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Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet is a 20 minute gluten-free dinner recipe that’s simple and satisfying. Made with just 5 ingredients and in 1 skillet!

Bowl of Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet

I’m about to blow your dang mind with the recipe for Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet!

By the way, I’d really hoped the pesto in this recipe would give the overall dish a festive green hue, thus making it extremely suitable for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but it didn’t. The end. Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I was reminiscing about my SPDs of yesteryear, when my girlfriends and I would convene in Chicago for a day of things crazy 25 year olds do on holidays that Chicago specializes in, and good grief they were fun! Now I’m old, use phrases like good grief, and the thought of hanging out in a bar with a green beer and bagpipes blasting in my ears at 10am on a Saturday morning make me want to, well, not.

Anyway, let’s talk 20 minute, 1 skillet gluten-free dinner recipes that you are going to INHALE. As I mentioned at the end of this post, recipes are not going ANYWHERE, rather, I’m excited to start working lifestyle posts into the mix here on IGE. Anyway, I could never in good conscience keep delectable dishes like this one away from you!

Overhead picture of crispy gnocchi.

This dish could not be simpler and oh.my.word. it is such a keeper. Packaged gnocchi is sizzled in a mixture of olive oil and bacon drippings until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, then tossed with fresh pesto, cooked bacon, and chicken. 5 ingredients, easy as that, and yes, just as good as it sounds!

You may have seen crispy gnocchi recipes that require you to boil gnocchi before pan-frying, but it’s completely unnecessary. True, it will feel all kinds of wrong pouring dry, slightly hard gnocchi into a skillet but I promise that in 5-6 minutes the gnocchi will totally transform. Honestly I could forgo the bacon, chicken, and pesto portion of this recipe and eat an entire pan of crispy gnocchi with a little salt all on its own. Maybe a fried egg on top? HOLD ME. That is to say, once you try pan-fried crispy gnocchi, you will never go back.

Feel free to add vegetables to this skillet dinner if you please – halved cherry tomatoes added at the end to warm through would be tasty, while Ben thought chopped, blanched asparagus would be nice too – though we both agreed this dish was 5 stars all on its own. Serve with a side salad (or that egg!) and you’re set.

Forkful of crispy gnocchi, chicken and bacon

Start by adding 4 slices bacon that have been chopped to a cold, 12″ nonstick skillet then place the skillet over medium heat and cook until browned. Scoop the bacon into a bowl, reserving the fat in the skillet.

Tip: I prefer nonstick vs cast iron for this recipe so the gnocchi won’t stick.

skillet of sizzling bacon

Turn the heat up slightly then add 2 chicken breasts that have been cut into hunks and seasoned with homemade seasoned salt and pepper then saute until cooked through. Scoop into another bowl then set aside.

skillet of cooking chicken

Add enough extra virgin olive oil into the skillet to equal 2 Tablespoons fat total, then add a 12oz package gluten-free gnocchi and arrange into an even layer in the bottom. At this point you will be CERTAIN that I am nuts and there’s no way these dry, hard gnocchi will morph into yummy, crispy, perfectly cooked gnocchi – but just you wait!

Let the gnocchi sizzle until the bottoms are golden brown, 2-3 minutes, then stir and continue to saute until the gnocchi are tender and golden brown all over, 2-3 more minutes. Use a fork to pierce a gnocchi to test for doneness. You’re going to be SHOCKED!

skillet of crispy gnocchi

Just a note, I have only tested this recipe using Delallo Gluten-Free Gnocchi (found in HyVee’s Health Market.) That said, I’ve made crispy gnocchi skillets in the past before going gluten-free with several different brands that all worked fine.

Package of Delallo Gluten-Free Gnocchi

Last step is to add 1/4 cup prepared pesto, plus the cooked chicken and bacon, then stir until everything is heated through.

Note: I’m including a small batch basil pesto recipe in the recipe card below, which makes about 1/3 cup pesto (use the extra Tablespoon to stir into soups, salad dressings, etc) or you can use your favorite jarred pesto. I tested this recipe once using Classico pesto and much preferred homemade. Use what’s best and most convenient for you though.

Skillet of Chicken, Bacon, Pesto Crispy Gnocchi Skillet

Scoop the Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet into bowls then dig in! Like I said, you could add any kind of sauteed or roasted vegetable into the mix, but this dish is 100% devourable all on its own. Enjoy, enjoy!

Bowl of Crispy Gnocchi Skillet

Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet

Description

Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet is a 20 minute gluten-free dinner recipe that's simple and satisfying. Made with just 5 ingredients and in 1 skillet, too!

Ingredients

serves 3-4

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into hunks
  • seasoned salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12oz package shelf-stable gluten-free gnocchi (I used Delallo)
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto (store-bought or homemade recipe below)
  • For the Small Batch Pesto (make 1/3 cup):
    • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn
    • 1 Tablespoon walnuts
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
    • big pinch salt
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • squeeze fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. If making homemade Small Batch Pesto: Add basil, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt to a food processor then pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. Very slowly stream in extra virgin olive oil while the food processor is running until pesto is smooth. Add a little bit of lemon juice at a time until desired taste is reached - the pesto shouldn't taste lemony, just fresh. Set aside.
  2. Add bacon to a cold, 12" nonstick skillet then place over medium heat. Cook until bacon is browned then scoop into a bowl and set aside, reserving bacon fat in skillet. Turn heat up slightly.
  3. Season chicken with seasoned salt and pepper then add to the skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Scoop into a bowl then set aside.
  4. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to the skillet to equal 2 Tablespoons fat total then add gnocchi and arrange into a single layer. Saute until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 2-3 minutes, then stir and continue to saute until the gnocchi are tender and golden brown all over, 2-3 additional minutes.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-low then add pesto, chicken, and bacon into the skillet. Stir to combine and heat ingredients through then scoop into bowls and serve.

Notes

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Photo collage of Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet