If you’re wondering what to serve with your pesto gnocchi, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 39 of the most popular side dishes for pesto gnocchi.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with pesto gnocchi are grilled chipotle chicken, seared scallops, arugula apple salad, and homemade breadsticks. You can also go with marinated London broil, steamed asparagus, or pesto-crusted salmon. For plant-based alternatives, try tofu nuggets or grilled portobellos.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Great flavor pairings for pesto
Traditional pesto is a vibrant green sauce made with basil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil.
Its garlicky, bright, and herby and pairs well with:
- Creamy flavors – pesto’s zesty flavor is just what you need to cut through creamy ingredients like cheese, heavy cream, or mayonnaise for a more balanced bite.
- Sweet flavors – herby pesto is great for enhancing the delicate sweetness of ingredients like white fish, shellfish, and veggies like squash, asparagus and tomatoes.
- Mild flavors – pesto’s zesty notes are perfect for pairing with things like chicken or plain starches that need some sort of flavor upgrade.
You’re getting twice the carbs when you pair your pesto gnocchi with bread, but it’s the perfect vessel for mopping up that vibrant sauce.
A slice of crusty bread will work, but why not go all out and make some Olive Garden style breadsticks?
These breadsticks may not be authentically Italian, but they’re a must-have side dish for your pesto gnocchi.
They’re soft and fluffy (which means you can use them to soak up the bright pesto sauce).
And the best part? You only need basic cupboard staples to whip up a batch of these.
Pro-tip: move the oven rack up another level to make them golden brown.
Why we love this recipe: they’re better than the restaurant version.
Garlic confit toast
Think regular garlic bread is too predictable? Try this recipe instead!
It requires an extra step of making garlic confit, which means roasting the garlic cloves in lots of olive oil.
This mellows out the garlic’s natural sharpness and adds a layer of nuttiness that’ll complement your herby pesto gnocchi.
A bonus is you also get a flavorful garlic-infused oil you can use for cooking or in vinaigrettes!
Why we love this recipe: these toasts are highly addictive.
Pesto gnocchi is already loaded with carbs, so a protein side is a must to complete the meal.
My go-to is grilled chicken because it’s healthy and has an added smoky note, but you can also go with seafood like fish or shrimp.
Feeling fancy? Fire up the stovetop and sear a juicy steak!
Grilled chipotle chicken
This chicken dish is a great way to spice up your herby pesto gnocchi.
Grilling infuses the meat with a delectable smokiness, and the chipotle marinade adds a fiery kick with a sweet twist.
Marinating the chicken thighs overnight will give you the best results, but even a 20-minute soak will make them tasty if you’re in a rush.
Why we love this recipe: it’s great for meal preps.
Baked tofu nuggets
Whether you’re a seasoned vegetarian or just testing meatless recipes, these tofu nuggets are a must-try.
They’re deliciously crisp and golden, with a texture so close to chicken you might even be able to fool your meat-loving friends.
The secret? Use firm tofu and press it to squeeze out any excess moisture.
Serve these baked tofu nuggets with your pesto gnocchi for a satisfying, meatless dinner.
Why we love this recipe: these won’t last long on the table.
Pesto crusted salmon
Can’t get enough of pesto? Use the extra sauce to whip up this tasty salmon dish.
The pesto acts as a glue to hold the panko and grated parmesan cheese mixture, giving the salmon filets golden, crispy crusts.
Pro-tip: the salmon skin won’t crisp up in the oven, so make sure to remove it or buy the filets skinless.
Why we love this recipe: it requires minimal effort, making it ideal for busy weeknights.
Marinated London broil
London broil is a naturally tough cut of beef, so marinating it is essential.
This recipe goes with a classic apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, and soy sauce marinade, which will help break down the meat’s proteins and tenderize it.
Plus, the marinade also adds a savory, tangy bite that works well with your herby pesto gnocchi.
Pro-tip: slice the cooked London broil against the grain for best results.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a delicious steak dinner without the luxurious price tag.
Pan-seared scallops are the perfect addition to elevate your pesto gnocchi.
