Sweet Potato Gnocchi_4317

Trying to make the perfect gnocchi has become a bit of an obsession in my house…and we have a freezer full of homemade gnocchi to prove it. I’ve learned that the key to making them light and fluffy is to add as little flour and egg as possible.

This week I set out to make a healthier version: whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi. Because sweet potatoes naturally contain more liquid than white potatoes, I did everything possible to remove excess liquid so that they required less flour to form a dough.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Like normal gnocchi, I first baked the potatoes until tender and then cut them open immediately to start releasing steam.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Once the sweet potatoes were cool enough to touch, I scooped out the flesh into my potato ricer. (A food processor or food mill would also work.) I riced the potatoes right into a non-stick skillet, which leads to the next step.

To get out the excess liquid, I used a trick that I learned from making butternut squash gnocchi last year: cook down the puree on the stove top to let the water evaporate and puree thicken.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

When the thickened potato puree was cool enough to work with, it was time to add some whole wheat pastry flour and an egg yolk. Like I said, the key is to add as little flour as possible. You should be able to roll out the dough, but barely. It will still be a bit sticky.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi_4323

A recipe I saw for gnocchi with kale and sausage on Bev Cooks seemed like the perfect way to serve these sweet potato gnocchi. I used some spicy Italian chicken sausage and a healthy amount of kale. The sweet gnocchi were especially good up against the earthy kale and spicy sausage. And some freshly grated Parmesan obviously didn’t hurt…

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage and Kale

Yield: 4-6 servings

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage and Kale

Sausage and Kale Adapted from Bev Cooks


    For the Gnocchi
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • Salt
  • For the Sausage and Kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bunches Tuscan (lacinato) kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife, poke several holes in each sweet potato. Bake them whole until tender. Depending on their size, this could take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. They will be soft to the touch when tender on the inside.
  • When the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice each one open immediately to release steam and let cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh and put through a potato ricer.
  • Place the riced potatoes in a non-stick skillet heated over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until some of the liquid has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.
  • When cooled slightly, add the egg yolk and a half cup of the flour. Stir to incorporate. The goal is to add as little flour as possible, so keep adding flour little by little until the potatoes form enough of a dough that can be rolled out into gnocchi. It will still be a bit sticky.
  • Transfer the dough to a flat surface dusted with more flour. Cut the dough into four pieces. One by one, roll each out into a log about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. You can dust more flour on top of the potatoes to make this easier. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into pieces about an inch long. Transfer the pieces to a parchment lined or flour coated surface.
  • For the sausage and kale, heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for a few of minutes, or until browned. Add the garlic and chili flakes, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the white wine and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then, add the kale, season with salt, turn down the heat to medium, and cover. Cook for about five minutes, stirring the kale around occasionally. Remove the lid and to the kale finish wilting and the liquid mostly evaporate.
  • Cook the gnocchi in heavily salted boiling water for just a couple of minutes until they float. Transfer the cooked gnocchi to the sausage and kale mixture, reserving a bit of pasta water.
  • Add a small ladle full of pasta water and the Parmesan to the gnocchi, sausage, and kale. Cook for a minute until a light sauce forms. Serve with additional Parmesan on top.
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  • http://www.acambridgestory.com Emily

    Gorgeous photos, Colleen! Perfecting gnocchi sounds like a great project, and these look like you nailed it!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen


  • http://twitter.com/InAndAroundTown In and Around Town

    This looks amazing! I have never made my own gnocchi before, but I definitely want to try!

  • http://twitter.com/smadadian Sacha Madadian

    This dish is so colorful and beautiful. It combines two of my favorite things, gnocchi and sweet potatoes. (Seriously, I eat more sweet potato than is probably healthy.)

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I definitely strive to make the perfect potato gnocchi as well! So far, no luck but I need to try your technique! Yours look perfect!

  • http://twitter.com/findingclairity Clair J

    I’m officially submitting a request that you come over to my house and make this for dinner immediately. Looks beautiful, and delicious, and healthy. I am SO DROOLING over here!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      Haha, thanks! It looks like a lot of steps, but I swear it’s really easy to make!

  • http://twitter.com/TraveleatloveMM Meghan M.

    Yum, I love sweet potato gnocchi!

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  • http://www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com/ Bee

    I need to make these. I have all the stuff I need to do so! Hehe… Even sausage and kale! I love homemade gnocchi so much. It always comes out kind of bloaty though, not as gorgeous as these.

  • http://megan-deliciousdishings.blogspot.com/ Megan

    I’m going to have to try some of your tips. I’ve made gnocchi a couple of times but need a lot of work! I love the combination of flavors here.

  • http://www.eatliveblog.com Renee {Eat.Live.Blog}

    This looks fantastic! I have never made gnocchi, but may have to try these!

  • http://twitter.com/tri2cook Shannon G

    i’ve been meaning to try my hand at gnocchi again, first time i’m guessing i added too much flour! will have to try again, as these look perfect :)

  • Riley

    Yum! I’m always hesitant to try gnocchi, but this recipe looks very good!

  • KMesser

    How do you know if you have added too much flour?

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      You basically want to keep adding little by little until the dough just barely comes together. It’ll still be quite sticky. The more you add, the more dense the gnocchi will be.

  • Dick Dorkins

    Came across this trying to put something together with store bought sweet potato gnocchi. Did some things different, veggie stock instead of white wine because I didn’t have any, some other tweaks. Very smart balancing with the chicken sausage/sweet potato gnocchi/kale, tons of flavor without any of the three trying to knock the others out of the picture.

  • http://pandarants.tumblr.com/ pandarants

    My boyfriend and I are making this on Friday for Valentine’s Day. We made our own chicken sausage last night with my KitchenAid meat grinder. I’m so excited!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      That’s awesome! I hope you enjoy :)

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