Cheesy broccoli gnocchi is a quick and easy one skillet meal that you can prepare in less than 10 minutes. It's perfect for a simple weeknight dinner, or an easy lunch.
This easy, cheesy gnocchi recipe is perfect comfort food. It's incredibly easy to make, tastes amazing, and is prepared in only a few minutes.
I love to serve dishes like dish for a quick lunch or dinner on busy days, and it's loved by kids and adults. There are also plenty of healthy swaps available if you want to make it a little lighter.
Why you'll love it
- Easy 10-minute dinner recipe
- A comforting vegetarian gnocchi dish
- Easy to customize
- Lots of variations available
- Perfect for quick and easy weeknight meals
Broccoli: Use chopped broccoli florets or broccolini. I highly recommend using fresh broccoli as opposed to frozen, but either will work.
Cheddar cheese: You can also use mozzarella cheese, or any other shredded cheese.
Parmesan: Adds extra flavor to the cheesy sauce.
Lemon: Lightens up the dish. You can use fresh lemon juice, or bottled lemon juice. Add lemon zest for even more flavor.
Gnocchi: Store bought or homemade gnocchi both work well.
Creme fraiche: The creamy base for the sauce. You can also use sour cream or heavy cream, but creme fraiche is a much lighter option.
Seasoning: A combination of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and thyme is used to add fantastic flavor to the dish.
You can find full instructions + ingredient measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this page
One: Heat up some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli, and sauté for a few minutes until the broccoli has a slight sear and/or has softened slightly.
Two: Add gnocchi, thyme and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Sauté for a few more minutes until the gnocchi is warm on the surface.
Three: Add the remaining ingredients. I like to add creme fraiche and Parmesan first, then add cheese to taste, and finally add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. The dish is finished when the sauce and gnocchi are warm.
- Use fresh broccoli or broccolini if possible
- Make sure to adjust the seasoning to taste
- Use a non-stick skillet if possible. If the gnocchi is sticking to your pan, you might have to add a little more olive oil, or add the creme fraiche.
- Don't leave the skillet unattended. You can to stir the ingredients almost continuously to prevent them from burning.
Broccoli gnocchi is best served as a main course or entree for lunch or dinner. It's a quick and easy one skillet meal, making it a great choice on busy weeknights.
You can serve the dish on its own, or pair it with some tasty side dishes. Here are my favorite sides to serve as an accompaniment to broccoli gnocchi:
Different seasoning: Omit the red pepper flakes if you're sensitive to spice, or if you're cooking the dish for young children. You can substitute the thyme with other dried herbs. Try oregano, basil, mixed herbs or Italian seasoning.
Different sauce: Use heavy cream or sour cream to make a different cream sauce. You can also use your favorite Alfredo sauce, or any jarred pasta sauce that you like. For a lighter sauce, you can also use canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce instead.
Healthier swaps: Omit the cheddar cheese, add more vegetables, use spinach gnocchi, and replace the creme fraiche with a tomato based sauce like my Healthy Spaghetti Sauce for a much lighter version of this recipe.
Less cheese: This sauce is really cheesy. You can reduce calories by using less cheese, or omitting the cheddar completely.
More vegetables: Feel free to add any soft vegetables that can cook quickly in a skillet. Sliced zucchini, bell peppers, mushroom, spinach, kale or fresh basil are all excellent options.
Browned butter gnocchi: For an extra comforting dish, you can replace the olive oil with butter. Allow the butter to brown in the skillet before you add the broccoli and gnocchi.
Garnish: Garnish the broccoli gnocchi with chopped fresh herbs, freshly grated black pepper, red pepper flakes, pine nuts, extra Parmesan cheese, roasted walnuts, or any other topping that you like.
To make this recipe, you will need a large non-stick frying pan. I like to use my cast iron skillet, as I find that it gives the broccoli a fantastic texture.
If you don't have a non-stick pan available, you might have to use more oil when you cook.
Store any leftover broccoli gnocchi in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat the dish in a frying pan on the stove top, or in a microwave for a few minutes. Serve the broccoli gnocchi warm.
I do not recommend freezing gnocchi with broccoli, as the cheese sauce can split.
Frequently asked questions
Perfect gnocchi should be soft and fluffy. If you're using homemade gnocchi, follow the instructions in your recipe carefully. If you're using store bought gnocchi, I find that searing them slightly before you add the sauce ingredients to the skillet really improves their texture. Alternatively, you can also boil gnocchi in water to soften it before you add it to the frying pan.
Yes, most gnocchi can be cooked in a skillet without boiling them first. Make sure to use a good oil, and either cook them until they are seared on the surface and soft in the middle, or allow them to lightly simmer in a good sauce.
If your gnocchi sticks to the pan, this could suggest that you might need to add more oil to your skillet, or that your gnocchi is too crumbly to pan-fry. Some brands of store bought gnocchi can only be boiled, not seared. If this happens, simply boil the gnocchi following the package instructions, and then add them to the skillet when cooked.
Yes. To cook gnocchi from frozen, follow the instructions on the package, or saute on medium to high heat in some oil. Some frozen gnocchi can only be boiled.
You might also like these recipes
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- Gnocchi Bolognese
- Pesto Gnocchi
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
- Chorizo Shakshuka (Baked Eggs)
- Frying Pan
- If using a head of broccoli, cut into florets. If you're using broccolini, or long stem broccoli, slice into equally thick pieces.6 ounces broccoli
- Heat up some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli, and sauté for a few minutes until the broccoli has a slight sear and/or has softened slightly.½ cup creme fraiche
- Add gnocchi, thyme and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Sauté for a few more minutes until the gnocchi is warm on the surface.1 pound gnocchi
- Add the creme fraiche, shredded cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese to the frying pan. Stir to coat the gnocchi and broccoli evenly.
- Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Start with a smaller amount than what the recipe dictates, and add more if you want to.
- The olive oil is just used for cooking. You can substitute with a cooking spray, butter or vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Use a non-stick frying pan if possible.
- Use sour cream or heavy cream in place of the creme fraiche if you prefer. You can also use jarred pasta sauce instead. Creme fraiche is the lighter choice.
- Some gnocchi is only suitable for boiling, not pan-frying. Read the package instructions to check which cooking method is suitable for your ingredients. Boil the gnocchi following the package instructions, and add them to the skillet before you add the creme fraiche and sauce ingredients.
Food safety tips
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove