The Zero Hero

Pesto Gnocchi

I’ve recently started a journey towards zero waste living. As in, I’m throwing out my rubbish bin and making sure that nothing I buy from now on will ever need to go into one.

I love the impact that doing this is already having on my life. I can’t deny a certain smugness when I leave a store with my tote bag and my glass jars knowing that I have in no way contributed to those two plastic islands having their fun in the sun in the Pacific.

I love that trying to find a home for my food scraps (because I live in a flat with no room for a worm farm) put me in touch with like-minded people in my community and that I’m now part of a Facebook group in which members list what food scraps they need for composting, and others in the same area list what they have available!

I love how zero waste living means simpler living, and because of that my life is a whole lot more about doing really cool things, rather than about getting or having things.

And I love how zero waste living has me thinking more carefully about what I am putting into my body and what I’m doing with what gets left behind.

Sound like too much hard work?

It really couldn’t be simpler.

Why not try this potato gnocchi with pesto recipe that produces zero waste and then we’ll talk again.  🙂


Buy this:

  • 500g potatoes (readily sold loose at most markets and stores, but you get gold stars for growing your own;))
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of flour (sold in paper bags)
  • A generous pinch of salt (Maldon Sea Salt is sold in cardboard packaging)
  • Pesto Princess Pesto: your favourite flavour (sold in glass jars)
  • Olive Oil (sold in glass)
  • Large handful of grated parmesan cheese (available free of plastic packaging from local farmers markets)


Do this:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes until tender before draining and then mashing them. (Keep the water for later and save your peels for worms or compost).
  • Follow by adding the flour, using enough to make a moist (but not sticky) dough.
  • Now break off small pieces and indent them with your thumb. Place on to a floured surface and dust with a little extra flour until you are ready to cook them.
  • Boil the potato water again (adding more water if necessary) and then cook your gnocchi in batches. The gnocchi will pop to the top once done.
  • Remove the gnocchi using a slotted spoon and serve immediately with your choice of Pesto (the Coriander & Chilli Pesto is a personal favourite), a drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan.



Have any zero waste recipes of your own? I’d love to try them.

About: Natasha Marais

Natasha is addicted to difficult conversations, her son's sloppy kisses, and people that make her laugh. Carefully curating the magic in the world around her, she scribbles and shapes what she sees into stories.

And she is adamant that we CAN make a difference. #ConsciousLiving #ZeroWaste

Catch up with her on:
Twitter: @tash_marais
Instagram: @tashmarais


8 thoughts on “The Zero Hero

  1. Kathleen says:

    Natasha I am so admiring of this simple gnocchi recipe. I’ve always heard one has to find floury potatoes to make gnocchi. I must confess I do not know how to find out whether a potato is floury or not. Have you found that any old potato will do the trick of making a light gnocchi? My first (and last) attempt produced results that sank to the bottom of my stomach like stones 🙁

  2. Natasha Marais says:

    Your Highness,
    I must confess that I have been using any old potato and that although the result was a bit heavy, it was nonetheless delicious! Must be the pesto I was using;)
    I have heard it said that floury potatoes tend to leave a white starch residue and cling to the blade when cut. I shall search for such a specimen, try the recipe again and dutifully report back:)

  3. Hila says:

    Try baking the potatoes to reduce the amount of moisture and therefore how much flour is needed. Do you not add egg?

    What do you do with the paper items? This is really inspiring and I think I will start working towards this at home.

    As an aside, most of the loose potatoes we buy are a cultivar called Sifra.

  4. Natasha Marais says:

    Thanks for the royal tip, Princess Hila. Will most certainly give that a try. (This may also explain my many failed attempts at butternut gnocchi:/)
    I don’t use an egg as I’m also making my way towards becoming vegan and honestly I did not miss it in the recipe at all.
    I recycle the paper bags that the flour comes in. Making my way towards zero waste living has been a revelation. Would love to hear your thoughts once you’ve given it a try:):):)

  5. Hila says:

    I deifinitely will. 1 other thing I forgot to mention, potato skins, brushed with pesto and covered in cheese are delicious, don’t give them the worms! 😛

    • Pesto Princess says:

      Wow, Princess Hila! You are full of delicious ideas! We’re terribly eager to try your potato skins recipe…. We shall report back! 😉

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