Beet Green Pesto Gnocchi Recipe

Beet Green Pesto Gnocchi Recipe Recipe

Here's another flavorful and healthy recipe using the young beet leaves from my garden. If the leaves are still young, they're edible! I've cooked with beet greens in the past but I find that the best way to consume them all is to use them in sauces. To that end, I made beet green pesto mixing macadamia nuts, Romano cheese and of course, the beet greens. 

What goes better with pesto than gnocchi? It’s definitely one of my favorite combinations and I was eager to see how the beet green flavor matches with the gnocchi. After sautéing the gnocchi in a bit of olive oil, I added a touch of ricotta cheese and completed the sauce with the beet green pesto and a bit of the beet liquid.

I've finally used all the beet greens for this week. Mission accomplished! 


Yields: 8 servings

1 pound gnocchi
8 ounces golden beets, roasted and diced
4 cups beet greens
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup macadamia nuts
¼ cup Romano cheese, shredded
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 red onion, cut into small wedges
1½ tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground


For the beet greens: Wash the beet leaves thoroughly in several baths. Remove and discard the older, more fibrous part of the stems. Bring salted water to a boil. Add the beet leaves. Cook for about 4-6 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover and let the greens sit for about 5 minutes. Drain the liquid, reserving 1 cup and transfer the greens to a cold water bath. Coarsely chop.

For the beet green pesto: In a mini-food prep (or food processor), combine the beet greens, 1 clove garlic, macadamia nuts, Romano cheese and ¼ cup olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Add up to ½ cup beet green liquid for a smoother flow.

Cooking the gnocchi:

Add a large amount of salted water to a pot and bring to a boil (you always need a large amount of water when boiling pasta, even for gnocchi!). Add the gnocchi, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook the pasta for about 3-4 minutes total until the gnocchi float to the surface.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick pan, heat the rest of the olive oil. Add the remaining garlic and cook until slightly golden. Add half the onion and cook until softened. Using a slotted spoon, as soon as the gnocchi float to the surface of the other pot, drain and transfer them to the pan. Toss the gnocchi by moving the pan in a circular motion (the pan should be lifted at a low angle to facilitate the movement). Season with salt and pepper. If the pasta starts sticking to the bottom, add a little pasta water. Transfer to a large serving platter. Set aside.

Assembly time:

In the same pan, combine the beet green pesto and ricotta cheese. Add ½ cup of the reserved beet green liquid to thin the sauce. Return the gnocchi to the pan. Toss well for about 1 minute. Add the remaining red onions and golden beets. Cover and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer for about 3 minutes, so the sauce is warm.

Adjust seasoning. Add more salt if necessary.

Garnish with parsley.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!


For a vegan version, simply substitute more nuts for the cheese and omit the ricotta cheese in the sauce.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 20, 2012.


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