Not your normal potato gnocchi, this super tasty chickpea gnocchi is super easy to make and those baby tomatoes just bursting with juice make the perfect sauce and a drizzle of pesto adds the final touch of veggie perfection. This is the perfect store-cupboard supper dish!
I love comfort food and Italy produces some fabulous comforters. Just think of all those lovely pasta dishes. And let’s not forget gnocchi.
But what is gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a type of pasta that is rather like a dumpling. The most popular type is gnocchi di patate which are made with mashed potatoes, flour and eggs.
There is also gnocchi alla romana which are made with semolina instead of potatoes.
Chickpeas for gnocchi
Since I didn’t have any potatoes on hand I had to get a bit creative with the larder. I didn’t have any semolina either but I did have good old plain flour. A can of chickpeas lurking there caught my eye.
Chickpeas have a good flavour (think of hummus) and are great carriers of other flavours. Why not just mash the chickpeas instead of potatoes?
Using chickpea water
Don’t waste the chickpea ‘water’ from the can when you drain them to make this gnocchi. You can use this juice to replace an egg in lots of vegan recipes or when you just don’t have any eggs in the house for baking!
If you don’t need to use it just now then freeze it in a bag for later use.
Ingredients for chickpea gnocchi
There are only 3 ingredients (apart from a wee bit of salt and pepper for seasoning) for these super simple chickpea gnocchi.
- 1 x 400g can of chickpeas (that’s 240g drained weight)
- 100g plain flour
- 1 medium sized egg
Ingredients for the tomato sauce
- 200g baby tomatoes (or any tomatoes really, whatever you have lurking in the fruit bowl)
- Pesto, preferably homemade pesto but again anything will do
- Fresh spinach for your base
Pesto is a fabulously useful sauce to have on hand for all sorts of recipes. I use it to jazz up a simple bowl of soup, stir it through plain pasta and stir it through Greek yogurt to make a super easy dip.
I’m so obsessed with pesto I even wrote a book about it;
A Passion For Pesto (with over 75 super simple pesto recipes from traditional herbal-based pesto to using veggies and even weeds to make pesto. I even do fruit pestos for desserts and there are loads of recipes for using your homemade pesto too)
How to make chickpea gnocchi
- Drain the chickpeas reserving the liquid in case you need to loosen the mixture.
- Whizz chickpeas in food processor or thoroughly mash with a fork
- In a bowl add the egg and seasoning and start stirring in the flour to form a dough
- Knead gently a few times but don’t overdo this or you will make the gnocchi tough
- Roll the dough into a long sausage shape and chop it into pieces about 2cm long and slightly flatten with a fork. The fork marks will help the sauce to stick to them later
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil and drop in the gnocchi. They are ready when they pop up and float to the surface, about 3-5 minutes
You can serve the gnocchi like this but I prefer to add extra flavour by sauteing them in olive oil. This adds to the flavour and is really quick to do.
- Drain the gnocchi and pat dry on a clean tea towel while you heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.
- Saute the gnocchi in the pan turning them over when one side is golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Toss the spinach into the pan and just let it quickly wilt down in the hot oil, this will form the base on your plates
- Put the tomatoes (half and quarter depending on size) on to a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and season well and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes till blistered and oozing their juices
Easy classic pesto recipe
- 2 tbsp pine nuts (toasted in a dry pan till just golden)
- 1 large clove of garlic crushed
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Now just whizz everything together to create a paste and loosen with more oil if you like.
I love pesto so always make it out of anything I have on hand. This time I went for a Rosemary and Walnut Pesto because I just love the flavour of rosemary with tomatoes.
Also, the fact that I only had walnuts and no pine nuts, it was a case of make do with what you’ve got.
I even have a nut free pesto recipe here.
How to serve chickpea gnocchi
I just served a simple salad on the side of my gnocchi dish. You don’t really need much more than that really.
Want to change your sauces about then go for it! Add a harissa based sauce for something spicy.
Mix in some other veggies, anything from roasted Mediterranean veggies to good old carrots, parsnips and the like.
Can you make chickpea gnocchi ahead of time?
Yes make your gnocchi as shown in the recipe and store in the fridge covered in cling film till you are ready to cook.
How many does this chickpea gnocchi serve
This recipe is for 4 people. it is super simple to scale up if you need to feed a crowd.
So that’s Chickpea Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Pesto. A super easy store cupboard dinner.
Looking for more quick and easy midweek meals? Then check these out before you go;
Chickpea Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Pesto
- 400 g can of chickpeas
- 100 g plain flour
- 1 medium egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- 6 tbsp pesto
- 250 g fresh spinach
- Preheat oven to 200C and oil a baking tray
- If tomatoes are large half or quarter or if using cherry tomatoes leave as they are and roast in oven for 15 minutes till blistered and oozing their juices
- Drain chickpeas and reserve liquid
- Mash chickpeas till smooth (or use food processor) and season with salt and pepper
- In a bowl mix egg with chickpeas and add enough flour to form a dough
- lightly knead a few times and roll into a long sausage and cut into 2cm piece and press lightly with a fork
- Boil a pan of water and drop in the gnocchi, they are ready when they pop up to the surface and float, 3-5 minutes, drain. (you can serve them like this or carry on)
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry the gnocchi on each side till golden then set aside and keep warm
- Add the spinach to the pan and wilt for a few minutes
- Serve the gnocchi by tossing with the roasted tomatoes and placing on top of the spinach. Add the pesto on top and some shaved parmesan and more freshly ground black pepper