Don’t be intimidated – they’re super easy to make. Just make sure you get your skillet nice and hot before placing the scallops down.
This will help form those gorgeous golden crusts while keeping the insides moist and juicy.
And don’t leave them unattended because they only need a few minutes to cook.
Why we love this recipe: it’s restaurant-worthy.
Mediterranean-stuffed pork tenderloin
Need a show-stopping protein? This stuffed pork tenderloin has your back.
It’s tender, juicy, and boasts a tangy, creamy center filled with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
Just watch out – pork tenderloin is a lean cut that can easily turn tough when overcooked so a meat thermometer will help you in perfecting this dish.
Why we love this recipe: it has a 4.5 rating from 590 reviews.
Vegetables and salads
Offset your carb-loaded pesto gnocchi with a nourishing veggie side!
A fresh salad is a quick and easy option, but steamed veggies are the way to go if you prefer something warm.
I also love grilling portobellos for their meaty texture and umami flavor.
Arugula apple salad
Pesto gnocchi is already hearty, so you can’t go wrong with serving it alongside this fresh arugula salad.
It boasts a sweet-tangy bite with a peppery kick from the fresh arugula leaves.
And it’s super nourishing, with lots of nutrients from the fresh produce and protein from the pecans and goat cheese.
Why we love this recipe: it calls for easily accessible ingredients.
Grilled portobello mushrooms
Keep your pesto gnocchi meat-free with a serving of these grilled portobellos.
These mushrooms are already loaded with umami goodness, but they’re even better after a quick 10-minute marinade.
Pssst… don’t leave them soaking for too long, or they’ll get too salty.
Grilling will infuse these portobellos with a delightful smokiness, but you can also make them in a grill pan.
Why we love this recipe: a serving only adds 60 calories to your meal.
Oven-roasted cherry tomatoes
Jazz up your pesto gnocchi with a serving of these roasted cherry tomatoes.
The high heat brings out the tomatoes’ natural sweetness that pairs superbly with your herby, garlicky pesto.
Plus, their vibrant red color is guaranteed to make your bright green pesto gnocchi even more Insta-worthy.
Why we love this recipe: these are effortless to make.
Sauteed zucchini and squash
Need a quick and healthy side dish? Sauteed zucchini and squash have your back.
These veggies are jam-packed with much-needed vitamins and nutrients, making them an excellent nourishing addition to your pesto gnocchi.
Plus, the simple combination of parsley, parmesan cheese, and butter brings out their natural sweetness and makes them tastier.
Why we love this recipe: it’ll remind you of summer.
Steaming is usually done over the stovetop, but did you know you can do it in your microwave too?
This way, you won’t have to deal with boiling water, and you’ll get delightfully crisp-tender asparagus spears in under five minutes.
Enjoy them on the side…
Or chop the spears and mix them with your pesto gnocchi for a nourishing one-bowl meal.
Why we love this recipe: it’s impossible to mess up.
The best side dishes for pesto gnocchi
- Homemade breadsticks
- Garlic confit toast
- Grilled chipotle chicken
- Baked tofu nuggets
- Pesto crusted salmon
- Marinated London broil
- Pan-seared scallops
- Mediterranean-stuffed pork tenderloin
- Arugula apple salad
- Grilled portobello mushrooms
- Oven-roasted cherry tomatoes
- Sauteed zucchini and squash
- Steamed asparagus
Read next: what to serve with gnocchi
What To Serve With Pesto Gnocchi – 39 Ideas
- 1 portion garlic confit toast
- 1 portion grilled chipotle chicken
- 1 portion oven-roasted cherry tomatoes
- 1 portion pan-seared scallops
- 1 portion steamed asparagus
- 1 portion baked tofu nuggets … and more
- Prepare your pesto gnocchi according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: homemade breadsticks, garlic confit toast, grilled chipotle chicken, baked tofu nuggets, pesto crusted salmon, marinated london broil, pan-seared scallops, mediterranean-stuffed pork tenderloin, arugula apple salad, grilled portobello mushrooms, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, sauteed zucchini and squash, and steamed asparagus.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!