What to Serve with Gnocchi: 15 Sides to Hit the Spot
Supple pillows of potatoey goodness luxuriating in a bath of gorgeous sauce – gentle gnocchi, floating across our palate’s imagination like clouds in the sky.
Sometimes we see a red sauce. And sometimes we see a brown butter sauce. Other times we see a creamy mushroom sauce.
But in every pillowy* cloud of gnocchi, we see beauty.
It might sound dramatic, but there’s no denying that gnocchi – that classic Italian potato dumpling –takes sauce well and that its tender texture is divine.
These bite-sized morsels of flavor are almost so perfect on their own that you could be forgiven for forgetting to consider until the last moment what to serve with gnocchi.
But the right side dish only makes your gnocchi better, so it’s worth considering your options.
Should you contrast gnocchi’s supple texture against something with more crunch and bite?
Should you mirror the flavors of the sauce in your side dish’s flavor profile?
Or should you be looking for something to help you sop up any extra sauce that tries to get away?
We say that all these ideas are great places to start.
Gnocchi is such a sociable dish that there are no shortage of delicious sides that it gets along beautifully with.
And we’re here to help you search out just the right side for you.
*It’s a long-standing tradition in the food world to describe gnocchi as “pillows” – and we are not ones to mess with tradition. Thank you for your indulgence. We do love our gnocchi.
Which Gnocchi Side Dish is the Most Delish?
So, let’s break out our gnocchi rollers, boil some well-seasoned water, and get some tasty side dishes going. Read on for a whole host of ideas for what to eat with gnocchi.
1. Braised Kale
We love kale. Tuscan kale, Redbor (purple) kale, Siberian kale, and – of course – curly kale.
They all bring their own notes of flavor to the side dish symphony, but of the kale types listed, we really dig braising curly kale.
It soaks up all the love you can give it, and keeps its bite even when it’s wilted way, way down.
And we found this fabulous recipe for braised kale with pancetta that we thought would be fabulous with gnocchi.
Kale with salty pancetta and white wine?
Sign us up!
Grab the recipe from Lauren over at Hunger Thirst Play and get your kale on.
2. Mediterranean Eggplant Chickpea Salad with Feta
Gnocchi is one of the ultimate comfort foods, so it just makes sense to us to pair it with something that’s hearty, earthy, and bright.
Also, eggplant is the Mickey Goldmill to gnocchi’s Rocky Balboa. It wants gnocchi to live up to its full potential.
Get in there and be great, gnocchi!
So, when we think of what goes with gnocchi, why not a rustic eggplant salad? Or if you’re hungry, go for another complimentary Italian favorite: eggplant parmesan!
And let’s up the ante with some chickpeas and feta to really round out this gnocchi side dish.
Katie has an herby and delightful recipe over at Healthy Seasonal Recipes.
3. White Bean Panzanella
Gnocchi is a traditional Italian dish, so we thought we’d pair it with a flavor friend from the old country.
How about a panzanella salad?
The light gnocchi will love the perfectly oil-soaked bread, veggies, and herbs.
But what if it also contained a little protein like white beans? Let’s elevate our bread salad, folks!
Here’s a super fun recipe for a bread salad that will make gnocchi feel like it’s being hugged and kissed by Nonna, its Italian grandmother.
Izzy over at She Likes Food has a great recipe that plays off the traditional dish nicely.
4. Mediterranean Lentil Salad
When we think of what to serve with gnocchi, one of the things we contemplate are contrasting flavors and textures.
We’ve established that gnocchi is “pillowy,” so what would be a fun textural contrast with that?
How about lentils! The perfect lentil still has a little bite, and in a salad they’re the perfect flavor conductor.
Which in this case means that it’s carrying the flavors of the Mediterranean right to the dinner plate.
How about some tomatoes? How about some amazingly fruity olive oil? What if there were some kalamata and feta involved too?
Well, that sounds pretty amazing to us.
Check Marina’s gorgeous recipe from The Yummy Mummy.
5. Sautéed Asparagus
We like our asparagus like we like life.
Oh, and with lots of butter and garlic.
Sautéing the asparagus makes it bright and vibrant, and adding a kiss of parsley at the end gives it an unsurpassed freshness.
Your gnocchi wants this.
Your gnocchi needs this.
Picture a plate of ricotta gnocchi with this flavorful asparagus next to it, and think how well the flavors will meld.
It’s a beautiful sight, and it’s a beautiful flavor combination.
Grab an amazing recipe from Sara at Dinner at the Zoo.
6. Garlicy Oven Roasted Mushrooms
We love mushrooms. Especially when they’re roasted with a little bit of olive oil and a healthy dose of garlic.
They pair incredibly well with pasta – which of course – means they pair incredibly well with gnocchi.
Little potato dumplings and mushrooms hanging out together on the plate?
Sign. Us. Up.
This recipe hit us where we live because not only are the mushrooms roasted – they’re tossed with a healthy dose of chives.
Now that’s a flavor combination that gnocchi will adore.
Traci at The Kitchen Girl has the recipe that we’re craving.
7. Green Beans with Mustard Butter Sauce
Green beans are one of those ingredients that just gets along with everyone. They’re amiable and not assertive. But, when they get dressed up to go out on the town, wowza!
They’re going to cut a rug.
Green beans are the guy you actually want to sit with at a party.
And they really love mustard. Especially coarse grain mustard. The poppity, pop, pop of the seeds is a fun little play off of the texture of the green beans themselves.
