut cream/milk.
  • Butter. I recommend unsalted. You can always substitute with olive oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil. For a vegan option, use vegan butter.
  • Garlic. I prefer fresh, but you could substitute with 1 Tablespoon garlic powder in a pinch for a bold flavor. You can also roast a garlic bulb for greater flavor.
  • Herbs + Seasonings. A great addition of flavor. Adds such savoriness from the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and basil.
  • Lemon juice + zest. This helps to give the bold lemon-y flavor + adds a bright note of citrus and acidity.
  • Parmesan. I love to freshly-grate my cheese, however, you can use your favorite shredded brand---quality does matter! You could also use pecorino romano. For a vegan option, So Delicious Dairy-Free or Violife cheese shreds tastes great.
  • Olive oil. A must for sautéing the broccolini.
  • Pesto. You can easily make your own or use a premium store-bought version from Whole Foods or Rao's.
  • Walnuts. This adds a nice crunch as a garnish. I like to toast it for nuttier flavor. You can sub with pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, etc.

Chopped broccoli and garlic on a cutting board with a knife

5 REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS CREAMY GNOCCHI!

  • It's packed with flavors from the sauce and gnocchi that is entirely meatless, but can also be enjoyed with meat and works for any type of eater.
  • Super easy to make and quick.
  • Full of earthy, nutty, + delicious flavor! (The best reason!)
  • Very kid-friendly (has a great nut-free option).
  • Comes with a vegan and gluten-free options for those with sensitivities.
  • Done in just under 30 minutes---hello weeknight meal goals!

Ingredients for Easy Pesto

The star of this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi dish is the creamy and bright green pesto. Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Basil. This leafy green has bold earthy flavor. You can also add in kale or spinach for a nice leafy green + herb balance.
  • Parsley. This leafy green adds extra bold earthy flavor---totally optional.
  • Walnuts. These are soft enough to blend easily into your pesto to make it fluffy and creamy.
  • Garlic. I recommend fresh---about 4 cloves will do!
  • Olive oil. A must in any great pesto.
  • Lemon juice. This helps preserve the bright green color and adds a bright note of citrus.
  • Parmesan cheese. This helps to give the sauce a “cheesy” flavor. However, for a dairy-free + vegan option, you can always use nutritional yeast instead.
  • Red pepper flakes. this is optional, but I like bit of heat.

Nut-Free Pesto

Traditionally, pesto contains nuts. However, you can substitute the walnuts in this recipe with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.

Bowl of chopped kale

What Can I Add to This Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi

I like to add some extra texture to creamy dishes like this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi. While the ingredients in this creamy dish is perfect as is, I wanted to share a few more ideas of ingredients that you can add incase you make this gnocchi recipe more than once and want to switch things up!

Other ingredient ideas include:

  • Kale or spinach instead of broccolini or broccoli
  • Crispy bacon (if you're not plant-based, of course)
  • Grated cheese like mozzarella, pecorino romano, etc. (vegan or regular if you're not vegan!)
  • Crispy sage leaves (for the topping)
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Beans (White beans, etc.)
  • Top with Homemade Croutons for a nice crunch
  • Seafood (like shrimp, salmon, lobster, etc.)
  • Sausage or beef
  • Cooked chicken breasts (shredded or sliced thin)

Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli being stirred with a spoon

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS CREAMY GNOCCHI!

Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli. Everything from my fave baking sheet, dutch ovens, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Can I Add More Veggies?

Definitely! This is a great recipe to mix and match the ingredients/toppings. For added nutrients, fiber, and color, add your favorite veggies.

You can add roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, asparagus, green peas, roasted herb tomatoes, mushrooms, or leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens). All will be delicious!

Closeup of Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli being stirred with a spoon

What to Eat + Serve Creamy Gnocchi With?

When it comes to most pasta dishes (including this creamy lemon pesto gnocchi dish), I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade Garlic Bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other options such as:

  • A delicious Salad
  • Sautéed Greens
  • Grilled Veggies
  • Toasted Bread

Overhead shot of two plates of Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

How to Store Leftovers

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply microwave for a minute or two or add to a skillet over medium-high heat and stir until heated through.

Can I Make this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi Vegan and/or Gluten-Free?

Yes! Of course. To make this creamy gnocchi vegan, be sure to substitute the butter with vegan butter, heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk, gnocchi with a vegan-friendly version, and cheese with nutritional yeast and/or dairy-free cheese shreds.

To make this creamy lemon pesto gnocchi GF-friendly, simply substitute the gnocchi with a gluten-free version and ensure that other ingredients are GF-friendly and you use GF bread on the side, if using.

Amazing Meatless Recipes to Try!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli, tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea!

Overhead shot of two plates of Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

Closeup of Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli being stirred with a spoon

Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

January 28, 2023
5 from 2 votes
Never make another boring easy meatless weeknight meal again with this delicious Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz.) package potato gnocchi, homemade or store-bought (I like to use Delallo foods)
  • 2-3 cups broccoli or broccolini, ends trimmed
  • 2 cups chopped kale, organic (You can also use frozen kale, if desired.)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil

SAUCE:

  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ cups organic heavy cream (See Notes for Vegan option)
  • ½ cup pesto sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • ¼ cup organic vegetable stock/broth
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • Chopped walnuts, toasted (You can use your favorite nuts or seeds if desired)

Instructions

BOIL THE GNOCCHI:

  • In a medium-sized saucepan over medium high-heat, fill it with water about ¾ of the way. Once boiling, add the gnocchi and let it boil for 4-5 minutes or until all gnocchi begins to float at the top. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

TO SAUTE THE BROCCOLINI/BROCCOLI:

  • In a medium skillet (10-inch) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once heated, add the broccoli or broccolini followed by the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, basil, and oregano, tossing them as they begin to "darken" in color and become wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

TO MAKE THE CREAMY SAUCE:

  • In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter until it melts and minced garlic to sauté frequently about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add in the pesto followed by: heavy cream, veggie stock, lemon juice, and lemon zest, stirring until combined and the sauce becomes smooth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it slightly bubble for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the grated parmesan, whisking until fully melted and sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the drained gnocchi to the sauce along with the sautéed broccolini or broccoli, kale, stirring until sauce fully coats + sticks to both. Let it cook another 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately and garnish with your favorite toasted nuts or seeds!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply microwave for a minute or two or add to a skillet over medium-high heat and stir until heated through. 
  • GREENS: To add a bit more flavor (and color) to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, collards, or asparagus. 
  • MEAT OPTION: If you'd like to switch things up and aren't restrictive to non-meat, feel free to add chicken breasts, salmon, shrimp, or lobster to this pasta for extra decadence. You can also enjoy this dish entirely meatless.
  • EQUIPMENT: Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli. Everything from my fave high-powered blender, baking sheets, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more.
  • PESTO [HOMEMADE]: If you'd like to make your pesto sauce from scratch, be sure to read the RECIPE POST for info!
  • NUT-FREE: Traditionally, pesto contains nuts. However, you can substitute the walnuts in this recipe with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version. 
  • VEGAN + GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: To see both options, see RECIPE NOTES!

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2382IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 1mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli.

Script text: Xx, Shanika

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    • Hi Maeve! Wow---I'm so happy that you enjoy this gnocchi recipe! It's definitely a staple in my house! Thanks so much for choosing to make it! 🙂

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