30min recipe: homemade gnocchi with basil pesto

You could eat shop-bought, but it wouldn’t taste anywhere near as good as this recipe, which offers an excellent ratio of medium-GI carbohydrate to protein

Homemade gnocchi with pesto

With an excellent ratio of medium-GI carbohydrate to protein – and plenty of heart-friendly, unsaturated fats – this feather-light gnocchi and pesto recovery meal will replenish glycogen stores and restore muscles for back-to-back winter training.

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You can, of course, buy good pre-prepared gnocchi and pesto from the supermarket, but there’s no turning back once you’ve made your own. Warming, filling and comforting, it’s totally heavenly. It’s good fun, too, and really doesn’t take that long. Work quickly and carefully to achieve the lightest results.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 25mins
Cooking time: 5mins
Equipment: pestle & mortar or food processor; large saucepan; grater/masher or potato ricer; sharp knife



– 500g floury potatoes (such as King Edwards)
– 1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
– 150g plain flour
– ½ tsp salt
– Freshly ground black pepper


– 50g fresh basil leaves
– 1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped
– Pinch of sea salt
– 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
– Freshly ground black pepper
– 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
– 50g parmesan cheese, grated
– Juice of half a lemon, or to taste

Step 1

Prepare the pesto. Pound the basil leaves with the garlic and salt in a pestle and mortar or food processor, add the pine nuts, pepper and olive oil, and pound or process again until the required consistency is achieved. Stir in the parmesan cheese and add a little lemon juice. The balance of ingredients really depends on taste, so don’t worry too much about exact quantities.

Step 2

Prepare the gnocchi. Boil the potatoes in their skins in salted water for about 25mins, or until tender. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, carefully remove the peel with a sharp knife. Mash or grate the potatoes, or mince in a potato ricer. Stir in the egg, flour, salt and plenty of black pepper.

Step 3

Bring the mixture together with your hands into a ball and, on a floured surface, gently knead it, like dough, until soft and not too sticky. Divide into sections and roll each section into a sausage shape. Using a sharp knife, cut into little gnocchi (flattish oval balls), about 1 to 1.5cm in length and put them into a floured container. They’re now ready to cook.

Step 4

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a gentle simmer and cook the gnocchi in batches, a handful at a time, for about 2mins, or until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately, tossed with a few spoonfuls of pesto.

Nutrition per serving

Energy: 506kcal
Protein: 13g
Carbohydrate: 52g (sugars 2.6g)
Fat: 28g (saturates 5g)
Salt: 0.8g
Fibre: 5g

(Images: Ewelina Karbowiak)

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For lots more fuelling advice head to our Nutrition section