Grill lettuce leaves along with garlic. Also, lightly toast the pine nuts. This will give the pesto a nice aromatic smoky flavor. You can also use them raw.
Transfer the grilled lettuce leaves to a food processor.
Then add the sun-dried tomatoes.
Add the toasted pine nuts and grilled garlic cloves to the food processor.
Now add the vegan parmesan, red pepper flakes, tahini, salt, and pepper.
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and blitz to make a creamy pesto.
Transfer to a bowl and use as needed. Store the remaining in the fridge or freezer and use as needed.
To prep the gnocchi
Boil water and add salt. Then drop in the gnocchi and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Once the gnocchi begins to float, strain it. Do not overcook.
Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a plate and let it dry completely. You can use gnocchi at this stage to make your pesto pasta. However, if you saute it a bit, it will give it an additional flavor and texture.
Now, pan-fry gnocchi in olive oil till they brown a bit on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
To prepare the pesto pasta
Heat olive oil in the same pan and fry green peas and edamame. Fry for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
Then add 1/2 cup of lettuce pesto to the pan. Mix and saute for a minute.
Next add the fried gnocchi to the pan and mix. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Adjust the seasonings as needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro and take it off the flame.
Garnish with some vegan parmesan. Serve Gnocchi al Pesto with some garlic bread on the side or Parmesan Bread Fries.
Use miso paste instead of tahini if you want. If the pesto is thick, add some pasta water (water reserved from cooking pasta) to dilute it a bit. Use basil instead of lettuce leaves as an option.Instead of vegan parmesan, you can also use nutritional yeast or regular parmesan. Add some ricotta, cream, or dairy-free whipping cream if you like your pasta creamier.Pine nuts can be substituted with any other nuts like walnuts, almonds, or pecans. Feel free to add more cheese, protein, and veggies to your pasta to make it more hearty and cheesy. Skip the pan-fry part and use the gnocchi after boiling them if you want. You can also prepare the same recipe using ravioli or tortellini instead of gluten-free gnocchi. If you plan to pan-fry, ensure that the boiled gnocchi is completely dry first. You can also roast it in the oven for 10 minutes. You can definitely add more veggies like mushrooms, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and/or bell peppers to this pasta to make it more hearty. Ways to store the pasta and pestoThis lettuce pesto stays good in the fridge for 4-5 days. Even the fully assembled pasta stays well in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can freeze this sun-dried tomato and lettuce pesto for 2-3 months! If you freeze them in ice cube trays, then it will be easy to pop out a few tablespoons at a time.To save time on busy weeknights, you can also freeze the cooked pasta (without adding the sauce). Cook the pasta al dente, drain and then spread them out on a baking sheet to freeze in a single layer.Once they're hard, transfer the frozen pasta to ziptop containers and freeze. Thaw and use as needed.