two bowls with stuffed vegan sweet potato gnocchi with pesto

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Easy sweet potato gnocchi stuffed with pesto sauce 

Gnocchi is one of those things that if you've never done it before it seems really complicated and scary to do, but once you do it you're like "okay wow that was easy".

Well, that's exactly how this recipe feels like. If you've never made gnocchi from scratch - fear not! It's actually not that complicated at all and pretty hard to mess it up.

what is gnocchi

Gnocchi is a traditional Italian dish usually made with white potatoes and flour. It sort of resembles pasta and is served as such, with a sauce.

What we're using instead:

However in this recipe we are not using white potatoes or regular flour.

I wanted to keep this recipe paleo so instead we're using sweet potatoes and cassava flour to keep it gluten free.

Cassava flour has become one of my most favorite gluten-free flours to cook and bake with - it is so versatile! I make so many things with it like these vegan paleo tortillas that I eat for dinner every Tuesday night (taco tuesdaysss) and this healthy vegan banana bread that I make for my breakfast meal prep on Sundays.

In this recipe, cassava flour works great because it mimics the consistency of regular wheat flour which is very hard to do with almond flour or coconut flour.

I currently have two favorite cassava flour brands and they are both organic and available via Amazon - Anthony's Organic Cassava Flour and Food To Live Organic Cassava Flour. I can vouch that both work really well in this recipe.

Using sweet potatoes vs regular white potatoes

I personally don't have an issue with white potatoes but people who avoid nightshades will benefit from making this recipe with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.

And also, sweet potatoes have more nutrition than white potatoes. Any fruit or veggie that has more color usually has more nutrition so I always choose the more colorful veggie 😉

 

a bowl with sweet potato gnocchi on a table

how to make vegan paleo sweet potato gnocchi stuffed with pesto:

First thing you need to is roast the sweet potatoes.

You can also boil or steam them, but I find that roasting gives you the best consistency because there is less moisture. If you do decide to boil or steam them, please note you will need way more flour. I have not tested this method in detail so I cannot give you an exact measure.

To roast your sweet potatoes:

Just slice your potatoes in half, coat them with a little bit of oil (or drench in veg broth for oil free version), place on a baking dish lined with parchment paper and roast for 45 minutes or until soft.

Use a fork to poke them and determine if they are ready. No need to peel them before hand - once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, the skins should peel off easily with your hands.

Once you've got your sweet potatoes roasted and peeled, the fun begins. In a mixing bowl, you're going to mash up the sweet potatoes and add the rest of the ingredients (salt, garlic powder, and flour) and mix it all up to form a dough. Don't be afraid to use your hands here.

If the dough feels extra wet and sticky

Just add more flour. I've provided weight measurements in the recipe card but it will all depend on how much moisture is in your sweet potatoes - so if it feels too wet just add more flour little by little until you have a dough that is not sticking to your fingers.

Once you've got the dough ready, shape it into a ball and divide it into eight pieces You do this by first cutting the ball in half, then into fours, then six and finally 8. If you need a visual, look at the pictures below that I have included in this post.

Grab each triangle and, on a firm surface dusted with some flour, roll out the triangle into a long rope-like shape about 8 to 10'' long. At this point, if you're not stuffing the gnocchi, you would cut the rope-like shape into 1'' segments and you'd be done. However, if you're stuffing the gnocchi with pesto continue reading below.

 

How to stuff the gnocchi with pesto

Now - if you're going to STUFF the gnocchi with pesto, you need to flatten the rope to about 1 or 2 inches wide leaving enough space to add the pesto in the middle. You can use a rolling pin to gently flatten the ropes.. or a can or a bottle or your hands as a last resort. You'll then add the pesto in the middle, either by using a piping bag or to keep things simple - a spoon like I did.

Try not to overfill with pesto or you will have a hard time closing your gnocchi. This part might be a little bit of trial and error. But don't get discouraged - if you overfilled, just use less pesto on the next one.

To close your gnocchi, you're going to fold one side of the dough over the pesto filling and onto the other side of the dough. I wish I had a video because trying to explain this in writing is a little tricky, but I hope you catch my gist. Basically, you want to fold the dough over to hide the pesto. Again, see pictures for reference.

you can also skip the stuffing and just coat the gnocchi in pesto instead

If all of that sounds super complicated and you rather skip the stuffing that is A-okay. If you're skipping the stuffing then you do not need to flatten the ropes out. Just leave the ropes as is and, using a knife, cut the logs into 1'' rectangles. Again, see visuals below.

