Soft and pillowy gnocchi tossed in a lemon pesto sauce with peas and asparagus is the perfect spring side dish for any occasion! This lemon pesto gnocchi comes together in minutes and is exploding with green goodness.
Consider yourself officially in the spring game! This gnocchi is quite literally exploding with all the spring flavors.
Yes, carbs and cheese are included alongside your typical spring vegetables. I’m not a monster.
I’m also showing you how to make the dang BEST spring pesto that’s loaded with fresh lemon and so dang good you’ll want to smother it on everything.
Best part? This entire skillet is ready in only 40 minutes and it’s a total knock-out for any dinner occasion.
Even if it’s just you in the living room on your second bowl of this gnocchi binging the latest season of Selling Sunset in one night, no judgement.
This Lemon Pesto Gnocchi features…
- Buttery gnocchi that’s perfectly soft on the inside and crispy on the outside
- A flavorful homemade lemon pesto
- Tender asparagus spears and sweet peas
Making the Lemon Pesto Gnocchi
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Pine nuts
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Unsalted butter
How to Make Pesto
Pesto is one of those things that’s SO much better when you make it homemade! Lucky for us, it’s very easy to make at home.
You will need either a blender or a food processor to make pesto. You’re just piling fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice/zest, salt, and pepper into the machine and then blending while drizzling olive oil through the top.
Scrape down the sides as necessary and keep blending for a perfectly smooth pesto.
That’s it! Now you can store pesto in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Tips for Perfect Pesto Gnocchi
- Use fresh lemon in pesto – fresh lemon is key here for the best lemon flavor! You will need both juice and zest for the pesto.
- Boil gnocchi – homemade or packaged gnocchi will both work in this recipe. Drop the gnocchi in lightly-salted boiling water and boil 2-3 minutes until gnocchi floats to the top.
- Pan sear gnocchi – we’re just going to give the gnocchi a quick sear in butter to give it a crispy exterior. Don’t skip this step!
- Cook asparagus – we’re going to cook the asparagus in the same pan as the gnocchi. Melt a little butter and saute asparagus in butter until tender.
- Steam peas – we typically use frozen peas that can be steamed right in the bag in the microwave.
- Top skillet with extra lemon zest + Parmesan – this adds one last little kick of lemon flavor and uhh, more cheese is never a sin.
There are many ways you can adapt this recipe using what you have on hand! Check out these ideas…
- Use pasta in place of gnocchi – skip the butter searing step if using pasta! Try medium shells, rigatoni, orecchiette, or farfalle pasta.
- Change up the vegetables – summer squash, zucchini, sweet peppers, or mushrooms would all be great in this dish!
- Try a different cheese – try shredded cheddar, swiss, or asiago in place of the Parmesan.
- Add meat – cooked chicken or sausage would be a great meaty addition.
What to Serve with Gnocchi
This gnocchi is definitely hearty enough that it can stand alone as a main dish! If you’re looking for more variety, we recommend it alongside a big green salad, grilled meat, or homemade crusty bread.
Not only is this skillet gorgeous to look at, but it just tastes like pure spring. The pesto is bright, herby, and perfectly compliments the tender asparagus, sweet peas, and fluffy gnocchi.
This is a must try if you have spring produce on hand and don’t know what to do with it! Guarantee it will be a hit.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More incredible gnocchi recipes for you to try next!
- Roasted Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Gnocchi Skillet
- Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Harvest Vegetables
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Sage Butter Sauce
Lemon Pesto Gnocchi With Peas and Asparagus
- 1 cup firmly-packed fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (or almonds)
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Gnocchi and Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 lb gnocchi, boiled according to package instructions until al dente
- 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-in pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas, steamed according to package instructions
- Additional grated Parmesan cheese and lemon zest for topping
- Combine basil, pine nuts, lemon zest, juice, Parmesan, and garlic in a food processor or blender. With machine on, drizzle olive oil through top, blending pesto until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Season pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for a moment.
Gnocchi and Vegetables
- In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi to pan in a single layer and sear until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove gnocchi from pan and set aside for a moment.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and saute 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally until asparagus is tender.
- Reduce heat to medium and add peas, gnocchi, and pesto to pan and toss several minutes until evenly coated and heated through. Remove from heat and top skillet with additional Parmesan and lemon zest. Serve gnocchi warm and enjoy!