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Pan-seared vegan google chef gnocchi with kale, Brussels sprouts, toasted walnuts and garlic shake adapted from Charlie Ayers Food Network Recipe

Pan-Seared Vegan Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake

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Occasionally while watching The Food Network, I see awesome things. While flipping channels, I came across the tail end of an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I watched in awe as The Google Chef prepared beautiful, vegan pan-seared gnocchi with kale and Brussels sprouts.

I did some digging and I found a version of the recipe on The Food Network website. It was a good start, but it was missing a few quantities. I got to work, weighed some potatoes, and measured my ingredients. I’ve made this several times, adapting it to this more precise recipe. Additionally, I added 5-Minute Vegan Garlic Hemp Seed Parm to really make this dish sing.

Don’t fear the gnocchi

Gnocchi can be a little challenging to make. My gnocchi game has gotten better over time. Don’t be intimidated, dive in, and make yourself some pillowy bites of bliss. We are pan-searing this, it’s gonna be fantastic. Pan-searing elevates even less than perfect gnocchi.

Rock The Rock Salt

Rock salt is big chunks of unground salt. I buy Morton’s Ice Cream Salt from King Soopers. It’s also sold as Rock Salt, just make sure whatever you use is food quality and not for melting ice off of sidewalks when it snows.

At some point, likely on Good Eats, Alton Brown mentioned that you can rinse and dry your rock salt and reuse it. I do not have the needed TV service provider required to stream the episode and link to it. Please use good judgment if deciding to reuse rock salt.

The best thing I learned about making gnocchi from The Google Chef is to bake your potatoes on rock salt to dry them out. I love this because it helps make the gnocchi fluffy. The potatoes become so dry you can remove the skins with your fingers — no need to bust out the potato peeler.

Float then freeze for pan-searing

You can make gnocchi ahead of time, boil it until it floats, freeze it, and pan-sear it when you are ready. The Google Chef freezes the gnocchi, then cooks it until it floats, and then pan-sears it. I’ve done it several ways and I’ve found that completing the boiling step and then freezing doesn’t make a detectable difference for me. You can skip freezing if you want to make this dish from start to finish.

Saying the word float this many times just made me think of Stephen King’s It and now I’m a bit spooked. Yes, all of your gnocchi will float. You can skip the freezing, but you need the floating. Just try not to think about Pennywise in the sewer when the gnocchi floats.

Photo Credit: It (2017) Warner Bros. Pictures

I like make-ahead meals

I prefer to make the gnocchi, freeze it, and then pan-sear straight from the freezer with the Brussels sprouts and kale. Then I toast some chopped walnuts and top it with 5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake and serve. I love meals I can prep ahead.

For this recipe, I don’t make fork indentations on the gnocchi

I want as much surface area to kiss the pan as possible. The fork marks are super cute, though, if you aren’t planning on pan-searing the gnocchi.

Want to make homemade gnocchi & serve it with a sauce?

If you just want to make the gnocchi, click here for the straight gnocchi recipe. Here are some great sauces to serve with gnocchi:

And don’t forget the 5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake!

Let’s Make Pan-Seared Vegan Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake

Ingredients for Pan-Seared Vegan Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake
Ingredients for Pan-Seared Vegan Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake

First the gnocchi

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with rock salt. Cut a few 1″ – 2″ side vents into each of the potatoes. If you are using large russet potatoes, cut four to five side vent into each potato. You will be halving the potatoes lengthwise after baking and you can use your vents as guides for cutting.

Place the potatoes on the rock salt-lined baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

cutting vents in potato for making gnocchi
Venting the potatoes

While the potatoes are baking, make the 5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake.

5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake

Make the 5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake by putting all ingredients into the food processor, reserving 1/4 cup of the hemp seeds. Pulse until sand-like. Next, add the reserved 1/4 cup of hemp seeds to the food processor and lightly pulse once or twice. You want to combine the remaining hemp seeds but leave them whole to give it a varied texture. Adjust salt or add more hemp seeds to lessen the salt, if preferred.

