Gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made mainly with flour and potatoes. These small, ridged balls are a delicious component of many dishes in Italian cuisine, either as part of a larger recipe or paired with a light sauce and garnish.
Gnocchi are known for their soft texture and chewy consistency, which is similar to that of pasta. And just like pasta, gnocchi are best alongside other ingredients.
But while gnocchi is a tasty and versatile dish, on its own it might not be enough for a full meal. Traditionally, gnocchi is usually served as a side dish or first course instead of pasta.
If you’re looking for the perfect side to serve alongside gnocchi, then you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of 17 delicious sides and accompaniments to serve with gnocchi.
Ready? Then let’s get started!
Spinach and Ricotta Salad
On its own, gnocchi isn’t the healthiest. Luckily, this simple salad brings all the nutrients you need while still tasting delicious.
Add some ricotta to fresh spinach leaves, and drizzle over a simple vinaigrette made of olive oil and lemon juice. Mix in your gnocchi, and you’ve got a filling and healthy meal that tastes great and takes next to no time to make.
Tomatoes are a staple ingredient in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, and this easy recipe puts them to great use.
Larger tomato varieties like buffalo tomatoes are best, as their size lets you fit more filling inside.
To make your filling, finely chop up some garlic, pine nuts, toasted bread crumbs, and some fresh basil and oregano. Mix it together along with some of the tomato you hollowed out, and stuff it back inside.
Roast the tomatoes until the outside starts to crisp up. Serve them alongside your gnocchi for a delicious side, with the sweet tomato and savory filling combining great with the plump dumplings.
One of the most beloved sides in Italian cooking, garlic bread is a natural choice to serve with gnocchi. While store-bought garlic bread is good enough, making your own garlic bread at home is easy and makes a world of difference.
Make some garlic butter by melting butter with crushed garlic and chopped fresh parsley. Spread it over a porous bread such as ciabatta or sourdough, and bake it in the oven for around 19 minutes. You can also add some cheese on top for a layer of crispy goodness.
On top of how great it is with gnocchi, garlic bread is also a great side to pair with some of the other recipes on this list. What’s not there to love?
Here’s another light and healthy option that doesn’t skip out on flavor. This recipe substitutes ricotta for rich and crumbly feta and combines it with several other tasty ingredients.
Feta salad is a fairly adaptable recipe, and it’s simple enough that you can easily remove and replace ingredients as you see fit. Chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, and a zesty dressing are all great choices. Meanwhile, chopped nuts and even meats like bacon or chicken breast can bring some much-needed protein to your gnocchi.
This simple, spicy sauce is great with pasta, and gnocchi is just the same.
Marinara sauce is simple to make at home, only requiring a few ingredients. It’s also easy to find in stores if you don’t have the time to make a sauce from scratch. Just mix your cooked gnocchi into this spicy tomato-based sauce and serve.
This is a great choice if you just want something basic to serve with your gnocchi, or if your gnocchi is intended to be served as a side or first course.
Mini Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant parmesan is enough to be a full meal on its own. However, if you’re looking for something to serve with your gnocchi then these bite-sized versions of eggplant parmesan are just what you need.
Slice up some small cubes or slices of eggplant. Then, coat them in a mix of grated parmesan and breadcrumbs, and deep fry them until golden brown. Serve these mouth-watering bite-sized packages with your gnocchi alongside the sauce of your choice.
This recipe is quick, simple, and might even outshine your gnocchi with how delicious it is.
All you need to do is saute some button mushrooms in a mix of olive oil and melted butter. Add some finely chopped garlic and some herbs, and toss in your gnocchi near the end.
Before you add your gnocchi, put a splash of soy sauce in the pan and increase the heat on your mushrooms until it cooks off. This adds a rich sweetness and a slight caramelization to the mushrooms – thank me later.
Cheesy Baked Tomatoes
Are you short on time? Then this incredibly simple recipe is for you, taking around the same time to cook as your gnocchi.
Cut some thick slices of a large tomato, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and top them off with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake them in the oven and serve with your gnocchi for a simple and delicious side.
This recipe is similar to stuffed tomatoes, but with a richer and more umami flavor.
Large, open cup mushrooms work best. Remove the stalk, and chop it finely. Mix the mushroom with minced garlic, toasted breadcrumbs, and some cream cheese before adding it back to the mushroom.
Top the mushrooms off with some mozzarella, and grill them until the cheese is crispy on top.
These mushrooms are full of flavor and a mix of textures that all complement your gnocchi in their own way.
Tuscan White Bean Salad
Looking for a healthy option that doesn’t skip out on the protein? This bean-filled salad is filled with protein-packed cannellini beans, as well as mushrooms, onion, and sundried tomato. With a light vinaigrette on top, it’s easy to forget just how hearty this side is when paired with gnocchi.
Salty parmesan and fresh broccoli are combined in this easy and healthy side.
Parboil some broccoli, then cover it in some olive oil, seasonings, and some grated parmesan cheese. Finish it off in the oven and serve with your gnocchi for a crunchy and tasty side.
Creamy Mushroom Sauce
This sauce tastes similar to garlic mushrooms, but with a rich and creamy texture that makes it perfect for mixing in with your gnocchi.
