Enjoy the abundance of summer greens with this recipe for gnocchi with sautéed Swiss chard and kale pesto.
Many years ago, my husband and I belonged to a CSA. There were many aspects of having a farm share that I really loved. I liked getting fresh seasonal vegetables every week and I liked supporting a local farm. However, there was one thing that I didn’t like so much – the greens.
We often became weary of all the Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, and braising greens. It always felt like as one variety of greens finished another soon followed. We eventually stopped doing the CSA for this reason and started going to the farmers market regularly.
Back then I didn’t know how versatile greens could be. Perhaps if I had had a few more recipes like this gnocchi with sautéed Swiss chard and kale pesto, all of those greens might have felt less tiresome.
What greens can I use for this recipe?
For the gnocchi, I recommend Swiss chard or kale which cook fairly quickly and hold up better than a more tender green like spinach.
For the pesto, you can change the ratio of kale to herbs to your personal preference or to what’s more abundantly available in your garden or at the market. If you are a fan of arugula, you can also substitute arugula for the kale.
Other uses for kale pesto
Depending on how much sauce you like on your gnocchi, you may end up with some extra kale pesto. Fortunately, pesto will keep very well in your refrigerator for several weeks. You can toss the leftover pesto with pasta like in this recipe for pasta with kale pesto and roasted tomatoes or use it as a topper on crostini or homemade pizza.
For the kale pesto
- 2 cups roughly chopped kale leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh mint or basil leaves (or a combination)
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels, toasted
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the gnocchi
- 1 pound potato gnocchi
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups red onion thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups chopped swiss chard or kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the kale pesto
- Put the kale, mint or basil, sunflower seeds, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and pulse to a fairly smooth paste, scraping down the sides as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the gnocchi
- Cook the gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water (about 3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until just tender according to the package directions. Drain the gnocchi then set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté to evenly coat the onions with the butter. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until onions start to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes more. Stir in salt and sugar and continue cooking until onions are evenly browned.
- Add chopped Swiss chard or kale leaves and sauté until greens are wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season mixture to taste with salt. Transfer onion and greens mixture to a plate or bowl and wipe out the skillet.
- Return skillet to stove and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi and stir to evenly coat the gnocchi with oil. Spread the gnocchi into a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden and crisp on the underside, about 5 minutes. Turn the gnocchi and cook, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp on second side, about 3 minutes more.
- Remove from the heat and stir in desired amount of pesto (you may have leftover pesto) and the onion and greens mixture. Toss to combine and serve.
Keywords: gnocchi with pesto, kale pesto, gnocchi with greens and kale pesto