Vegan Hempseed Garlic Parm
Vegan Hempseed Garlic Parm

Then prep the Brussels sprouts and kale and chop the walnuts. Cut the stem parts off of the Brussels sprouts and quarter them. If you have some tiny ones in the bunch you can cut them into halves.

Quartering Brussels sprouts with a ceramic knife

Cut the kale into 1/4″ ribbons.

Cutting kale into 1/4″ ribbons with a ceramic knife
Prepped Brussels sprouts & kale
Prepped Brussels sprouts & kale

Back to the Gnocchi

Remove potatoes from the oven and halve lengthwise. The potatoes should be fully cooked.

Cutting potatoes in half

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (I use an 8-quart stockpot and fill it most of the way with water.) Add a bit of salt to the water. I use an induction stove that boils water very quickly, so I usually wait until I am mostly done making the dough to start boiling the water. However, this is the point where I fill and salt the pot and place it on the stove.

Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, but don’t let them cool completely. You want them to be as warm as possible while being able to handle them. Pull the skins off or scoop the potato meat out with a spoon, rubbing the skin to get all of the potato insides out. Let the potato insides drop into a large bowl. Discard the skins or save them to eat.

Mash the potatoes with a fork or whisk. If you have a ricer you can run them through the ricer like The Google Chef. I don’t have a ricer so I’ve never done that. Add 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper while mashing. If the potatoes have cooled and aren’t mashing well you can pop them in the microwave.

Add the flour to the mashed potatoes in 1/4 cup intervals, using your hands to work the flour in with each addition. Mash any remaining potato chunks with your fingers as you knead the dough. You want to use as little flour as possible to achieve a nice ball of dough.

Once you suspect you have the right dough consistency for the gnocchi to float, tear off a few tiny pieces, roll them into balls, and drop them into the boiling water. If they rise to the top without falling apart, that’s good, but you still want to taste it. It may take a few minutes for the dough to float.

To taste them, remove from the boiling water with a strainer or slotted spoon and set them on a cutting board for a few seconds, letting them dry off. If they taste gummy, add flour to the dough by the tablespoon until you get a firmer dough.

When you are happy with the consistency, roll the gnocchi into a rope about 3/4″ wide and cut into approximately 1″ pieces. If you are pan-searing the gnocchi don’t make indentations with a fork because you will get a better sear on the gnocchi if it is flat.

As you cut the gnocchi, you can lower it into the big pot of water using a strainer or slotted spoon. Even at a low boil, the gnocchi will float. The time the gnocchi takes to float varies, it usually doesn’t float straight away though. Sometimes, the gnocchi takes a few minutes to float. The beauty of gnocchi is that it floats when it’s done, on its own timeline.

floating gnocchi

Keep adding the newly cut gnocchi and removing the floating gnocchi, placing it on a cutting board. Try to keep the gnocchi from touching each other when you place it on the cutting board. Alternatively, you can cut all of the gnocchi and then start placing it in the pot in batches.

Gnocchis

You can now freeze and store the gnocchi if you have chosen to make the gnocchi in advance.

If freezing, layer in an airtight container, placing the gnocchi so that it is not touching each other on pieces of parchment paper.

Otherwise, you can go right into making Pan-Seared Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake.

Toasting The Walnuts Then Pan-Searing Kale & Brussels Sprouts

Add chopped walnuts to a dry, small pan and toss occasionally until fragrant over medium heat. Then leave them in the warm pan while you pan-sear the gnocchi, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Pan-searing the gnocchi and letting the walnuts sit in the warm pan
Pan-searing the gnocchi and letting the walnuts sit in the warm pan

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large skillet or sauté pan at medium-high heat. Add 2 – 2½ cups of gnocchi, spreading the gnocchi out in one even layer on the pan. Let the gnocchi sear without tossing for 1 – 2 minutes. Then toss the gnocchi, adding a TBSP of water. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.

