Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Walnut Pesto (gluten-free, paleo)
Updated Feb 01, 2020
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Sweet potato gnocchi is both gluten-free and paleo and topped with a delicious sage walnut pesto. The gnocchi is made with sweet potatoes, almond flour, arrowroot flour and an egg. It’s the perfect hearty and savory meal for fall and winter.
We’re switching from summer to fall this week, so I thought it was only appropriate that we kick things off with a recipe full of fall flavors. Now, truth be told I’m still not ready to give up on summer yet, but I am looking forward to whipping up a slew of exciting fall and winter recipes. Heartier meals, new herbs, new spices and exciting flavors.
This sweet potato gnocchi is one such recipe and it’s been “in the queue” for a while now. I’ve loved gnocchi from my various Italy travels back in the day (prior to my celiac diagnosis), so it should come as no surprise that I wanted to make a gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly version.
Watch this video of my Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi that’s Gluten-Free and Paleo
Many people think of gnocchi as a pasta dish, but it’s more a potato dish. And while traditional versions use white potatoes and wheat flour, today we’re using sweet potatoes and a combination of almond flour and arrowroot powder.
I’ve chatted about arrowroot powder before and in this sweet potato gnocchi recipe it balances out the nuttier almond flour and provides a lighter, smoother texture.
The sweet potato gnocchi recipe itself is pretty straightforward – cook sweet potatoes, rice them, add flour, stir in an egg and work the dough until it’s no longer sticky.
But if you’re making this recipe for the first time, definitely give yourself a little extra time to make it. It’s not complicated, but it can be time consuming to roll and cut the gnocchi. The good news is you get faster with practice and time – promise.
Top it with Sage Walnut Pesto
On top of the sweet potato gnocchi I’ve added a sage walnut pesto. Hello fall! There’s just something about an orange dish and fresh sage that screams fall is here. And you guys, this pesto is amazing. I actually had leftover fresh herbs from making the video above, so I made a second batch of the pesto, poured it into my silicone ice cube tray (as I show you how to do on my Kitchen Gadgets video) and froze the pesto.
In the future when I want to flavor up a recipe, it’s as easy as popping out a cube and thawing. In other words, easy meal prep for a future gnocchi recipe or to top on some zucchini noodles (yum).
Sweet Potato Gnocchi Tips
If it’s your first time making gnocchi, definitely watch the video above as it walks you through the process step-by-step. But here’s a few additional tips:
- A potato ricer really does make for smoother gnocchi. I’ve made this recipe both with a potato masher and ricer and the texture of the riced potato was lighter and fluffier.
- Rice the potato while it’s still warm, then let it cool for 10 minutes. Don’t let it cool completely before you’ve riced it.
- Based on the size of your sweet potato and cooking method, you may need to add more flour. Just keep the flour in the same ratio and add as much as you need until it’s no longer sticky.
- If you have a smaller kitchen and/or want a cleaner work surface (aka – not what I show in the video – ha!) you could mix the dough in a large bowl, then roll it out on a work surface. I was excited to use the large island in my new apartment, but I think I’ll take this approach next time.
- As mentioned on the video, you could use either a gnocchi paddle or fork to make the indentations. But you could also leave the pieces as little gnocchi pillows. This would definitely save you time in the kitchen. Up to you. Though I do recommend making the indentations at least once, if nothing else than to have greater appreciation for all the Italian grandmothers out there.
- Gnocchi is pronounced nyah-key. Seems I’ve been saying nyo-key all these years. Oops! And as I just made a video (and received feedback from an Italian friend after posting), I didn’t want to perpetuate the slightly incorrect pronunciation. So think “knock” vs “know”.
Oh, and one more thing, you can definitely freeze and reheat this recipe. Though if you’re more than 3 or 4 people, the odds of having leftovers aren’t very likely.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Walnut Pesto
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Pierce the sweet potato with a fork several times. Microwave the sweet potato for 8-10 minutes, or until the inside is soft. Alternatively, you could roast the sweet potato for 50-60 minutes.
- While the sweet potato is cooking, heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the whole sage leaves and cook for 30-40 seconds or until crispy. Use tongs to remove them to a paper towel and set aside. Let the oil cool slightly before using in the pesto.
- Add the walnuts to a dry pan and lightly toast for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate to cool.
- Add the chopped sage leaves, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and slightly cooled walnuts and oil to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients form a thick pesto. Add an additional 1/4 cup or more olive oil until you have a loose pesto.
- To make the gnocchi, combine the almond flour, arrowroot flour and salt in a medium bowl and mix together. Remove the flesh of the sweet potato and process through a potato ricer. Alternatively, you could mash the sweet potato, but make sure it's mashed well to prevent lumps. Once riced or mashed, let cool for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl or on a floured work surface, add 3/4 of the flour mixture to the sweet potato and create a well in the middle. Add the egg and lightly beat it, bring in the flour and potato until a thick paste forms. Then, use your hands to continue combining. If the sweet potato is too sticky, add more flour as needed until you can form a log with the dough.
- Slice the dough into equal sections. Roll each of those sections into a 1-inch rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
- Once all the dough has been cut, use a gnocchi paddle or fork to create indentations in the gnocchi.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi in batches to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, letting the gnocchi float to the surface. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi to a large bowl.
- Add the sage walnut pesto to the cooked gnocchi and stir gently.
- To serve, divide the gnocchi between bowls and add a few crispy sage leaves for garnish.
- Homemade gnocchi is not the fastest meal to make, but it sure is worth the effort. If you're looking to save time, omit making the indentations on the gnocchi and leave as little pillow shapes.
- Once made, this recipe can be frozen and reheated as well.
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