Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Walnut Pesto (gluten-free, paleo)
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.
For more hearty, fall appropriate recipes, check out my Irish Lamb Stew, Coconut Curry Chicken, Taco Soup, BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Walnut Pesto
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, approx 1.5 lbs
- 2 cups almond flour, plus more as needed
- 1 cup arrowroot powder, plus more as needed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 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.
Thanks for the recipe. I just want to let you know that you were in fact correct with your pronunciation. It is nyo-key, not nyah-key. The “o” makes an “oh” sound. Otherwise it would be written with an “a” to get an “ah” sound, I am a native speaker and Italian teacher of 20 years. ;)
So confession- I didn’t make my own gnocchi. I’m gluten free and found some great GF Cauliflower and sweet potatoes gnocchi. I did make a version of the pesto and it was fabulous! I used fresh herbs from my garden. We were out of walnuts so being a good Georgia girl I’ve also got pecans on hand. We used those instead and it was marvelous!! My family was fighting over the last bits of pesto.
Nothing wrong with that! At least you made the pesto and loved it – fresh pesto is always the way to go :)
I love sage but I was thinking of trying out the pesto using arugula instead. Any thoughts? Thanks!
Either works, they’re just different flavor profiles. So it’s just personal preference. :)
Hi! About to try making this recipe but counting calories. With the nutrition facts, is that per serve? 961 calories seems a lot for one serve?
Hi Mandi – the nutritional information for all my recipes is per serving!
My favourite recipe from Downshiftology so far. So flavourful, so tasty, so fun to make. Great food makes you wake up thinking about it, and this recipe does just that. The gnocchi also don’t leave you with that post-meal in-stomach heaviness feeling typical to most pasta dishes because this recipe doesn’t include either gluten or dairy. Love, love, love it!!
Just a note for first-time makers that you do need to keep adding lots of flour at every stage of making the log, making the individual sections, making the 1-inch rope, and making the individual pieces. The 3 cups almond flour+arrowroot powder mixture is enough for this though.
Can’t wait to make this again soon!
Happy to hear you loved this homemade gnocchi recipe Virlana!
I’m not sure the amount of sweet potato to flours is quite right. Using 1.5 lbs of sweet potato I had to add another 1 cup of flour and another 1/2 cup of arrowroot, then more gf flour for dusting and rolling so it wouldn’t stick and could be rolled.
Would you possibly be able to restate the 6th step as well? When “adding” flour to sweet potatoes, are you mixing them? What are you forming the well in, the sweet potato or the flour?
Hi Lisa! I’m absolutely in LOVE with your channel! I love that you use simple, whole, anti inflammatory foods. I’ve been trying to eat more like this and I’m SO GLAD I found you! I’ve been gradually trying all your whole30 recipes for the last 2 weeks. I plan to make this sweet potato gnocchi tmro for dinner, any suggestions on a side dish/something to serve with this? Or is it enough on its own? Thanks!
Hi Ruth- So glad you’re enjoying everything on my channel so far! As for a side dish, I might recommend my massaged kale salad or an easy roasted veggie such as my roasted broccoli!
So excited to try this recipe! Have you tried steaming the sweet potatoes? I don’t have a microwave or oven and I’m wondering if steaming would make them too moist?
Hi Erin- yes you can steam them for a bit!
Hi there! Any recommendations on making this w/ Cauliflower instead of Sweet Potato? Not a huge fan for sweet potato but would LOVE to try this recipe! Been craving gnocchi!
I have not tried this recipe with cauliflower, but I should definitely add that recipe in the future! :)
Hi all, I used 1.6 pounds of sweet potato for this and it was not coming together. I used a full 16-ounce bag of almond flour and probably triple the amount of arrowroot to make up for this. Anyone else?
Hi Chris – it definitely sounds like something is off, as you shouldn’t need that much flour. Did you watch the video? Perhaps your sweet potato was exceptionally moist. Maybe next time add a little coconut flour as that is more absorbent than both almond flour and arrowroot flour.
Lisa, I’m allergic to walnuts and hazelnuts, what other but would you suggest for a substitution. Love all of your recipes!
Hi Marlene – I think pecans would be a great alternative in this recipe. :) Happy you’re enjoying all my recipes!