Adding the Brussels sprouts to the gnocchi
Adding the Brussels sprouts to the gnocchi

Add 1 TBSP oil to the pan and add 2 – 2½ cups Brussels sprouts, letting them sit and brown for 1½ – 2 minutes. Then add 1 TBSP of water and another pinch of salt. Toss the gnocchi and Brussels sprouts until they are nice and seared. Then add 2 – 2½ cups of kale ribbons and toss, turning the heat down to medium-low.

Pan-seared vegan google chef gnocchi with kale, Brussels sprouts, in the pan adapted from Charlie Ayers Food Network Recipe

Toss the kale and let it soften for about 2 minutes. You have just made 2 big servings. Repeat for 2 more big servings or save the rest for later. Top with toasted walnuts and a generous amount of garlic shake. Add more crushed red pepper if desired.

Pan-seared vegan google chef gnocchi with kale, Brussels sprouts, toasted walnuts and garlic shake adapted from Charlie Ayers Food Network Recipe
Gnocchi with Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Hemp Seed Parm
Pan-seared vegan google chef gnocchi with kale, Brussels sprouts, toasted walnuts and garlic shake adapted from Charlie Ayers Food Network Recipe
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5 from 3 votes

Pan-Seared Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake

This recipe has been adapted from Google Chef Charlie Ayer's Cafe Calafia Café / Calafia Market a Go Go. Impressive little pillows of joy pan-seared with Brussels sprouts and kale ribbons topped with toasted walnuts and garlic hemp seed parm to make it sing. This dish can be prepped ahead and pan-seared when ready.
Course Dinner, Holiday, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Anniversary, Charlie Ayers, Date Night, garlic, Google Chef, hit of salt, non-dairy, nooch, nut cheese, parm, punch of garlic, vegan, vegan parm, vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings, 4 big servings
Calories 728kcal

Ingredients

Gnocchi

  • 1/2 Box Rock salt
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes other potatoes will work, but you may want to switch to bread flour if you use anything else 
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups all-purpose organic flour, plus more for dusting 
  • 1 TBSP tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon optional Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon salt fine

5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake

  • 1 TBSP minced garlic I use jarred minced garlic
  • 8 whole Brazil nuts shelled, raw, un-roasted, unsalted
  • ½ cup divided hemp seeds (a.k.a hemp hearts) divided (half go in the food processor right away, the other half are lightly pulsed at the end)
  • ¼ cup unfortified nutritional yeast
  • ½ – ¾ teaspoon salt

Kale & Brussels, Toasted Walnuts

  • 4 TBSPs non-virgin olive oil or avocado oil, divided, you will add it to the pan one TBSP at a time not extra-virgin normally used in salad dressings, you want a high smoke point oil for cooking
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts  4 – 5 cups quartered
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh garlic  or minced garlic from the jar
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes  optional
  • 8 oz lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale 4 – 5 cups cut into ribbons; if you don't like kale you can use spinach, just add it to the pan at the very end because it cooks more quickly than kale
  • ½ cup walnuts coarsely chopped walnuts, to dry lightly dry toast in a pan.
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Gnocchi