Once you've got it all cut up, the rest is super easy. All you have to do is throw the gnocchi into boiling water and within 3 to 5 minutes, they're ready! Remove from water and let drain. To serve, I like to cook the gnocchi with the sauce that I'm using on a pan on the stove to get them a little browned and crispy.

 

gnocchi on a skillet

 

That's all folks! Honestly, the hardest part is the stuffing. But it's worth it, because it tastes so darn delicious.

dinner for two

The serving size for this recipe is for two people - which makes it a perfect dinner idea for you and your bae, especially with Valentine's day right around the corner.

Ps. if you're looking for a healthy valentine's day dessert to go along with this meal check out these heart-shaped cookies with homemade berry jam OR these delectable no-bake chocolate brownies!!!

You can also make it as a meal prep meal and freeze the left overs for lunch.

 

A piece of stuffed gnocchi pesto with sweet potato

with love + gratitude,

Jen ♥

 

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi Stuffed With Pesto (vegan, paleo, gf)

sweet potato gnocchi with pesto sauce vegan and paleo

Vegan and gluten free sweet potato gnocchi stuffed with pesto! A simple and easy way to make sweet potato gnocchi. Make it stuffed with pesto or just serve it with pesto on the side for a delicious quick meal!

  • Author: Jen
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 large sweet potato (around 1lb)
  • 1 1/4 cup cassava flour (145g) plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the pesto sauce:

  • 1.5 cups basil (around 55g
  • 1 cup spinach (27g
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (60g
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

To sautee the gnocchi: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Begin by roasting the sweet potato. Cut the potato in half, place on a baking dish lined with parchment paper, coat with oil (or sprinkle veg broth on top for oil free version) and roast at 425F for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and once cool to the touch scoop out the soft flesh. You can discard the skins (or snack on them at a later time as they are full of nutrition). Alternatively, you can also steam or boil the sweet potato but that will add more moisture resulting in a wetter dough, which will need more flour. 
  2. Make the pesto sauce: While the potato is roasting in the oven, make your pesto by adding all ingredients listed under “pesto” into a food processor and process until all ingredients are broken down evenly. Set aside.
  3. Transfer sweet potato flesh to a mixing bowl and add garlic powder, salt, and cassava flour. If the dough feels too wet or sticky, add more cassava flour one tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough that does not stick or break apart.
  4. Form a round ball with the dough and cut into eight equal parts by first cutting it in half, then into four, six and finally 8. Look at the picture in the blog post for reference. 
  5. On a firm flat surface dusted with flour to prevent the dough from sticking, use your hands to roll out each triangle into a long rope-like shape (again, see pictures for reference). Roll them out to about 8” long. Then, using a rolling pin (or your hands or a bottle of some sort) flatten the rope to about 1 or 2” wide – enough so that you can add the pesto stuffing in the middle.
  6. You can pipe the pesto stuffing, or to keep things simple, use a spoon and carefully add the pesto in the middle of the flattened dough. Be careful and try not to “overfill” or you will have a hard time closing the gnocchi. 
  7. Once you’ve added the pesto stuffing in the center, close your gnocchi by folding one side of the dough over the pesto onto the other side of the dough and lightly press with your fingers to create a seal. Cut the stuffed “rope” into 1” squares. These little squares are your gnocchi. If you are having a hard time transfer the gnocchi off of the firm surface, use a spatula to pick up the gnocchi.
  8. Alternatively, you can skip the stuffing part and just roll out the ropes to about 10” and cut 1” squares. Do not flatten the rope if you are not stuffing the gnocchi. 
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi rises to the top of the water. Drain and toss the cooked gnocchi in a little bit of olive oil to prevent them from sticking. If they do stick, do not panic, once you sautee them in the sauce they will unstick. 
  10. Finally, add olive oil to a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook until a golden-brown color has been achieved on all sides, and gnocchi is crispy. This part will take around 5 to 6 minutes. I like to do this part in batches to avoid all of the gnocchi from sticking together. NOTE – If you opted not to stuff the gnocchi, then you can add your pesto sauce here and coat the gnocchi in pesto. If you did stuff the gnocchi, you can also opt to coat the gnocchi in the left over pesto as well – it tastes delicious both ways!
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: gnocchi, vegan, paleo, sweet potato, gluten free, healthy, dinner,

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About Jen

A former registered nurse turned stay-at-home-mama, yoga teacher, and holistic health + wellness enthusiast. I share my homemade healthy recipes + natural living content to help women and moms live healthier and happier lives.

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