Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato Pesto

We all love pasta, don’t we? It’s one of the easiest meals to fix on a hurried weeknight. Boil a box of pasta, whip up a quick tomato sauce, fix a salad, and you have a meal that’s not only quite healthy but delicious and sure to please.

But fresh pasta is an even more sublime experience. The wonderful texture is to die for, and the taste absolutely incomparable.

I’d long been wanting to make some gnocchi, a small, handmade potato pasta, especially after I watched that wonderful chef Lidia Bastianich cook up some on her public-television show. But I finally only got around to it this week.

Gnocchi does require a little labor, because you have to hand-make the dumplings, but believe me, it is a labor of love and well worth it.

I used whole-wheat to make my gnocchi, and the taste was so delicious, I’m glad I did not follow other recipes which suggested all-purpose flour.

I made a very simple sundried tomato pesto sauce for my gnocchi that gave this dish a huge burst of flavor while letting the beautiful texture and taste of the gnocchi come through.

So here’s the recipe. It’s shaping up to be a busy weekend, and I gotta run. Wish you all a lovely, lovely weekend, and don’t forget to come up with ideas and recipes for It’s A Vegan World: Italian. In fact, that’s where this gnocchi recipe’s off to.

Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato Pesto


2 cups white whole-wheat flour (can use regular whole-wheat or all-purpose)

2 large baking potatoes like russet potatoes, boiled or zapped in the microwave until a fork stuck in the middle sinks through. Peel and mash, making sure there are no lumps. I put mine through a potato ricer.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

Mix the ingredients into a smooth dough. You won’t need any water, I didn’t, but if the dough refuses to come together for any reason, add a little water.

Take a couple of tablespoons of the dough and roll into a cylinder about 1/2 inch thick.

With a knife, cut the cylinder at 1/4-inch intervals.

Take each piece and lightly shape it into a cylindrical shape. Then, with your thumb, press the gnocchi into the tines of a fork, while making a dent in the back with your thumb at the same time.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about 2 tbsp salt to it.

Put about a fourth of the gnocchi into the boiling water. It will sink first and rise as it cooks. Once the gnocchi has risen, remove to a plate. Each batch will take about 2 minutes each.

Add some sundried pesto sauce (recipe follows) or basil pesto and stir.

Serve with a salad.

Sundried Pesto Sauce
2/3 cup of oil-packed sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

A handful (around 1/4 cup) of walnuts

1 tsp dried basil leaves

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp red chili powder, like cayenne

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients other than olive oil into a food processor.

With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.

Once you have a granular but even paste, turn off the food processor. Check for salt.

Mix with gnocchi.


(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

25 thoughts on “Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato Pesto

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 25, 2009 at 1:48am

    Lovely vegan italian dish. I tried gnocchi once. It was made by an italian chef who was invited to hyatt at kolkata. I was okay and not love at first sight! I guess it takes time to like boiled balls of flour! Now you’ve inspired me to give it a try again!

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    January 25, 2009 at 3:21am

    Am so making this Vaishali. I have tried making ‘sun dried’ tomatoes in the oven and they come very close to the real thing. :-)
    Such a quick reipe ( what say I make the gnocchi first and store it in the fridge for a coupla days for later use? Or does it have to be made absolutely fresh?

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    January 25, 2009 at 4:21am

    Varsha, Thanks!

    Dibs, With the right sauce, these do taste wonderful. I hope you try them again.

    Sharmila, sure, you can absolutely make them first and freeze them. Spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze them first, then put them in a plastic bag. They’ll keep for several weeks.
    Thaw them before use. Then prepare according to directions.

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    January 25, 2009 at 4:23am

    I’ve had visions of making gnocchi but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Yours look so yummy!

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    January 25, 2009 at 4:31am

    This has been on my mind for sometime! Thanks for the vegan version:) BTW, saw slumdog millionaire and thoroughly enjoyed the true Bollywood ishtyle of rags to riches – I love happy endings!

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    Curry Leaf

    January 25, 2009 at 4:37am

    Vaishali,I had planned this for your event.I too make vegan gnocchi and was thinking of posting it for the same event.
    This looks lovely and delish.

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    DJ Karma

    January 25, 2009 at 6:42am

    Wonderful looking gnocchi! still figuring out what to make for the challenge… hmmm…

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    January 25, 2009 at 7:04am

    Oh My goodness!!! That is a great recipe thank you thank you, I love gnocci and I never dared try to make it from scratch! So excited to try this!

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    January 25, 2009 at 1:22pm

    That’s so cool. You made gnocchi at home!! Looks delicious. Lidia’s restaurant is really good.

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    January 25, 2009 at 4:47pm

    Thats an extraordinary recipe Vaishalli. Looks so rich. Love the sundried tomatoes.

    I did not know about the event. Lets see if I can cook up something… i see there’s still time.

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    January 25, 2009 at 6:06pm

    The gnocchi reminds the sweet we make Gulgul (IN TN) with the back of fork! Lots os work which is worth looks absolutely delicious the pesto too

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    January 25, 2009 at 9:09pm

    Delicious Gnocchi,I like the luscious red color of the sun dried tomatoes pesto,serving with avocados is very refreshing:).And thanks for correcting me ,wasn’t aware that honey is not a part of vegan diet.

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    January 26, 2009 at 9:48am

    Amazing, Vaishali. I never knew making the pasta at home was so easy! I will surely try this. I do have various things I have tried out myself, but not sure if it will be authentic Italian stuff. I just throw in stuff to make a sauce, and mix with some boiled veggies before tossing the pasta in.of course I use olive oil.but hope I can submit them for the event..:-)

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    January 27, 2009 at 3:56am

    Wow, your gnocchi look amazing and delicious. Definitely something I will have to try!

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    January 27, 2009 at 5:46pm

    What a wonderful recipe. Thank you!

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    March 31, 2009 at 5:07am

    I cut corners severely (as I often do) and cooked already-made gnocchi. But the pesto was delicious – and so easy to make!

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 21, 2010 at 12:24am

    Hi Vishali,
    I definitely want to try this out. This recipe serves for how many people?


  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 21, 2010 at 3:36am

    Madhu, it would easily serve four to six people.

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    December 21, 2010 at 3:01pm

    hi Vaishali, thanks for your quick response. I definitely wanna try this out. One more quick question, can I use the oil that comes in the jar along with these tomatoes or just discard it? This is going to be my first experiment with sundried tomatoes so didnt want to mess it up :).

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    December 21, 2010 at 3:05pm

    Absolutely use it. The oil is really flavorful and it would be a crime to discard it :)

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    April 26, 2011 at 3:33pm

    I tried this y’day. It turned out very well! Even my 2&1/2 yr daughter enjoyed it, tomato pesto is YUM !!

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    July 15, 2012 at 5:22am

    You must try making this with yams or sweet potato.

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