Gnocchi with Watercress Recipe by Susan Palmer

Hello watercress lovers! I’m thrilled to be guest posting on the B&W Quality Growers blog today! If you aren’t familiar with me, my name is Susan Palmer and I’m the recipe developer, food photographer and writer behind the blog The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen.  I like to think of my blog as a one stop shop where you can find original and from scratch recipes focusing on seasonal ingredients.  I’ve got you covered with healthy-ish meals, sides, desserts and drinks!

We all live busy lives and I like to do my best to make weeknight dinners quick, easy and healthy! Those long cooking projects can be saved for lazy weekend afternoons.  Sticking with the theme of getting dinner on the table quickly after a long day I came up with this simple one-pot meal of potato gnocchi with watercress, asparagus, tomatoes and watercress pesto!

Yep that’s right, you get not one but two doses of watercress in this dinner!

Besides tasting absolutely delicious, watercress is the most nutrient dense of all foods; this little unassuming green is one powerhouse full of Vitamin A, C, K and is an antioxidant.  It arrives to your supermarket in two forms, one sold as a bunch and the other sold pre-packaged, washed and ready to consume as baby watercress.  Both are super easy to prepare and can be used interchangeably.

In our case here, I went ahead and used a loose bunch for our pesto, tossing in the leaves and stems with a little touch of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.  This pesto packs a huge watercress flavor punch, tasting just slightly bitter with a peppery kick.  If you prefer a more milder taste to your pesto, just go for the packaged baby leaves, which is exactly what we tossed into our gnocchi.  These leaves are delicious raw and can be cooked down in an instant! In fact, we just used the heat coming off from the gnocchi to wilt the leaves ever so slightly before serving.

The rest of our one pot dish is served with ripe summer cherry tomatoes and fresh asparagus that was blanched quickly with the gnocchi.  This meal is perfect just as it is for a meatless Monday dinner or served as a side with lean protein.


For the pesto:

  1. Prepare the pesto by adding the watercress, basil, garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice to a food processor.  Pulse until the watercress is finely chopped.
  2. With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil from the top of the food processor and continue to pulse until the pesto is smooth.  Mix in kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. While you prepare the pesto, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  4. Cook the gnocchi according to the packages directions, if it’s only for 3-4 minutes add the asparagus in at the same time.
  5. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and drain.  Return to the same pot you cooked the gnocchi in and stir in the 3 cups of watercress and halved cherry tomatoes.
  6. Add the pesto to the pot and pour about 2 tablespoons of leftover water to the pesto to loosen up the consistency.  Stir to coat the gnocchi, asparagus and tomatoes.  If needed add more water.
  7. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  8. Plate the gnocchi and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
  9. Serves 4 as a main and 6 as a side.

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