Italian sausage, brussels sprouts and gnocchi are pan fried with lemon zest and butter for a dinner that’s ready in less than 30 minutes! Pairs beautifully with cheesy garlic bread or rosemary sea salt dinner rolls.
Did you know you can pan fry gnocchi without boiling it?
I’ve had gnocchi probably a dozen different ways, but the one way I can never seem to find it on a menu is pan fried. It’s always coated in sauces and sometimes I want the gnocchi’s flavor and texture to shine.
And guess what? Pan fried gnocchi might be my favorite gnocchi.
Tips for making pan fried gnocchi and brussels sprouts
- Pick your choice of sausage wisely. If you use hot sausage links, you may want to omit the additional red pepper flakes – unless you like a good amount of heat! In that case, bring it on.
- This can all be made in the same pan – but you’ll need to transfer the sausage and brussels sprouts to a separate bowl and cover it until you’re ready to toss it back in.
- Add more garlic as you see fit. I only call for 1 teaspoon minced garlic, but if you’re a garlic lover feel free to add more!
- Cook brussels sprouts until tender – but not burned. It can be a tough balance, but I have faith in you. You want to arrange the brussels sprouts in the pan with the cut side down in an even layer and let them cook without stirring them. So the key is really just to not let the pan get too hot.
- If you’re not a fan of brussels sprouts, use a different veggie! This recipe could be called “pan fried gnocchi with vegetables” as sort of a choose your own adventure. Just adjust the amount of time you fry them in the skillet accordingly.
The magic of gnocchi
Gnocchi is the pasta of angels (sorry, angel hair pasta). They are fluffy little potato dumplings and I would eat them for three meals a day if I could.
It goes well with tomato sauces, creamy white sauces, pestos, cheesy dishes, or served as it is in this dish: complemented by olive oil, butter and lemon.
The beauty of potato gnocchi is its versatility, and because it’s so quick to cook you can add it to just about anything.
Do I need to boil gnocchi before frying?
For this recipe, no need! You actually want them to be more firm so it can hold up to the hearty sausage and brussels sprouts. So save yourself the extra step and dish and skip the boil.
Granted, if for some reason you have already-boiled gnocchi around you can still add it – just be a little more careful while you pan fry it so you don’t squish it.
Making this a vegetarian dinner
Just omit the sausage! For meat substitutes, you could also substitute in some seitan or jackfruit.
Or you could load up on more veggies by adding mushrooms, diced sweet potatoes, or cauliflower. A hearty vegetable is your best bet, but I’m partial to adding mushrooms to just about everything.
How many servings is this?
I find this to be a good portion for four servings, but if you were feeling like a hungry hungry hippo, it might be two servings with a little bit leftover.
Do I have to add cheese?
Of course not! I just love the way shredded Parmesan complements the dish. You could also use shaved or grated Parmesan cheese as well.
If you choose to omit the cheese, consider adding some more lemon zest and parsley.
What to serve with this dish
- Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls
- Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Apple Cider Hot Toddy
- French 75
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Pan Fried Gnocchi and Brussels Sprouts
- ½ pound Italian sausage, about 2 links
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 lemon, zested
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, optional*
- 1 18-ounce package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Freshly shredded Parmesan, for garnish
- Flat parsley, for garnish
- In a large 12" skillet or saucepan, heat 1 Tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it into pieces, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a medium bowl. Cover and set aside.
- In the same pan, add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat, and carefully arrange brussels sprouts cut side down in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper, and scatter lemon zest across the top. Let cook without stirring for 3-5 minutes, until brussels sprouts are browned underneath.
- Add garlic and red pepper flake (if using). Stir and cook until brussels sprouts are tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with cooked sausage, re-cover and set aside.
- In the same pan, add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Being sure to break up any of the gnocchi that might be stuck together, add them to the pan in an even layer. Cover the pan and let cook until golden brown on the bottoms, about 2-3 minutes. Add butter and stir to coat.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is golden in color and foaming, 1-2 minutes.
- Add your bowl of sausage and brussels sprouts back to the pan and stir to thoroughly combine until warmed through.
- Transfer to serving bowls and top with shredded Parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- If using hot sausage links, omit red pepper flake - unless you like a good amount of heat!
- If you choose to omit the cheese, consider adding some more lemon zest and parsley.