Fried Gnocchi w/ Garlic Pesto & Tomato Puree

I have always loved the filling and versatile potato pasta known as gnocchi. However vegan g-free versions are not stocked on most grocery isle shelves; at least not in this Albertan city! Cravings + creativity resulted in this delicious twist on an old favorite. The dish takes a bit of time to prepare, but is worth every minute!

PREP TIME: 45 min COOK TIME: 15-20 min SERVES: 3 (as main course) 4-6 (as side dish)


4 large potatoes, peeled
4 tbsp dried onions
3 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 5 tbsp warm water <*for non vegan alternative, substitute 1 egg>
1/2 tsp xanthan gum <*if using egg, skip this ingredient>
1 cup brown rice flour (or g-free flour of choice)<*if not following a gluten free diet, all purpose wheat flour may be substituted>
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
oil for frying

Tomato Puree:
4 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh rosemary*
10 basil leaves*
1/8 cup fresh oregano*
2 sliced cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
3 tbsp dried onion flakes
<*frozen herbs may be used, however not dried>

Garlic Pesto: (This recipe will make plenty of extra pesto for future use; make a half recipe if you do not want extra)
2/3 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil**
6 sliced cloves of garlic
1/2 cup fresh oregano**
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2/3 - 3/4 cup olive oil (adjust to desired consistency)
**<for best results DO NOT use frozen herbs>

Start by by cutting the peeled potatoes into 1" cubes. Put potatoes and dried onions into pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium heat and continue boiling for approx 15 -20 min. (Until potatoes are very tender)

 While potatoes are boiling, combine all of the ingredients for Tomato Puree in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Gently boil tomato mixture for 3-5 minutes and remove from heat to cool.

 In blender combine the list of ingredients for Garlic Pesto and puree until smooth.

Once potatoes are tender remove from heat, drain and rinse under warm water. Next mash them thoroughly ( I use an electric mixer), and once completely smooth, add remaining gnocchi ingredients. Continue to mix with electric mixer until ingredients form a "cookie-like" dough. (Depending on the humidity in your home, you may need to adjust the level of flour to obtain this texture)
Once dough is mixed, begin forming small gnocchi balls and gentle intent the centers of the gnocchi with your thumb. Place on plate and continue process until remaining dough is transformed into gnocchi. (Traditionally gnocchi is rolled into long rolls and cut into appropriate size before being shaped... however to save time, I skipped this step).

In a non-stick frying pan, add enough cooking oil to generously cover the bottom of pan. Turn burner to med-high heat and once the oil is hot begin adding the gnocchi. Fry each side until lightly golden, turning often so as not to burn. (I used two wooden spoons to flip the gnocchi). Once gnocchi is golden, remove from oil and place on a plate layered with paper towel to absorb excess oils.

Next take cooled tomato sauce and blend in electric blender until finely pureed.

Plate the freshly made gnocchi, and top with tomato puree and garlic pesto. For best results, use 1 part pesto to 2 parts tomato puree....and once you have your first bite, you'll see why all the effort was worth it!!