Grab Kathryn’s recipe from Family Food on the Table, and give your gnocchi a fun dinner companion.
8. French Dimple Rolls
When there’s gnocchi on the plate, there’s going to be a sauce to go along with it.
Whether it’s a blue cheese sauce, a browned butter sauce, a marinara sauce, or even a simple pesto – there’s going to be some saucy goodness that’s longing to be sopped up with a good piece of bread.
So, why not make the bread a really, really delicious and crusty roll?
This fun little recipe from Titli is going to make your gnocchi very, very, very happy.
9. Cranberry Kale Salad with Pecans and Feta
To quote Prince, “Dig, if you will, a picture…”
And in this context, it’s not a picture of him kissing a date, but rather a plate of gnocchi that’s been kissed with a cheesy, rich, parmesan cream sauce.
Now, that’s a sexy plate of food!
But it’s a little on the superabundant and heavy side, and could use some bright notes to lighten it up a titch.
So, what if we paired it with a tart cranberries and lively kale for one of the prettiest salads around.
Grab Julia’s recipe from The Roasted Root and dig in!
10. Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon
Simple vegetables can hold our rapt attention like it’s nobody’s business.
Especially when they’re perfectly roasted and tossed with citrus and cheese.
And broccoli loves lemon and parmesan.
What a coincidence, because so does gnocchi.
And when the two of them are combined on the plate it’s a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.
What more could we ask of a simple vegetable than that?
Check out Amy’s delectable roasted broccoli at House of Nash Eats.
11. Blistered Grape Tomatoes
Browned butter is beyond delectable. It’s comforting. It makes you feel terribly clever after you’ve turned simple butter into a browned and nutty sauce.
And it provides an all-encompassing layer of deliciousness when it’s tossed with steaming gnocchi.
So, what would make a better match for the decadent sauce than charred tomatoes? The flavor is eked out by tossing the tomatoes in a smoking hot pan and letting the heat coax out the best of what summer tomatoes have to offer.
Which is their natural sweetness. And when their tossed with basil? Well, that’s even better.
A little sweet with a lot of savory.
Now, that’s what we’re talking about.
Grab Paula’s recipe for these seasonal beauties at Call Me PMC.
12. Italian Peas with Mushrooms
We love peas with gnocchi. It’s a classic! And our motto is “don’t mess with a good thing.”
And we also think peas and mushrooms don’t get enough love together as a couple.
They’re spunky and fun like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall. They’re elegant and earthy like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. And they’re pure perfection like Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance.
And when they’re tossed with onion and garlic, they’re transformed into the perfect side dish.
What more could gnocchi want in a partner on the plate?
Check out Marisa’s recipe at All Our Way.
13. Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Zucchini
We love boats. Canoes, sailboats, catamarans, yachts, and schooners are all aces in our book.
“Land ho!” is the sailor’s cry.
And ours is, “Zucchini boats, ahoy!”
We love the layers of flavor that these bundles of flavor bring to a plate. Rice, herbs, tomatoes, parmesan, and crusty panko.
All of these flavors will adore ricotta gnocchi.
So, get those zucchini’s halved and start assembling them. They’re going to be amazing.
Check out Carla’s recipe over at Homemade in the Kitchen.
14. Parmesan Pesto Skillet Rolls
We love, (well, adore actually), all of those things.
But we thought it might be fun to explore a bread product that also contains an ingredient that sometimes lands on gnocchi.
How about fresh and cheesy pesto bread?
Stephanie over at Girl Versus Dough has a bright and lively recipe for parmesan pesto rolls that would pair like butter with gnocchi.
15. Parmesan Herb Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes
Gnocchi loves cheese.
Gnocchi loves tomatoes.
And gnocchi loves bread.
So, with all of those things in mind – we thought some stuffed tomatoes might be the perfect side dish for gnocchi.
Like stuffed peppers, they’re a little sweet and a lot savory. They’re both soft and crunchy. And, did we mention there’s cheese.
We found a recipe with a little twist – there’s also mint and garlic.
What could be more mouthwatering than that?
Grab Lori’s recipe over at Mutt and Chops for all of the deliciousness.
What to Serve with Gnocchi – Sauce ‘em up!
We’ve spent some time talking about gnocchi side dishes, but gnocchi loves a good sauce too.
Those beautiful ridges catch all that saucy goodness and save it for your fork.
So, it would be a shame not to talk about what sauces go well with gnocchi.
There are a number of different directions you can with a gnocchi sauce.
It’s a common refrain that simple is best. And in the case of brown butter and sage, it’s a truism with which we wholeheartedly agree.
Brown butter sage is an amazing and classic combination with gnocchi. Subtle nutty caramelized notes come alive with piney and citrusy sage. Oh, so amazing.
A light, lemony, primavera with a little freshly grated parmesan finish can be nice as well. Just cut your vegetables on the small side so they don’t overtake the gnocchi – or even better use small spring veggies like peas and sugar snaps.
And don’t forget the herbs! A light and bright basil pesto can be the perfect pick-me-up for you gnocchi dinner.
Richer sauces can work beautifully with gnocchi too. Don’t be afraid to try a luscious cream sauce with gorgonzola or mushrooms.
We’ve only covered some of our favorites. But, gnocchi really is amenable to so many flavors and textures, so feel free to experiment and find your own favorite combinations.
Hopefully, what to serve with gnocchi isn’t a question that leaves you at a loss for answers anymore. Happy eating!