Are you looking for some dinner recipe that you can make within minutes? Zucchini pesto gnocchi is the answer! This meal is loaded with veggies, super fresh tasting and ready to serve in no time! You might also like this sun-dried tomato pesto gnocchi.
Easy zucchini pesto
If you're trying to incorporate more veggies into your meals, zucchini pesto is the way to go. It's really flavorful and super creamy, while it looks like your favorite pesto. Plus, it makes a really healthy gnocchi recipe.
We make this recipe almost every week during summer because it's one of the quickest weeknight dinners to make on busy days. This easy summer gnocchi recipe can be made from early June until late August (or even longer if you keep some zucchini sauce stored in your freezer).
Equipment you'll need
Zucchini pesto pasta is a really beginner-friendly recipe and adapted to small kitchens as it doesn't require a lot of equipment. All you need is a:
- Cutting board
- Large pan or skillet
- Blender or food processor
Step by step with pictures
Sautee the zucchini. Peel the garlic and chop the zucchini into relatively thin slices to allow them to cook quicker. Heat a large pan with olive oil and sauté the zucchini (with the garlic) until soft and golden. This should take approximately 10 minutes.
Make the zucchini sauce. Once the zucchini slices are cooked, add them to a blender with lemon juice and fresh basil. Blend until smooth.
Quick tip: it is not recommended to blend hot foods in a blender as pressure can build up and the lid could blow off. To let the steam escape, unscrew the top part of the lid and start blending on low to avoid splashes. Otherwise, use a stick blender.
Note: if you would like to serve some zucchini pieces with the dish, set about ⅓ of the cooked zucchini aside before blending.
Cook the gnocchi. Bring water to a boil. Cook the gluten-free gnocchi according to the instructions on the package.
Quick tip: You know the gnocchi are cooked when they float to the top.
Substitutions and add-ons
This zucchini pesto pasta is gluten-free (if using gluten-free gnocchi) and 100% vegan.
- Garlic: if you're allergic to garlic or if it causes you digestive issues, you can simply leave it out.
- Basil: you can susbtitute basil for cilantro or parsley.
- Gnocchi: you can serve the zucchini pesto with any type of gluten-free pasta you like.
You can easily make the zucchini pesto ahead of time on your meal prepping day. If time allows, preferably cook the pasta shortly before serving. Simply reheat the pesto and add it to the drained pasta. If you also pre-cook the gnocchi, check out my reheating tips below.
How to reheat gnocchi
If you simply reheat gluten-free gnocchi ( I use the brand "Schär") in a pan or in the microwave, they will most probably become really hard. My tip to obtain super soft gnocchi even after reheating is to quickly steam them. Here's how:
In a lidded saucepan: add the gnocchi and the zucchini sauce to a saucepan with a good splash of water. Give it a stir. Put the lid on the saucepan and reheat over medium heat until warm and soft. The steam will soften the gnocchi and make the sauce creamier.
In the microwave: add the gnocchi and the zucchini sauce to a bowl with a good splash of water. Give it a stir. Cover with a plate and reheat for about 3 minutes until warm and soft.
Storage and freezing tips
You can store the zucchini pesto in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 days.
If you have some leftover zucchini sauce or doubled the quantities to keep some in the freezer for super quick meals, you can freeze the pesto for up to 3 months.
More weeknight dinner recipes
Zucchini Pesto Gnocchi
- 2 zucchini
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ bunch of fresh basil more to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 10 ounces gluten free gnocchi (300 g) I use the brand "Schär"
- 1 handful roasted pine nuts for topping optional
- Wash the zucchini. Cut them lengthwise in quarters. Cut into relatively thin slices to help them cook quicker (see pictures in post above).
- Peel the garlic and cut into quarters.
- Heat a large pan or skillet with olive oil. When hot, sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and sauté over medium-high heat until golden. Then, reduce to medium heat and cook until soft (about 10 minutes).
- Bring water to a boil for the gnocchi.
- Add the cooked zucchini and garlic, basil, lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt to the bowl of a blender. If possible, unscrew part of the lid to let the steam escape while blending (see notes). Otherwise use a stick blender. Blend until creamy.
- Cook the gnocchi until they float to the surface (about 2 minutes) or according to the instructions on the package.
- Toss the gnocchi in the zucchini pesto and top with pine nuts and fresh basil.
- If you would like some zucchini pieces in your meal, set about ⅓ of the cooked zucchini aside before blending.
- It is not recommended to blend hot foods in a blender as pressure can build up and the lid could blow off (making a hot mess). To let the steam escape, unscrew the top part of the lid and start blending on low to avoid splashes. Otherwise, use a stick blender.
- You can store the zucchini pesto in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
- To reheat the gnocchi, add the gnocchi and the pesto to a saucepan (or a bowl) with a good splash of water. Give it a stir. Put the lid on the saucepan (or a plate onto the bowl) and reheat on the stove over medium heat (or in the microwave) until warm and soft. The steam will soften the gnocchi and make the sauce creamier.
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It turned out very aromatic and surprisingly delicious! It worked well with pasta and even directly from the jar, eaten with a spoon 😀 It's really healthy and fast to prepare, thank you for this recipe!
Agree! I like to use it as a dip sometimes! 😄 You're so welcome!