Pesto gnocchi: a colorful, saucy, carb-loaded main dish that’s easy to make and absolutely delicious.
But what do you serve with something so bold and flavorful?
The truth is, not much—you could eat it on its own and be happy.
But if you’re looking for some side dishes to complete your meal, look no further: we’ve got 15 options that pair perfectly with pesto gnocchi.
What to Serve with Pesto Gnocchi: 10 Easy Sides
When the gnocchi, pesto, and whatever else you’ve added to the pot comes together, it’s going to make one fantastic dinner.
But when you add a great side dish, it gets even better.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to serve alongside your pesto gnocchi, here are 15 ideas that will definitely do the trick:
Broccoli is a vegetable that has a bit of an identity crisis.
It’s pretty bland on its own—almost like a blank canvas.
But when you roast it, it comes alive and becomes a whole new vegetable.
The roasting process brings out natural sugars in broccoli, bringing out a sweet and nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with pesto gnocchi.
It’s also really easy to make!
- Just chop up the broccoli (and toss in some stems!) and combine it with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
- Then roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
You’ll be left with crispy, delicious sides that pair perfectly with pesto gnocchi!
2. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is an easy-to-make side dish that goes well with any pasta, but it’s especially good when paired with pesto gnocchi.
The garlic in this bread enhances the garlic in the pesto, making it even more flavorful and delicious. And who doesn’t love warm bread to go with pasta?
It’s pure comfort food.
- To make this bread, gather together some slices of French baguette and spread them out on a baking sheet.
- Then, mix together some garlic powder, olive oil, and shredded parmesan cheese in a bowl.
- Spread this mixture over the bread slices, then put them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- When they’re ready, serve alongside your gnocchi and enjoy!
Roasted carrots are the perfect choice for pesto gnocchi, especially when you’re trying to make it a full meal.
They taste like vegetables. But better.
Like, if vegetables had an upgrade option or something.
Tender and soft, but still with a little bit of crunch. And the best part is that you can roast them in about 35 minutes so you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen!
How to cook them:
- Cut about 10 medium-sized carrots into smaller pieces and spread them on a baking sheet (you can also use baby carrots).
- Spray them with a light coat of oil from a spray bottle so they don’t burn in the oven.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top.
- Roast them at 425°F until they are tender!
This asparagus salad is the perfect side dish to whip up with your favorite gnocchi recipe.
When you take a bite into this springy salad, you’ll taste fresh peas and crisp asparagus in contrast with bold-flavored walnuts, all tied together by a creamy ranch dressing.
The best part about this side dish?
You can customize it however you want.
Swap out the walnuts for pine nuts or almonds if you like—or even add them both!
Here’s how to make it:
- To make this dish, start by boiling your asparagus spears until they’re just tender.
- Then, place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Once cool, drain them and pat them dry.
- Next, dice your red onion and put it in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour over onions and mix well.
- Add asparagus spears and toss well until thoroughly coated.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
A classic Italian salad will pair well with your gnocchi dinner.
The bitter greens and crunchy veggies will bring out the umami of the pesto sauce, while the bright acidity of the dressing will play against the richness of the potato dumplings.
- To make this dish, you’ll want to mix together equal parts chopped romaine and iceberg lettuce, along with a handful of thinly sliced red onion, three slices of chopped tomato, and ¼ cup cucumber.
- Toss with a simple Italian dressing made by mixing olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano and salt & pepper.
- Top with an ounce each of shaved parmesan cheese and croutons, if desired.
6. Caesar Salad
A cold, crisp salad is the perfect balance to a hot dish like pesto gnocchi.
This recipe is simple, but incredibly tasty: it’s made with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, croutons, and a creamy Caesar dressing.
Taste-wise, this side is cool and refreshing, with a hint of lemon.
The crunchy croutons add contrast to the soft gnocchi, while the smooth dressing pairs well with the rich pesto flavor.
Here’s how to make it:
- Chop up some romaine lettuce.
- Make some croutons: cube bread and toss in olive oil and salt. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes or until golden brown!
- Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, water, garlic powder, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add grated Parmesan cheese and stir to combine!
- Toss your salad with dressing until coated to your liking—you can always add more if you want!
7. Pasta Salad
Nothing says summer like a delicious side salad.
And there’s no better side salad than pasta salad!
Pasta salad is the perfect companion to any gnocchi dish because it’s light, but filling; it’s fun, but not overwhelming; and it pairs well with a variety of sauces.
Making it is super easy, too—all you have to do is:
- Cook the pasta (however much you want!)
- Throw in some frozen peas, corn, and carrots
- Top it all off with your favorite dressing (we suggest ranch!)
And you’re done!
The best thing about grilled chicken is it’s just so simple.
You can season it however you like, and you don’t have to worry about a ton of fat or grease.
So you can throw together a quick marinade and grill up some chicken that’s got a bit of smoky char and the perfect texture.
It’s easy to get the right texture by cooking it on the grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes per side.
The trick is not to overcook it—you want the meat to be tender, juicy, and flavorful.
9. Tomato soup
Have you ever had a craving for a really flavorful, really delicious tomato soup?
If not, we’re about to fix that.
This homemade, weeknight-friendly recipe is the perfect side dish to pair with some pesto gnocchi.
It’s so easy to make!
- First, you’ll need 3 cups of canned diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Start by sautéing a large chopped onion in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it’s soft and translucent, which will take about 7 minutes.
- Next, stir in the tomatoes and water.
- Bring it all to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer it for 15 minutes.
- After that, use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the soup until it’s smooth.
- Then season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve!
10. Roasted potatoes
If you love the taste of roasted potatoes, but don’t have time to make them from scratch, this dish is for you!
It’s a great way to add a little more taste and texture to your gnocchi, and it’s ready in just 15 minutes.
Here’s how to make this side:
- To make this side dish, start by cutting your potatoes into 1-inch squares.
- Transfer to a glass baking dish.
- Sprinkle some salt over top of the potatoes and sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese as well.
- Then place in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
- Remove when the potatoes are hot and golden brown, then serve!
How to Choose The Right Side Dish for Pesto Gnocchi
Pesto gnocchi is delicious, but it’s not the only thing you should serve at your dinner party.
You can’t just leave your guests to eat pasta—they’re going to want some side dishes!
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas of what to serve with pesto gnocchi, check out this list of three things to consider when choosing the perfect side dish.
1. Your Guests’ Preferences and Dietary Restrictions
Remember, not everyone eats meat—and even those who do might not like broccoli or mushrooms.
As you’re choosing side dishes for your guests, think about their preferences and try to accommodate them as best you can. Don’t forget about allergens, too!
2. The Season
What’s in season? Not all fruits and vegetables grow all year long, so depending on when you’re throwing your dinner party, many items may be hard to come by or more expensive.
For example, strawberries aren’t in season during the winter months, so if you want a strawberry salad for your side dish, wait until summertime rolls around to make that call.
3. Choose a Complementary Side
If you want to make your meal more substantial or add another dimension of flavor, then it’s best to choose a side dish that compliments your pesto gnocchi, rather than competing with it.
You could pair it with a protein like chicken or shrimp to add some heft to the meal, or with something sweet like roasted carrots drizzled with honey for an extra pop of flavor.
Try not to overpower the deliciousness of the pesto!
4. Think About Color
Gnocchi can get mushy fast, and gnocchi made with pesto can be greenish-brown mushy.
It’s important to choose a side dish that’ll balance out those hues with bright colors to make your whole meal look more appetizing.
10 Best Sides to Serve with Pesto Gnocchi
- Roasted Broccoli
- Garlic Bread
- Roasted Carrots
- Asparagus Salad
- Classic Italian Salad
- Caesar Salad
- Pasta Salad
- Grilled Chicken
- Tomato soup
- Roasted potatoes
- Pick any of the tasty sides from this list.
- Prepare the ingredients by following the recipe.
- Be ready to eat in no time!