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 might be an ugly sauce, but it looks absolutely delicious. it's on my list.

Gnocchi + olives = 2 of my most favorite things! I think the toasted bread crumbs and broccoli would be welcome additions to this plate.

Delicious! I made this for dinner tonight. Two of my favorite things are gnocchi and good olives, so this was a no-brainer must-try! I substituted half and half for the cream, because I already had some. I added the chives and toasted almonds as a garnish--didn't do capers or breadcrumbs. I ended up tossing the gnocchi with all the sauce, and whatever was left over on the plate we sopped up with sourdough bread. I also want to add that this came together really quickly, probably no more than 20 minutes. Thanks for the great recipe!


This is so up my alley. I think I would toss in some blanched and sauteed kale because I love dark greens with olives. Thanks for always keeping it interesting. You always introduce me to a new flavor pairing I had never thought of :)

I LOVE olives and I was just thinking about ways to cook with them. I've always wanted to make gnocchi. Yay! Now I have a new recipe! I just posted my Magic Gingerbread Cake recipe on I think that this yumminess would be a perfect dessert with gnocchi. YUM! Happy Holidays Everyone! Lisa xo

when left with little in the fridge but left overs,i have been known to eat pasta with this doesn't sound too outlandish.will try this in the near future.




This looks yummy. I love cooking with olives. One of my favorite dishes is sauteed tomatoes with olives basil and pine nuts if I have them on hand. I sometimes add chicken or shrimp too. And I love Gnocchi. I'm going to have to try this. Thanks Sandy

I love, love, love green olives! I make a tomato sauce that's loaded with chopped green olives and capers - the briny goodness is addictive. I absolutely cannot wait to make (well... eat) this recipe. Thanks for posting it Heidi!

Erica Cassidy

I love Gnocchi

Azia Graham

I admit it as a culinary shortcoming of mine; I just don't get the allure of olives. Granted entire regional cuisines are based on the greasy little orbs, but for me I see them as key to just one recipe: the martini.

@LoisO - the answer is in the order of the words in the recipe. you gather 1 2/3 cup green olives then you pit and chop them otherwise it would be 1 2/3 cup pitted and chopped olives. make sense?


This sauce sounds great! I think I will try it over zucchini ribbons with some sun dried tomatoes. If you are still looking for ways to use up your green olives, I have a super healthy Artichoke Heart And Olive Dip on my blog- I think you would love it! Thanks for sharing!

sort of a nit-picky question - but -I always wonder: 1 2/3 cup green olives, pitted and chopped If you don't weigh the ingredient - is that 1 2/3 C before or after chopping? It looks delicious!


What if you don't do dairy? What could you use instead of cream?


Can I ask what brand of gnocchi you bought and/or where you bought it? I've always been intrigued by store-bought gnocchi but have been hesitant to try.


I never thought of pairing the two together. My boyfriend would love this! Great idea!!! :)


I've never tried making gnocchi, and I've never even THOUGHT to try to make a sauce using green olives! This is a cool recipe - I'd probably go the way you did and use store-bought gnocchi, but I'm really looking forward to trying this! And great idea to add in the chopped broccoli for some extra veggies!

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