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Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas

March 17, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
This Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas is the perfect family dinner that comes bold in flavor, yet so easy to make!

Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas

This Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas will be ranked one of the best dishes eaten in your household, believe me----it's that good! This recipe comes based with tender gnocchi coated with a creamy pesto sauce made from broccoli and topped with roasted blackened chickpeas that create such a beautiful texture together. This dish surely boasts of bold flavors that marry so well together for one great bowl of goodness. Entirely meatless. Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-free options.

Plate of broccoli pesto gnocchi with chickpeas

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

When it comes to easy, simple meals during the week, I'm always game! I'm such a firm believer in even the most simplest meals still having that flavor factor because every dish is meant to be enjoyed and not just consumed, right? At least that's my own personal motto. Haha. Anyway, this Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas is one of those dishes that are so easy to make, but the flavor is major! I promise that you won't be disappointed here!

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.

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! Plus, this Skillet Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Gnocchi is a delicious new way to enjoy gnocchi!

Overall, this Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi dish is super easy to make, only uses a few staple ingredients, creamy + smooth, quick, and absolutely 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

Creamy Lemon Pesto Gnocchi with Broccoli

Broccoli Pesto Grilled Cheese

Pesto Pasta Bake

How to Make Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas

To make this Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas, you'll start by roasting your broccoli florets with your chickpeas after seasoning each separately until they are crisp and charred. Then you'll begin boiling the gnocchi until they're tender and float to the top of the water. Lastly, you'll whip together the pesto sauce in a food processor, then add the cooked gnocchi to a bowl with the pesto + heavy cream, stir until creamy, and wallah! Serve it up nicely topped with crispy blackened chickpeas!

Ingredients for Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi with Chickpeas including broccoli, olive oil, and lemon

Ingredients for Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas

Here's what you need to make this Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas 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.
  • Chickpeas. Remove as much moisture from the chickpeas as possible for the crispiest texture.
  • Broccoli. I love using broccoli or broccolini. You'll be roasting them to perfection before making the pesto out of them.
  • Parsley. I like to add fresh parsley to make my pesto sauce, but you can keep things traditional with fresh basil. Also, you can use kale, cilantro, etc.
  • Blackened seasoning. You can use a store-bought version or make your own blend easily.
  • Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! Of course, for a vegan option, just use full-fat coconut cream/milk.
  • 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 in your pesto.
  • Herbs + Seasonings. A great addition of flavor. Adds such savoriness from the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and basil.
  • Lemon juice. This helps to give the bold lemon-y flavor + adds a bright note of citrus and acidity to your pesto.
  • 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, quality dairy-free cheese shreds tastes great.
  • Olive oil. You can also use Grapeseed oil or coconut oil as well.
  • Walnuts. This adds a nice nuttier flavor to your pesto. You can sub with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option or keep it traditional with pine nuts.

Nut-Free Pesto

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

Ingredients for Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi with Chickpeas including garlic, chickpeas, and spices

5 REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS PESTO 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 35 minutes---hello weeknight meal goals!

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!

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS PESTO 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 Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas. Everything from my fave baking sheet, dutch ovens, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Broccoli and chickpeas on a baking tray with a spoon

Blackened Seasoning Blend

Sure, you can find pre-made seasoning blends at the grocery store. But there's nothing like the fresh, customized flavor you get by making your own blend. The herbs and spices in the Blackened spice mix for this recipe are inspired by my love for bold flavor, rather similar to cajun seasoning (except that blackened seasoning isn't as spicy).

You can Store the seasoning blend in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months as you would your regular ones. Use it on anything from simple roasted vegetables to salad dressing to herb oil for dipping bread or other meats/meat alternatives.

What You'll Need:

  • Smoked paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried oregano
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar

NOTE: For the smoked paprika, you'll use about 1 Tbsp, while you'll need ½ teaspoon for the cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon for everything else.

Broccoli pesto in a food processor with a fork

Why Chickpea? Any Health Benefits?

For those of you who aren’t aware, another name for Chickpeas are Garbanzo Beans. Despite the most recent craze, chickpeas have been around for thousand of years and originate from the Middle East.

Chickpeas have such a great texture and nutty flavor, which allows them to successfully pair well with a lot of other ingredients, especially in vegan and/or vegetarian recipes.

When it comes to the health benefits of Chickpea, here a few awesome reasons why you should probably add this simple ingredient to your diet more often:

  • Packed with Nutrients + have a moderate amount of calories!
  • Rich in Plant-Based Proteins!
  • Support Blood Sugar Control.
  • Full of Fiber + might aide digestion.
  • May protect against Chronic Diseases (such as heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.)
  • May Help keep your appetite under control (Think about how protein + fiber helps to slow down digestion, therefore keeping you full longer!).

Two plates of broccoli pesto gnocchi with chickpeas

Roast (Bake) Those Veggies For More Flavor

In this pesto sauce, I chose to roast the broccoli first instead of boiling or steaming for more additional flavor! Knowing how to roast all vegetables (in general) perfectly is definitely a learned skill. All veggies are different and they all have vast cooking times.

