Gnocchi Croutons

by Catherine Down

While in the midst of writing a paper on bergamot oranges, I needed a quick lunch break and I wanted something hearty and filling but also something that I could at least pretend was good for me. My compromise? Butter Fried gnocchi, but you know, with salad. So it’s healthy. Best of both worlds.

Not to get all Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee on you, but the recipe is basically as follows: Storebought Gnocchi+Jarred Tapenade+Prewashed and Cut Greens+Parmigiano-Reggiano= Super Easy and Fast Lunch.  I know I go to Slow Food U and this breaks all the rules, but sometimes even slow foodies need to take shortcuts.

Gnocchi Croutons with Salad

(Serves 1 hungry, time crunched student)


½ cup storebought gnocchi

2 cloves garlic

½ tsp butter

Salt and pepper to taste


Salad dressing (or in absence you can do as I did and simply stir a tsp of black olive tapenade)


1. Wash and dry a large handful of lettuce and place in bowl. Set aside.

2. Melt ½ tsp of butter in frying pan over medium-low heat.

3. Peel two cloves of garlic and place in the sizzling butter. When the butter is  a light brown color and garlic is somewhat cooked, put in ½ cup of gnocchi. 

4. Allow to sit in pan for a minute or so so that the gnocchi develops a bit of a crunchy brown crust. Stir the gnocchi so they are browned somewhat evenly on all sides. I like to taste one in order to make sure the gnocchi are heated all the way through. Season the gnocchi with salt and pepper to taste.

5. While gnocchi are cooking, dress your salad greens with your favorite vinaigrette or you can do as I did and simply stir a teaspoon of black olive tapenade into the lettuce.

6. Discard garlic, and pour the warm gnocchi on top of the dressed greens, grate parmesan cheese on top of salad. Enjoy!