Keto Gnocchi with Pesto

by Clean Keto Lifestyle

These Keto Gnocchi with Pesto are the perfect dinner option! They are pillowy yet sturdy in texture and the perfect base for all your favorite Italian-inspired dishes. These gnocchi are keto, low-carb, grain-free, and gluten-free!

Keto Gnocchi with pesto in a white bowl

Keto Gnocchi With Pesto 

Traditional gnocchi are tender little dumplings that melt in your mouth and are made from potatoes and flour.

With a keto diet, both of these ingredients are avoided due to their higher carb content. 

But don't worry!  Thankfully, going keto doesn't mean you have to give up on gnocchi forever!

Say hello to our Keto Gnocchi!! 

No, we didn't use potatoes – that would be way too many carbs. Instead, we made the most amazing gnocchi out of cauliflower.

It's amazing how tender and delicious they are. Tossed with homemade basil pesto, this is a true culinary treat!

cauliflower gnocchi pierced with a fork

Keto Gnocchi Ingredients

There are two parts to this recipe –  the gnocchi and the pesto. Here's what's in the gnocchi. 

  • Head of Cauliflower – You will use the entire head and cut it up into florets. 
  • Mozzarella Cheese – The mozzarella cheese helps the gnocchi hold together. You don't have to use shredded cheese, you can slice the cheese. You'll be melting it and shredded cheese melts faster, but it isn't required. 
  • Egg – You'll need 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk. 
  • Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated Parmesan tastes the best in the gnocchi.
  • Coconut Flour – You can find it in the baking aisle of your grocery store or online.

Keto Pesto Ingredients

Here's what we used in our pesto. It's so simple.

  • Basil Leaves – Use fresh leaves. The dried herbs don't work at all for fresh pesto. 
  • Garlic Cloves – Again, you'll want to use fresh garlic, not the dried powder. 
  • Parmesan Cheese – We used fresh grated Parmesan.
  • Walnuts – Pesto is normally made with pine nuts, so you can use those instead. 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Avocado oil will work too.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter. 

white bowl with gnocchi and basil

What Do You Serve With Keto Gnocchi

This recipe works well as both an entree or side dish. and is so versatile.

It goes with almost any kind of protein that you prepare. Try one of these: 

Also, don't forget dessert! Here is our a step-by-step video of how to make our most popular recipes – Keto Zucchini Bread Whoopie Pies!

How To Make Keto Gnocchi

The entire recipe is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

We personally love sharing a few tips and step-by-step pictures first. 

So we can set you up for success!

Step #1. Chop and Steam The Cauliflower

Cut up your cauliflower into small florets. 

Set a steamer basket inside a large pot and fill with just enough filtered water to reach the bottom of the basket.

Place cauliflower florets into the basket and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and steam the cauliflower for only 5 minutes or until a fork can pierce through them but is met with some resistance. 

Head of Cauliflower

Step #2. Squeeze Out the Liquid From The Cauliflower 

This is a very important step. Wrap the steamed cauliflower in a dish towel and squeeze out as much water as you can.

If you leave any water in the cauliflower, it will make the gnocchi not able to set up as well. 

So roll up your sleeves and squeeze out all the excess water you can!

Step #3. Make the Gnocchi Dough

Melt the mozzarella cheese in  the microwave until it is fully melted – about 90 seconds.

Put the cauliflower, mozzarella, egg and yolk, parmesan cheese and coconut flour in a food processor and pulse it until it's combined. 

It should look like a dough, like in the picture below.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap – tightly – and refrigerate it for 2 hours. 

This is another critical step. Don't skip it. 

keto gnocchi dough in plastic wrap

Step #4. Make the Gnocchi Pieces

After the dough has chilled for a couple of hours, roll out the dough on parchment paper into 2 foot-long ropes that are 1-inch in diameter. 

Next, cut up the gnocchi pieces. Cut them all the same size, about an inch long. 

Boil the gnocchi until the pieces all float to the top. This should only take about a minute.

Then, lay them on a paper towel to dry and bake them in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes. 

cut out gnocchi dough square

Step #5. Make the Pesto

This couldn't be easier. There is almost no cooking required. 

Put the basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and walnuts into a food processor and process it all together until it is all combined. 

basil leaves, garlic bulb, and olive oil

Step #6. Slowly Add the Olive Oil

After it's all combined, begin to add the olive oil a little bit at a time and pulse until it is smooth.

It should look like the picture below. 

pesto in a blender bowl

Step #7. Make Brown Butter

Melt your butter in a saucepan on low-medium heat until it has a nutty aroma and has turned brown. 

Then, put the pesto mixture in a bowl and mix in the brown butter. 

pesto and olive oil in a glass bowl

Step #8. Toss the Gnocchi in the Pesto

Now take your baked gnocchi and toss them in the pesto.

Seriously smother them in the scrumptious green sauce, it has a mild flavor with a nutty bite. 

Don't like pesto? Make our Bolognese Sauce instead!

Keto Gnocchi with pesto in a white bowl

How To Store Keto Gnocchi 

If you want to store the gnocchi, we suggest only tossing the amount of gnocchi that you are going to eat in the sauce. Storing the gnocchi in the fridge with the sauce on it will change the texture.

The cauliflower bites will soak up the sauce and become pretty soft. 

Store the gnocchi pieces separately from the pesto in airtight containers. You can keep them in the fridge for about a week. 

cauliflower gnocchi pierced with a fork

Quick Keto Gnocchi Tips

Before you start cooking, here are a few pro-tips for you:

  • You want to steam the cauliflower just for 5 minutes to soften it. 
  • It is important to squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible from the caulifllower.
  • Divide the dough into quarters, then roll each quarter into a 2 foot long rope that it 1-inch in diameter.
  • Tape the corners of a piece of parchment down to your counter.  It makes rolling the ropes out so much easier.
  • Allowing the dough to cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours will make it easier to roll out.


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