Two things I am passionate about when it comes to cooking! First, of course being, well balanced healthy meals that are indulgent and satisfying. The second, using what you got to minimize food waste by transforming leftovers, whether it be a leftover dinner or just leftover ingredients. Which helps save money and the environment. That is why this Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto is one of my family’s favorite dishes!
Whoever said vegetation meals are expensive, take lots of time, is bland, and lacks in protein has never really made a vegetarian meal. Take this full of flavor, healthy, protein-packed Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto for example. Made with leftover ingredients, only takes 40 minutes start to finish, loaded with protein, and flavor. Don’t believe me? I will prove it to you!
Like most moms, I am always trying to get my kids to eat more veggies. However, I must admit my kids are awesome foodies and have never fought me when it comes to what’s on their plates. Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto has become one of their new favorite meals ever since I had a fridge full of halved veggies I had to use before they turned toxic.
This year I decided not only to do meatless Mondays but to attempt to eat 2-3 meatless meals a week.
Okay, I know what you are thinking! To tell you the truth the adjustment has not been too difficult and has saved me so much time because most meatless meals take less time to cook! Oh, and another bonus is this Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto is it was made with leftovers and leftover ingredients which saved a trip to the grocery store and money!
Other than time and money, one of the biggest concerns I hear from people is what about the protein? There is no meat or beans in this recipe so wouldn’t you consider this a side dish? When I say there is protein in this dish, I get that look, you know, the one that says, “Your crazy lady.” So, here is the breakdown of all the proteins in Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto.
- 1 cup chopped zucchini = 1.5 grams of protein
- 2 cups Mashed Potatoes = 8 grams of protein
- 2 egg = 12 grams protein
- 1 cup chopped yellow squash = 1.4 grams of protein
- 1 cup asparagus = 2.9 grams of protein
- 1 cup sliced almonds- 20 grams of protein
- ½ cup chopped red peppers =0.6 grams of protein
- 1 clove garlic =0.2 grams of protein
- 1 cup chopped parsley= 1.8 grams of protein
- ½ cup parmesan cheese = 19 grams of protein
Total Protein is an estimated 67.4 grams of protein in the entire dish. Divided by 4 servings is 16.85 grams protein proteins per serving. This does not include any parmesan cheese you may sprinkle on top of the dish.
It is roughly estimated that:
- Children 1-4-year-old need 14-16 grams of protein a day
- Children 5-18 years old need 20-45 grams of protein a day
- Adult women need 25-45 grams of protein a day
- Adult males need 30-55 grams of protein a day
Wondering exactly how much protein you should be consuming each day? The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), which is the minimum amount you need to be healthy, 0.36 grams per pound of body weight per day.
An example: I’m 113lb’s so 113 X 0.36 = 40.68 grams is my RDA of protein
Therefore, this Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto has enough protein to help keep me on track to meeting my RDA of protein. Especially after you add in breakfast, lunch, snacks, and let’s not forget dessert!
So next time you hear vegetarian meal and get worried about the amount of protein you will be getting remember even vegetables have protein plus extra vitamins and minerals! You also don’t have to worry about breaking the bank, extra trips to the grocery store, or it is tasting bland and boring!
I hope you like this bright, flavorful, healthy, vegetarian, protein-packed Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto. For more ways, you can use leftovers head over to the leftover tab at the top of the page, and remember, it is not only good for your pocketbook to use leftovers but also to the environment!
Veggie Loaded Parmesan Gnocchi with Citrus Garlic Pesto
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
- ½ medium onion chopped
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ½ tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tbsp vegetable stock base
- 2 mini red bell pepper sliced
- ½ yellow squash cut inch 1/2 inch chunks
- ½ zucchini cut inch 1/2 inch chunks
- ½ lb Asparagus cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
- 2 small eggs
- 1 ½ cup flour plus some for rolling
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Citrus Garlic Pesto
- 1 cup fresh Italian Parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 ½ tbsp orange zest
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- salt to taste
Make the Gnocchi
- Place leftover mashed potatoes, eggs, flour, and parmesan in a food processor and mix until a ball is formed. If the dough is sticky add a little more flour, until ball forms.
- Shape small portions of the dough into long "snakes". On a floured surface, cut snakes into half-inch pieces.
- Bring a big pot of water with salt to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top. Use a slotted spoon to remove gnocchi. Set aside on wax paper if you are not ready to add them to the skillet if you are ready just add them to the skillet.
Make Citrus Garlic Pesto
- Place fresh Italian Parsley, lemon juice, garlic, orange zest, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, almonds, and salt into food processor and blend until everything is finely chopped and incorporated. If mixture appears too thick feel free to add more olive oil.
Everything Comes Together
- Heat up water in microwave safe bowl, stir in and dissolve vegetable base in the water.
- In cast iron skillet saute the onions in 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat until slightly translucent. Add in almonds and let them toast and turn a light brown for a few minutes.
- Place remaining 1 tablespoon butter into the skillet with onions and almonds. Once melted add in the gnocchi. Allow the gnocchi to fry for 5 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally.
- Add in tomato paste and water with the vegetable base. Stir until well combined.
- Add in chopped red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and asparagus. Allow all ingredients to cook together for 2 minutes.
- Remove cast iron skillet from heat and stir in citrus pesto.
- Top with parmesan cheese and sliced almonds and serve.
- Cut up all veggies, juice a lemon, and zest the orange
- Get the water boiling for the gnocchi
- Chop the onions and add them to skillet with the butter (do not turn the stove on yet)
- Make gnocchi dough and roll out and cut half the gnocchi
- Turn on stove to get onions going
- Finish rolling out and cutting gnocchi
- Add almonds to the onions and butter
- Add gnocchi to the boiling salt water
- Once gnocchi rises to the top I add remaining butter to the skillet and using a slotted spoon place the gnocchi immediately into the skillet and allow to fry up
- Make Garlic Citrus Pesto
- Add Tomato paste along with water and veggie base mixture to the gnocchi.
- Add veggies allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes
- Remove from heat and add pesto
- Top with parmesan and sliced almonds and serve
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