toasted sweet potato gnocchi with a sage & walnut pesto // vegan

I'm going to make this short and sweet. 

I got back late last night after a whirlwind trip to Mexico.  A day and a half of wedding planning, food tasting, tequila sipping, and venue exploring.  That's right, a day and a half.  That was it.  Then we turned right around and came home.  I'm a little worn out. I would have given anything for just one extra day there, but that's okay. We'll be back in less than six months.  

Before I left I spent a good few days perfecting these little bundles of sweet joy. There is something so relaxing about making gnocchi. Call me crazy, but I find a great way to unwind is to whip of a batch of dough, knead it, roll it out, and cut it out perfect little gnocchi pillows.  

If I could use one word to describe this dish, it would be: decadent.  If I could use two words they would be: healthy decadence.  Healthy ... decadence ... really? Yes. Does it get any better than that?

The crafting of the gnocchi was adapted from cookbook: Big Vegan by Robin Asbell.

sweet potato gnocchi with a sage & walnut pesto

About 4-6 servings


For the gnocchi:
1 lb / 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour (plus about 1/2 cup more for rolling out the dough)
1/4 cup of chickpea flour 
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil 

For the pesto:
1/4 cup of loosely packed fresh sage
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup of walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/3 cup of olive oil
salt & pepper


Start by roasting the sweet potatoes and walnuts:

  • Preheat the oven to 400º. On a baking sheet, roast the sweet potatoes until they are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove and let them cool. 
  • On a separate baking sheet, spread out the walnuts and place them in the oven with the potatoes. Cook them for 5-8 minutes, until they are lightly toasted.  Remove and let them cool. 

 While the potatoes continue roasting, make the pesto:

  • Place the sage, parsley, garlic, walnuts, lemon zest and lemon juice into a food processor and pulse a few times. Then, while the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil.  Feel free to add more olive oil if you like. When you have it to the consistency you like, give it a taste and season with salt and pepper. Set it aside until you are ready to use.  If you are not using until the next day, cover the pesto and place it in the refrigerator. 

Make the gnocchi: 

  • Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins.  Place the peeled potatoes in a food processor and puree until they are smooth.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  This will be used to test your gnocchi before making a full batch. 
  • Place the potato puree on a well floured counter. Add in both flours and the salt and gently knead until all of the ingredients are combined. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky.  If it is sticky, add in a small amount of flour until it is not too sticky to handle. 
  • Pinch off a small piece and roll it lightly in flour.  Drop it into the boiling water. When it starts to float cook it for 30 seconds more. Fish it out with a slotted spoon and allow it to cool slightly. If it fell apart in the pot or it is falling apart or melting after it is cooked, knead more flour into the dough. The goal is to use the smallest amount of flour possible because too much flour makes the gnocchi tough.  If it was not right the first time, keep on testing until you have it right. 
  • When you have it right, divide the dough into four portions. Making sure your counter is well floured, roll each portion out into a snake that is about 1/2" thick. Using a knife or a metal spatula cut the dough into 3/4" bites. 
  • Lightly flour a baking sheet and move the gnocchi over to the tray when they are done. Let them dry for an hour or refrigerate them for up to 1 day. 

Cook the gnocchi:

  • Prepare a large pot of boiling water. Set up a colander over a bowl near the boiling water. When the water is boiling, drop about 10 gnocchi in at a time. When the gnocchi start to float let them bob for about 30 seconds more and then scoop them out and place them in the colander. Lightly drizzle oil over them so they do not stick together. Repeat this process until all of the gnocchi are cooked. 

 Toast the gnocchi (optional step):

  • In a large frying pan, heat up the grapseed oil.  Place the gnocchi in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  You want them to be a nice golden brown color. 
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a serving plate. 

 Prepare and serve the gnocchi and pesto:

  • Divide the gnocchi equally into bowls.  Place a good sized dollop of the sage and walnut pesto on top of the gnocchi.  If your pesto is more on the oily side, you can drizzle it over the gnocchi.  Serve immediately.