Chop mushrooms into small pieces or slices, and cook them with some garlic and onion. Mix in some cream and a bit of vegetable stock and leave it to simmer. When your sauce is done, its creamy richness will make your gnocchi taste heavenly.
Mozzarella and Bolognese
One of the simplest sides on this list, mozzarella and bolognese is fairly self-explanatory.
Mix your gnocchi into the rich tomato sauce, and add chunks or slices of mozzarella on top. You can either eat it as is, or bake it in the oven until the mozzarella starts to crisp up. Add some chopped basil and parsley, and enjoy!
Chorizo and Chestnut Brussels Sprouts
While brussels sprouts are a divisive ingredient, they taste incredible in this simple side dish. It’s also quick to prepare and easy to cook.
Shred up some Brussels sprouts, toss them in olive oil with salt and pepper, and roast them for half an hour with some chestnuts. Meanwhile, slice some chorizo into small chunks and fry it in oil with some garlic.
When the roasted chestnuts and shredded sprouts are done, add them to the chorizo and fry it all together for a few minutes.
Each ingredient adds an extra layer of flavor. The smoky chorizo, the woody chestnuts, the slightly bitter sprouts – it all comes together perfectly. Add a squeeze of lemon juice for the perfect citrusy finish.
Serve your gnocchi on top, or mix it in to add some extra texture to the dish.
Despite being called cookies, these crunchy and cheesy sides are completely savory. The crunchy texture of parmesan cookies compliments the softness of gnocchi,
In addition to being a tasty addition to gnocchi, parmesan cookies also take no time to prepare. Simply make a quick dough out of flour, butter, and a few tablespoons of water.
Add some grated parmesan to the dough, along with a pinch of salt and pepper for flavor. You can knead the dough by hand, although using a food processor also works.
The dough doesn’t need any time to chill, so you can get to baking the cookies straight away. Shape them into small circles around an inch thick, and bake them for 10-15 minutes.
Once your parmesan cookies are done, they’re ready to eat! Parmesan cookies are best warm, and go great with gnocchi.
Another healthy option, this simple yet delicious side is easy to prepare and takes no time to cook.
Grilled asparagus is packed with flavor and nutrients, making it a great choice if you want to stay on the healthier side. It also goes great with gnocchi, with its fresh taste and satisfying crunch adding to the gnocchi’s mellow flavor.
You can make grilled asparagus by coating the spears in a thin layer of olive oil, seasoning with some salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Then, all you have to do is grill it. Make sure you turn it occasionally so it cooks evenly on all sides.
If you don’t care about choosing a healthier option, you can swap out the olive oil for a coating of garlic butter. This leaves your asparagus tasting rich and heavenly, while the melted garlic butter makes a great simple sauce for your gnocchi.
Pesto is one of the most common things to serve alongside gnocchi. Pesto is made of a combination of basil, pine nuts, parmesan, and olive oil, which has been blended into a smooth and saucy paste.
Coat your gnocchi in some pesto after they’ve cooked for a meal that’s as simple as it is delicious. You can even grate some more parmesan over the top for an extra-cheesy finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Of These Recipes Are Vegetarian/Vegan?
Italian recipes tend to include a lot of cheese, so naturally some of these recipes aren’t vegan.
Chorizo and chestnut Brussels sprouts isn’t vegetarian, and neither are any of the recipes that include parmesan (that’s right – parmesan contains rennet, which means it isn’t suitable for vegetarians!). This includes most store-bought or traditionally made pesto.
However, there are still plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available.
Apart from the recipes listed above, all of these recipes are completely meat-free.
Additionally, recipes such as garlic mushrooms, grilled asparagus, marinara sauce, and Tuscan white bean salad are all 100% vegan.
You could also remove or replace the animal products in the recipes with vegan alternatives.
Is Gnocchi A Main Or A Side?
Gnocchi is typically eaten as a starter or side dish, although it can also easily be served as a main.
As a first course, gnocchi is usually served with a garnish or with a light sauce. Gnocchi on its own goes well with a light base such as butter or olive oil, and is often paired with ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic.
That’s not to say gnocchi can’t be eaten as a main course. There are several dinner recipes that use gnocchi as an ingredient (for example, gnocchi alla romana). And as the list above proves, there are plenty of sides and accompaniments that you can serve with gnocchi for a delicious meal.
What Proteins Go Well With Gnocchi?
While gnocchi is delicious and a healthier alternative to pasta, it isn’t the best source of protein. Here are some great sides to serve with gnocchi to get some more protein.
Tuscan white bean salad is, as the name suggests, full of beans that are packed with protein. Add some protein-rich mushrooms and a light dressing into the mix, and you’re got a fresh and healthy side that bumps up your protein intake.
Chorizo and chestnut Brussel sprouts are also a protein powerhouse. Not only is the chorizo a great source of protein, but the nuts and sprouts are also bursting with protein and other important nutrients.
Cheese is another good protein source, and you’ll find no shortage of cheese in a lot of these recipes. If you want to keep things on the healthy side, a feta or spinach and ricotta salad has all the cheese you could want while still staying light and fresh.
Gnocchi is an iconic part of Italian cuisine, and their versatility and great taste make them a great accompaniment to all sorts of side dishes.
So next time you’re making gnocchi, you have plenty of choices for what to serve with them. With these 17 easy and delicious recipes, you’re sure to find something you love.