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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This looks delicious! I've never made gnocchi with olives before, so I'll definitely have to try. Thanks for sharing!


Mmmm I LOVE green olives. The sharp saltyness of them would go beautiful with the doughy gnocchi. This is definitely a bookmarked recipe to add to the list.

Liana @ femme fraiche

Dear hubby will be over the moon with this know that large jar? Well we had one for about a month. He got from our children as a Christmas present one year they thought to be funny,. He ate every single one!!! This he will love. Thank you for sharing your world with us in your love of cooking.

Beverly Jane BJ

Beautiful, the green olive fabulous!

The Healthy Apple

Fabulous recipe. I love olives and this looks wintery, even Christmasy to me.



I wonder if throwing some spinach leaves into the sauce and then pureeing would brighten up the green? Anyway, it looks awesome, Heidi. I love fried gnocchi!


I used to make green olive sauce frequently - basically tapenade on pasta - you have ramped it up and I'll have to try it again - for snacking olives, notheing beats the canned tree ripened olives for flavor - your recipe ideas are fantanstic!


I'm hungry thinking about olive sauce. I love olives and love the idea of making a sauce from them. I'm inspired. Thanks Heidi.


This looks delicious. Love the olives! Will definitely try.


Wow, I cannot wait to try this! I have started a new blog that focuses on how to eat healthy (vegan style) and lose weight while on a strict budget. I'll be posting your recipes (with the link to your blog) because this site is the one I refer to the most when looking for simple, tasty, healthy meals. Thanks Heidi!


I have been meaning to try making gnocchi again, I had a failed attempt and got turned off. This has inspired me to try and try again! Thanks Heidi.

The Bounty Hunter olives! What a wonderful looking sauce! I imagine it would go well over all sorts of things.


Middle Eastern grocers also often have wonderfully extensive olive bars, and the prices are pretty hard to beat (a fraction of Whole Foods prices). What an inspiring recipe, thank you!


I love the combination of olives and pasta. Unattractive sauce or not, I'll definitely give this a try


I never had gnocchi with olive sauce, it must be great on pasta too. On the other hand I did make a green olive sauce, with preserved lemons, a moroccan recipe . It is just the two of them blended together, but it does taste much better than you'd expect, and it goes really well with grilled things.


I enjoy a good olive sauce and combining it with gnocchi sounds like a really good match. Even more I like this for mixing into brown rice or grains. Replacing the cream with a finishing olive oil sounds appealing to me. Really nice. Can't wait to try this.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

oh, I`d like to try such a delicious looking gnocchi! have a nice time, Paula


I make fish with cream, olives, and capers sauce, and it tastes great, so I would think that olives could also work with gnocchi, which are usually quite bland on their own. And, like you, I like experimenting in the kitchen.

[email protected] and Frills

This is a really interesting recipe. I often find myself stuck with a whole bunch of olives and have no idea what to do with them! I'll give this a try :)


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