The most common rule of thumb is to roast thicker vegetables at a higher temperature because they can handle the heat. For example, potatoes or sweet potatoes can roast at a higher temp because of their thickness. Broccoli, on the other hand, lends well to a lower heat when cut into florets.

If you choose to roast your broccoli florets, you simply prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper, adding them to it and drizzling them with 2 Tbsps of olive oil and a few pinches of seasonings. Let them bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender, caramelized, and golden at the edges.

Remove them from the oven, let the cool a bit, and then add the broccoli to the food processor with the remaining pesto sauce ingredients and wallah!

Overhead shot of broccoli pesto gnocchi with chickpeas

How to Store Leftover Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas

Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated when ready to serve. To re-heat, add each serving to the oven, microwave, or stovetop until warmed through.

Can I Make this Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi Vegan + Gluten-free?

Absolutely! To make this recipe entirely vegan, simply substitute heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk. Also, substitute the parmesan cheese in the pesto sauce with vegan parmesan or dairy-free cheese shreds like mozzarella.

GUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make this recipe entirely GF, simply ensure that the gnocchi is GF-friendly.

Other Comforting Recipes You’ll Love!

My Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas is a smash hit, so if you like this one, you will love these recipes!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!

Two plates of broccoli pesto gnocchi with chickpeas

Plate of broccoli pesto gnocchi with chickpeas

Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas

March 17, 2023
5 from 3 votes
This Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas is the perfect family dinner that comes bold in flavor, yet so easy to make!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz.) pacakage cooked potato gnocchi, homemade or store-bought
  • ¼ cup organic heavy cream (You can sub with full-fat coconut cream/milk)

ROASTED BROCCOLI:

  • 1 head organic broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

BROCCOLI PESTO:

  • 2 cups roasted broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ lemon, freshly-squeezed
  • handful of fresh parsley (You can also sub with basil leaves or cilantro)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsps filtered water, if needed

ROASTED BLACKENED CHICKPEAS:

  • 1 (15 OZ.) can chickpeas, drained + rinse
  • 1 tablespoon blackened seasoning blend, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

TO MAKE THE ROASTED BROCCOLI + CHICKPEAS:

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and preparing a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the broccoli florets unto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil followed by: salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and basil, stirring until combined. Arrange in a single layer one side of baking sheet.
  • In a bowl, add the chickpeas, olive oil, and blackened seasoning, stirring until combined and chickpeas are fully coated.
  • Add seasoned chickpeas until the other side of baking sheet in a single layer. Bake everything for 10-15 minutes or until broccoli is charred and tender and chickpeas are crisp. Remove from oven.

TO MAKE THE BROCCOLI PESTO:

  • Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender (including roasted broccoli) and process (or blend) until combined and broken down. NOTE: If needed, add a bit of water (1 Tbsp), if too thick. The pesto should be 'paste-like' in consistency.

ASSEMBLY:

  • In a bowl, add the cooked gnocchi and pesto along with the heavy cream and stir until combined and creamy.
  • To serve, add spoonfuls of coated gnocchi followed by the crispy blackened chickpeas. Garnish with freshly-grated parmesan or parsley.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated when ready to serve. To re-heat, add each serving to the oven, microwave, or stovetop until warmed through. 
  • OILS: Instead of using Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can substitute with Grapeseed Oil, Avocado Oil, or Coconut Oil. 
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this recipe entirely vegan, simply substitute heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk. Also, substitute the parmesan cheese in the pesto sauce with vegan parmesan or dairy-free cheese shreds like mozzarella.
  • GUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make this recipe entirely GF, simply ensure that the gnocchi is GF-friendly.
  • NUT-FREE: Traditionally, pesto contains nuts. However, you can substitute the walnuts or pine nuts in this recipe with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version. 
  • 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 Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas. Everything from my fave baking sheet, parchment paper, food processor, high-powered blender, skillets, and more.SEE THEM HERE!

Nutrition

Calories: 641kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 63g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 39g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 2006mg | Potassium: 487mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1640IU | Vitamin C: 98mg | Calcium: 230mg | Iron: 3mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Weeknight Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi + Chickpeas.

Script text: Xx, Shanika

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  1. This recipe came together so quickly! My husband loved it and had seconds. He said "the roasted flavor from the broccoli is yummy". I had extra broccoli so put it on top with the chick peas. Using things I had on hand, I subbed parmesan with nutritional yeast and used a bag of cacio de pepe gnocchi from Trader Joe's. It has its own cream sauce so I scooped some of that out of the pot while they cooked and added to the pesto, and skipped the cream at the end. Perfection and so easy!

    • Yes!!! I love your substitutions and the fact that it came out so perfect! I'm so happy that you and your husband enjoyed this one. So good! 🙂

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