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with rock salt. Cut a few 1" – 2" side vents into each of the potatoes. If you are using large russet potatoes, cut four to five side vent into each potato. You will be halving the potatoes lengthwise after baking and you can use your vents as guides for cutting.
  • Place the potatoes on the rock salt-lined baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. While the potatoes are baking, make the 5-Minute Garlic Shake and prep the Brussels sprouts and kale. Chop the walnuts. Remove potatoes from the oven and halve lengthwise.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (I use an 8-quart stockpot and fill it most of the way with water.) Add a bit of salt to the water. I use an induction stove that boils water very quickly, so I usually wait until I am mostly done making the dough to start boiling the water. However, this is the point where I fill and salt the pot and place it on the stove.
  • Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, but don't let them cool completely. You want them to be as warm as possible while being able to handle them. Pull the skins off or scoop the potato meat out with a spoon, rubbing the skin to get all of the potato insides out. Let the potato insides drop into a large bowl. Discard the skins or save them to eat.
  • Mash the potatoes with a fork or whisk. If you have a ricer you can run them through the ricer like The Google Chef. I don’t have a ricer so I've never done that. Add 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper while mashing. If the potatoes have cooled and aren't mashing well you can pop them in the microwave.
  • Add the flour to the mashed potatoes in 1/4 cup intervals, using your hands to work the flour in with each addition. Mash any remaining potato chunks with your fingers as you knead the dough. You want to use as little flour as possible to achieve a nice ball of dough.
  • Once you suspect you have the right dough consistency for the gnocchi to float, tear off a few tiny pieces, roll them into balls, and drop them into the boiling water. If they rise to the top without falling apart, that's good, but you still want to taste it. It may take a few minutes for the dough to float. To taste them, remove from the boiling water with a strainer or slotted spoon and set them on a cutting board for a few seconds letting them dry off. If they taste gummy, add flour to the dough by the tablespoon until you get a firmer dough.
  • When you are happy with the consistency, roll the gnocchi into a rope about 3/4" wide and cut into approximately 1" pieces. If you are pan-searing the gnocchi don't make indentations with a fork because you will get a better sear on the gnocchi if it is flat.
  • As you cut the gnocchi, you can lower it into the big pot of water using a strainer or slotted spoon. Even at a low boil, the gnocchi will float. The time the gnocchi takes to float varies, it usually doesn’t float straight away though. Sometimes, the gnocchi takes a few minutes to float. The beauty of gnocchi is that it floats when it’s done, on its own timeline. Keep adding the newly cut gnocchi and removing the floating gnocchi, placing it on a cutting board. Try to keep the gnocchi from touching each other when you place it on the cutting board. Alternatively, you can cut all of the gnocchi and then start placing it in the pot in batches.
  • You can now freeze and store the gnocchi if you have chosen to make the gnocchi in advance. If freezing, layer in an airtight container, placing the gnocchi so that it is not touching each other on pieces of parchment paper. Otherwise, you can go right into making Pan-Seared Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake.

5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake

  • Make the 5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake by putting all ingredients into the food processor, reserving 1/4 cup of the hemp seeds. Pulse until sand-like. Next, add the reserved 1/4 cup of hemp seeds to the food processor and lightly pulse once or twice. You want to combine the remaining hemp seeds but leave them whole to give it a varied texture. Adjust salt or add more hemp seeds to lessen the salt, if preferred.

Toasting The Walnuts Then Pan-Searing Kale & Brussels Sprouts

  • Add chopped walnuts to a dry, small pan and toss occasionally until fragrant over medium heat. Then leave them in the warm pan while you pan-sear the gnocchi, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
  • Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large skillet or sauté pan at medium-high heat. Add 2 – 2½ cups of gnocchi, spreading the gnocchi out in one even layer on the pan. Let the gnocchi sear without tossing for 1 – 2 minutes. Then toss the gnocchi, adding a TBSP of water. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add 1 TBSP oil to the pan and add 2 – 2½ cups Brussels sprouts, letting them sit and brown for 1½ – 2 minutes. Then add 1 TBSP of water and another pinch of salt. Toss the gnocchi and Brussels sprouts until they are nice and seared. Then add 2 – 2½ cups of kale ribbons and toss, turning the heat down to medium-low. Toss the kale and let it soften for about 2 minutes. You have just made 2 big servings. Repeat for 2 more big servings or save the rest for later. Top with toasted walnuts and a generous amount of garlic shake. Add more crushed red pepper if desired.

Notes

www.planttestkitchen.com
Nutrition information is approximate. 
You may have leftover Garlic Shake.

Nutrition

Calories: 728kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1220mg | Potassium: 1620mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5316IU | Vitamin C: 132mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 9mg

For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

Recipe adapted from Charlie Ayers featured on The Food Network.

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy Massaged Kale Ribbon Vegan Caesar Salad and No-Boil Vegan Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells In Red Sauce.

Did you make this Pan-Seared Vegan Gnocchi Recipe?

Was it delicious? Any variations? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the instructional gnocchi recipe! Yours look like beautiful lil’ pillows of utter goodness – and the combination of b. sprouts, walnuts, and kale seems a great pairing with them.

    Also, baking potatoes on rock salt?! I must try this..

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