Gnocchi, those delightful Italian potato dumplings, have a way of winning hearts with their pillowy texture and versatility.
Whether you’re a gnocchi aficionado or just starting to explore this pasta variety, you’ll be thrilled to discover 15 amazing gnocchi side dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
From savory sauces to flavorful vegetable pairing and irresistible garlic bread variations, we’ve got your gnocchi night sorted.
A classic Italian sauce, basil pesto is a vibrant green concoction of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It’s a symphony of flavors that perfectly complements the soft, potato-based gnocchi.
Cooking Tip: When making pesto, drizzle the olive oil slowly to achieve a creamy consistency. Also, add a pinch of salt to taste.
Fun Fact: The word “pesto” originates from the Italian verb “pestare,” which means to pound or crush, referring to the traditional method of making pesto using a mortar and pestle.
Creamy mushroom sauce is a luxurious accompaniment for gnocchi. Made with sauteed mushrooms, garlic, fresh herbs, and a splash of cream, it envelops the dumplings in a velvety embrace.
Cooking Tip: Use a mix of different mushroom varieties, like cremini, shiitake, and oyster, for a richer and more complex flavor.
Fun Fact: Mushrooms are a great source of umami, which is also known as the fifth basic taste, which is known for its savory and meaty quality.
Simplicity at its finest: brown butter and sage sauce are a wonderful combination. The butter is gently browned until it becomes nutty and aromatic, and then fresh sage leaves are crisped up in it, creating a beautiful symphony of flavors that elevates your gnocchi tenfold.
Cooking Tip: Keep an eye on the butter while it browns – it can go from golden to burned very quickly. Remove it from the heat as soon as it turns a rich, nutty brown.
Fun Fact: Sage is known for its healing properties and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.
Gorgonzola cream sauce is a superior pairing with gnocchi. This creamy sauce is made with Gorgonzola cheese, heavy cream, and a hint of garlic. It lends a bold, tangy flavor to the dish.
Cooking Tip: Crumble the gorgonzola cheese into the cream and melt it slowly over low heat for a smooth sauce.
Fun Fact: Gorgonzola cheese gets its name from the Italian town of Gorgonzola, where it was first produced in the 9th century.
Tomato and basil sauce is a timeless classic. It’s made by simmering ripe tomatoes, garlic, onions, and fresh basil until they meld into a luscious, aromatic sauce that beautifully coats your gnocchi.
Cooking Tip: Use San Marzano tomatoes for the best flavor, and don’t forget a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity.
Fun Fact: Basil is often referred to as the “king of herbs” due to its role in Italian cuisine.
Roasted red pepper is a delightful twist on the classic basil pesto. This sauce features smoky roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic, and parmesan cheese, creating a flavorful alternative for your gnocchi.
Cooking Tip: Char the red peppers over an open flame or roast them in the oven for a smoky depth of flavor.
Fun Fact: Red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system.
Vegetable Side Dishes
Ina Garten’s roasted summer vegetables are a colorful and healthy side dish that pairs beautifully with gnocchi. This zucchini, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes are roasted to perfection with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Cooking Tip: Use a mix of vegetables in different colors to make your dish visually appealing.
Fun Fact: Ina Garten, the “barefoot Contessa,” is a beloved celebrity chef known for her approachable and delicious recipes for any skill level.
This next recipe features roasted asparagus with lemon, butter, and parmesan, which is a side dish that bursts with flavor. The asparagus is roasted until tender and then drizzled with melted butter, zesty lemon, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Cooking Tip: Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus spears before roasting for a tender bite.
Fun Fact: Asparagus is a good source of folate, a B vitamin that’s important for cell division and DNA replication; this can boost your immune system and help you recover faster.
Caramelized onions are a sweet and savory side dish that adds depth to your gnocchi. Onions are slowly cooked until they turn golden brown, releasing their natural sugars for rich flavor.
Cooking Tip: Low and slow is the key to caramelizing onions. Stir them frequently and be patient.
Fun Fact: Onions were highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians, who even buried them with their pharaohs.
Sauteed broccoli with garlic and chili adds a touch of heat and crunch to your gnocchi meal. Broccoli florets are quickly cooked in a pan with garlic and red pepper flakes for a satisfying side.
Cooking Tip: Blanch the broccoli briefly before sauteing to preserve its vibrant green color.
Fun Fact: Broccoli is part of the cabbage family and is closely related to cauliflower.
Ratatouille is a Provencal vegetable stew bursting with Mediterranean flavors. It typically includes eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, and a medley of herbs. It’s a hearty and colorful side for gnocchi,
Cooking Tip: Ratatouille tastes even better the next day, making it an ideal make-ahead dish.
Fun Fact: This recipe was developed in the 18th century when there was very little food to go around, so nothing could be wasted. The leftover vegetable scraps would be boiled into a stew for hours.
Paula Deen’s bacon-wrapped breadsticks take garlic bread to the next level. Crispy bacon strips envelop fluffy breadsticks, creating a savory and indulgent side that pairs beautifully with gnocchi.
Cooking Tip: Use thin slices of bacon to ensure it cooks evenly.
Fun fact: 70% of all bacon consumed in the US is eaten for breakfast.
Rachael Ray’s garlic bread is a quick and easy side dish that’s perfect for busy weeknights. It features Italian bread topped with a garlic-herb butter spread and baked until golden.
Cooking Tip: Customize the herbs in the butter to suit your taste, whether it’s parsley, basil, or oregano.
Fun Fact: Though it is mostly eaten with Italian food, garlic bread as we know it was developed in America, not Italy.
Cheesy garlic bread takes the classic to a whole new level of indulgence. In addition to the garlic butter, it’s topped with a generous layer of melted mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
Cooking Tip: Broil the cheesy garlic bread briefly at the end for a golden, bubbly finish.
Fun Fact: Cheese has been produced for thousands of years and is one of the most popular and diverse dairy products in the world.
Parmesan garlic bread twists are a fun and addictive way to enjoy garlic bread. Strips of pizza dough are twisted, brushed with garlic butter, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese before baking to a crispy perfection.
Cooking Tip: Serve these as an appetizer or alongside your gnocchi for a playful twist.
Fun Fact: In Greece, garlic bread often contains olives and onions.
These 15 amazing gnocchi side dishes are your passport to a world of flavors and textures that will enhance your dining experience. From the elegance of basil pesto to the heartiness of ratatouille and the comforting aroma of garlic bread, there’s something for every plate.
As you embark on your culinary journey with gnocchi, don’t forget to experiment and make these dishes your own. Whether you’re enjoying a cozy night at home or entertaining guests, these side dishes will elevate your gnocchi to gourmet heights.
Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at these pasta sides.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to caramelize onions is by using butter, though margarine and oil also work. Keep your stove on a low heat, and don’t try to rush the process.
Stir every few minutes, to begin with, so that the onions don’t stick to the bottom. Then, once all of the moisture has evaporated, stir constantly to make sure they don’t burn.
Yes, absolutely! Though there will be some differences in texture, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use gluten-free bread or dough in order to create tasty and diet-friendly garlic bread.
15 Amazing Gnocchi Side DishesCourse: Other Recipes
- Choose a recipe from above
- Gather your ingredients
- Prepare your side dish