Green Olive Gnocchi Recipe

At the heart of this recipe is a completely quirky and off-beat sauce made from pureed green olives. Served with golden, pan-fried gnocchi, capers, toasted almonds and chives. You can easily tweak it to work with pasta or grains as well.

Green Olive Gnocchi

Have any of you ever made a sauce from green olives? Me either. Until now. I found myself with a large container of pitted, herb-flecked green olives. And I mean a laaarge container. I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I bought them, intending to use them as part of a dinner spread for friends. Then promptly forgot they existed. I found them the following morning hiding behind a container of feta. And so, olive season on Pierce Street begins. You can imagine my excitement when, I came across a recipe I'd tagged many months ago in Maggie Beer's book, Maggie's Harvest. She makes green olive gnocchi, then tosses it in a quirky, off-beat lightly creamy green olive sauce. The perfect way to put a dent in my olive supply.

Green Olive Gnocchi Recipe

Before we start, let me warn you, this isn't a particularly attractive sauce. And, I'm being kind here. But the sauce is assertive and deliciously distinctive. Here's a case where finishing the gnocchi with a few flavorful garnishes like fried capers and chives made all the aesthetic difference in the world.

As far as the specifics go - it's worth noting, I did a quick version of Maggie's recipe, reflected in the recipe below. I used store-bought gnocchi, and pan-fried it until it was deeply golden and crusted, instead of making the gnocchi from scratch. You can dress the gnocchi lightly, or more heavily, based on your preference. The leftover green olive sauce kept nicely in the refrigerator for the better part of a week, and was delicious on pasta, over brown rice, and alongside a bit of crumbled goat cheese in an omelette.

Green Olive Gnocchi Recipe

I hope some of you give this a try. And now that I'm thinking about it, I think you could introduce some blanched broccoli if you like - a good way to get some green vegetables on the plate. Or even better, you might cut the florets extra small, and toss them in the pan with the gnocchi at the last minute to cook that way.

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Green Olive Gnocchi Recipe

You can see the olives I used in the photo up above. They were pitted and tossed with Herbes de Provence. I'm inclined to tell you to avoid canned olives here, seek out an olive bar if possible and go from there. Many Whole Foods Markets, Italian grocers, and natural food stores have olive bars, often near the cheese section.

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter

scant 3/4 cup / 180 ml vegetable broth
1/3 cup / 80 ml heavy cream
1 2/3 cup / 200 g green olives, pitted and chopped
fresh lemon juice

1 pound store-bought gnocchi, either fresh or packaged

top with: fried capers, bread crumbs, toasted almonds, and/or chives

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the garlic and onion in the 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, until softened, a few minutes. Add the both and cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, add the olives and let cool for a couple minutes. Transfer to a bowl and puree with a hand blender. Thin with a bit more warm cream or water if needed. Taste and add a bit of fresh lemon juice if you like. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil In a large skillet over medium high heat. Pan-fry the gnocchi in a single layer until golden on both sides. Working in two batches if needed. A few of you have asked if you need to boil the gnocchi first, nope!

Toss the gnocchi with half of the sauce, taste, and add more sauce if you like. Salt and pepper to taste, then serve topped with fried capers, toasted bread crumbs, toasted almonds, and/or chives.

Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for a few days.

Serves 4 - 6.

Inspired by the Green Olive Sauce recipe in Maggie's Harvest by Maggie Beer.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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It definetely looks great! Gonna try it and post about it later! =)

Carol Jardim

Maggie Beer's recipes always seem so have a lot of 'heart' to them. This green olive sauce looks delicious. I can only imagine the endless possibilities with it!


So many things to thank you for! A non-tomato pasta sauce for my tomato-allergic mother, and you use store-bought gnocchi so I don't have to feel guilty about not being up to my arms in mashed potato. Thank you!


This recipe sounds wonderful, being the avid olive fan that I am. I'll definitely have to give this a try. Too bad a I don't have a huge container of green olives laying around, though, or I'd be making this straight away.

jodye @ 'scend food

This looks and sounds divine - I just love good olives and pan frying the gnocchi is a great idea. Thanks!


Heidi, apart from this looking absolutely delicious, I am so excited that you have chosen one of Maggie Beer's recipes - we love Maggie here - she has been such a great contributor to the Australian food scene for a long time. Her books are gorgeous - do you have any of her others?


Gnocchi is the best, and those olives look so delicious! Thanks for sharing a yummy sounding recipe. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

I love the idea of briny olives with heavy cream, and tender bites of gnocchi perked up with bread crumbs. Lots of wonderful balance.


I adore gnocchi and this is SO unique!

Jessica @ How Sweet

i have to say that i ADORE green olives and this is a great excuse for me to go buy more and more and more of them :)

Heather (Heather's Dish)

Earmarked for when my olive loving daughter arrives in January!

Julie Anne Rhodes

I've never tried cooking gnocchi, been to busy mastering mexican cooking.. but this look they are worth the try!

chocolate freckles

Looks delicious! My Italian roommate also likes to eat pasta with green olives, ricotta and a bit of olive oil.


never ever heard of this! Will try

Amanda Maebird

I love that you call this sauce quirky! What a great word for food. I have been on a major olive kick so this is great!


My goodness. I never would have thought to use olives in this way! Sounds like some salty deliciousness.

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

Oh what a great idea for green olives!

Simply Life

Lovely looking recipe, I LOVE green olives and can't wait to try it in this gnocchi. Cheers!

Joe @ Eden Kitchen

My mommy would go crazy for this! I had your sweet gnocchi recipe tagged, but this one has stolen the number one spot!

A Teenage Gourmet

Wow! That just speaks to me right now! I wish I had the ingredients on hand... if I did, I'd make this tonight. Can I ask where you got your laaaarge container of pitted herbed green olives, or what brand it is? My husband eats them like candy and the "olive bars" can get pricey.


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