this will gnocchi your socks off

vegan gnocchi with pesto
I love dinner parties – there is nothing better than sharing food with people you care about. I had my good friends over for dinner this weekend who follow a vegan diet – I am actually ashamed to admit that up until now, I had never served an exclusively vegan meal at any of my gatherings. Usually there is slow roasted meats, beautiful cheeses etc etc which I am quite comfortable serving knowing they would be crowd pleasers. So to make a completely vegan meal was a bit of a challenge for me – I am quite happy to eat vegan, just that I didn’t want to screw it up and be left serving toast!Further, I usually avoid serving things I have never trialled beforehand just in case the recipe/execution is a disaster – eep! Anyways, so I decided on gnocchi. Gnocchi is one of those things that when done right, everything seems right in the world. I wasn’t in the mood for a tomato based sauce, so I decided to do a pesto instead. I wanted to take it a step further and make it not only vegan, but nut free as well. Also, did I mention I hadn’t made either gnocchi or vegan-nut-free pesto before? Double eep!

I decided not to make it hard on myself a buy pre made gnocchi. I used Per Tutti from Thomas Dux. It was plump and delicious and didn’t have weird ingredients in it so it really was a good idea. I adapted a recipe found online for the pesto which used nutritional yeast to add a savoury flavour to fill the parmesan void.  Success!

vegan nut free basil pesto

this will gnocchi your socks off
Serves 2-4
10-15 minutes total time

Premade potato gnoochi – try buy the best quality you can, or make your own if you like
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1cm pieces
1 bunch parsley, diced
Your choice of oil for frying

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra
good pinch of Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

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  1. Place everything but the oil in the blender and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground.
  2. Turn the motor on and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream.
  3. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, then add the gnocchi
  2. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the top
  3. Drain the gnocchi thoroughly and let air dry for few minutes
  4. Heat 1-2 tbs of oil in a cast iron skillet
  5. Depending on the size of your skillet, add the gnocchi to the pan and fry until golden brown 3-5 minutes. If your pan is small, split it into 2-3 batches  – overcrowding will just cause the gnocchi to steam and you’ll end up with goop.
  6. Add the asparagus into the last batch
  7. Remove from heat and toss with parsley, and 2-3 tbs of pesto.
  8. Serve with a Italian salad and extra pesto on the side.
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