I love this recipe (and this site!), I’ve made it a few times. Tonight I tried adding a little coconut flour (maybe 2 tbsp?) to soak up some of the excess moisture so I didn’t have to use as much arrowroot flour to knead it together. This made a huge difference in that they weren’t as chewy as usual. The more arrowroot you use, the gummier they are. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
Hi Viki – Thanks for the quick tip! Coconut flour indeed absorbs a lot of moisture, so it’s best not to use too much for this recipe. But, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe multiple times already :)
The dairy free pesto is amazing,rich, creamy and decadent. Everyone asked me for the recipe! I need to double next time.
Hi Dawn – So glad everyone enjoyed this recipe :)
I really liked this recipe! I have an issue with almonds and was wondering if it’s possible to use a different flour mix in this recipe? It would be lovely if you could give me any pointers!
Hi Asiya – unfortunately, I’ve not tried this recipe with other flours so I’m not sure how it might turn out.
You mention you can freeze this recipe. Would you freeze it before cooking or cook it then freeze it? Also how long will it stay good in the freezer?
Hi Sara – I usually cook the whole recipe and then freeze any leftovers I have. :)
So delicious and easy to make ??
Thanks so much Melodie! I’m happy you loved the sweet potato gnocchi!
Is the walnut pesto suppose to be room temperature? Or do I heat it up?
Thanks! Can’t wait to make it!
You can do it either way. :)
Can you substitute arrowroot flour for something else, different flour?
Hi Bebe – You could use tapioca flour as a substitute.
What’s the best method for reheating after freezing the gnocchi?
I use the microwave, but you could reheat on the stovetop as well with the sauce. :)
I’ve just found your blog this weekend (as you can tell!) as I follow a low FODMAP diet. I don’t have access to all the amazing ingredients you have in the USA and wondered – could I substitute potato thickener for the arrowroot?
Also, I’m not necessarily gluten-free, but two cups of flour is a lot, so I’d like to use a gluten free flour. does it have to be almond flour? does this enhance the flavour?
If the answer is yes, maybe I need the help of Amazon as I can’t buy this in supermarkets in Spain!
Thanks – am loving your blog and recipes and am totally inspired. I’d fallen into a food rut and you’ve made me excited about fresh veggies all over again.
You could try a gluten-free flour blend or sub tapioca flour for the arrowroot. And if you try different flours, just know that you may need more or less as they all have different absorbency ratios. Glad you’re enjoying all my recipes Jo! :) x
Can you substitute the egg? My son is allergic to them. Maybe a flax egg?
That’s a great question and I haven’t tried it yet. But I’m thinking it could work, though you may have to keep the flax egg a little more liquidy. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Hi Lisa, what would you use instead of walnuts? I am alergic to walnuts, but I would like to try this recipe. Thank you
Hi Maya – you could use pine nuts for a more traditional pesto (though reduce the quantity to 1/4 cup). Or pecans would be great as well. Enjoy! :)
This looks amazing and I’m loving the sound of that sage/walnut pesto!
That sage walnut pesto is everything! I just made an extra batch to add to zucchini noodles. ;) x
Hellooooo, fabulous fall comfort dish!
Absolutely! And I’ve been blissfully enjoying it all week long! :) x
This has my name written all over it! Perfect fall flavors!
Happy to hear that! And yes, who doesn’t love sweet potatoes and sage in the fall? ;)
I have just been thinking about how happy I am that sweet potato season is here. These look divine and that sage pesto? Genius!
They definitely pair well together and it’s such the perfect meal for fall. Enjoy! :) x
These look incredible. Never tried sweet potato gnocchi. YUM!
I think you’ll love it! :)
I’ve been wanting to make gnocchi. Love that this has more protein in it and I’m going to try it using a chia egg. Thanks!
Would love to hear how it turns out with the chia egg! Let me know. :)
These are seriously gorgeous! Sage is one of my very favorite fall herbs – absolutely perfect with autumn produce like sweet potatoes and pumpkin. What a terrific idea to incorporate it into a pesto – brilliant! Your tips were super-helpful, too – especially great to know that these freeze well!
I love sage as well, though I’m always looking for creative ways to incorporate it into recipes. Glad you love the recipe Shelley! :) x