Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Sage Pesto

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Making pasta has always been something that I’ve loved doing. My food tech teacher once said that she thought making pasta was one of those things that just wasn’t worth it, but I disagree.

When it comes to making tagliatelle or fettuccine I can understand that if you don’t have a pasta roller it’d be annoying to make; rolling pasta dough out by hand is not the most fun thing! Gnocchi on the other hand fall into the spectrum of pasta-type-things-that-I-like-to-put-sauce-on and are really easy to make. You don’t need a fancy tool for this (you can get a gnocchi board for rolling them on, but I just use a fork) but a food processor does speed things up (Plus you’ll need one for the pesto later)!

The dough is quite simple to make – roast the sweet potatoes, blend until smooth, blend in the other ingredients. Done.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

You can mash the potatoes by hand but when you’re dealing with 2 lbs of potatoes that need to be silky smooth, a machine just does is better and faster.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi 2

As you go through the process of making the dough it changes from a deep orange puree to a sticky, dreamy creamsicle-coloured dough. I’m calling it an ombré process B-)

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In order to make your life easier when shaping this sticky dough you’ll a) need to chill the dough for a couple of hours and b) use a HECK LOAD of flour. Don’t worry if you feel like there’s too much flour on the counter top, it’s probably juuust right! It can take a bit of practice to get into the swing of shaping the gnocchi (spot the fail blobs at the back of the photo below :/ Thanks, Camera for blurring them out!) but to be honest as long as they’re roughly the same size, the shape doesn’t matter very much.

How to shape gnocchi

The great thing about gnocchi is that once you’ve done your part with the shaping you can freeze them as they can cook straight from frozen in 5 minutes. Those little dumplings are ace as an emergency meal for when you’re having, what my family calls a ‘calorie crisis’ a.k.a extreme hanger. As they’re incredibly filling you’ll barely need to make much else to go with them too – A simple sauce, some veg on the side and you’re sorted!

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When making pesto at home, the priciest component seems to be having to buy ALL OF THE BASIL but I’ve found that actually, you don’t need very much basil at all. Other greens (kale, spinach, wild garlic, chard, broccoli, avocado!) make the bulk while a handful of herbs and some lemon juice bring the flavour. I sometimes leave out the parmesan and prefer to use cashews, walnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts. For about £4 you can make 2 or 3 jars worth of pesto! If you’re feeling like 1/2 cup of olive oil is going to be too expensive, cut it with some plain vegetable oil or even water. Using water does mean that the pesto will have slightly less flavour and a looser texture but it still works really well as a cheaper, ‘lighter’ option. I’d just say try to stick to at least 1/4 cup of olive oil and make up the rest with veg oil/water as you see fit.

Again this is something which is brilliant to freeze, particularly because it goes mouldy quite easily in the fridge. I scoop it into ice cube trays, freeze and then store the pesto cubes in a sandwich bag in the freezer.

Since sage and sweet potato are a classic pairing I used a handful of sage here with a wild garlic base. If you can’t get a hold of wild garlic yet, using spinach with a handful of chives and a clove of garlic make a good substitute. Gnocchi done! Pesto done! All you have to do is plunge those baby dumplings into boiling water for a few minutes, drain and then sauté with pesto.

See, we can all make pasta and share the gnocchi love!


– For the olive oil in the pesto – you can use half olive oil and half vegetable oil OR half olive oil and half water, to make the pesto a bit cheaper.

– Don’t have wild garlic? Use an equal amount of spinach in the pesto and add in a clove of garlic and a handful of chives.

– If you don’t have a food processor – scoop the sweet potato flesh into a pot and mash with a potato masher until as smooth as possible. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients. For the pesto, use a pestle and mortar to grind up the leaves, herbs and nuts, drizzling in oil bit-by-bit until smooth.

– To freeze the gnocchi – once shaped, place the whole tray into the freezer for about 2 hours. Transfer the frozen pasta to a sandwich bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To cook the gnocchi from frozen – pour into boiling water and cook for 5 minutes when they should have risen to the surface.

– To freeze the pesto – spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Pop the cubes out of the tray into a sandwich bag and freeze until needed (this is really good for individual servings of pesto!)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Sage Pesto

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For the gnocchi:

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) ricotta
  • 30 g parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups (280 g) plain flour, plus more for shaping

for the pesto:

  • 1/2 cup (8 g) fresh sage leaves
  • 5 large basil leaves
  • 3 cups (~100 g) packed wild garlic leaves (see notes)
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil (see notes)
  • 50 g cashews , , almonds or walnuts
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • To serve:
  • A knob of butter or a splash of oil
  • Shredded basil and shaved Parmesan


To make the gnocchi dough:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C), prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast on a tray in the oven for 45 minutes until tender. Once roasted, cut the hot potatoes in half and leave them to cool. Scoop out the cooled flesh and place into a food processor, blend until smooth. Add the ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg then blend again. Add the flour and blend in until just combined. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours before shaping.

To shape the gnocchi:

  • Generously sprinkle a clean work surface and a baking tray with flour. Take a quarter of the chilled dough and place onto the work surface, spirnkling with more flour to coat. Use your hands to roll the dough into a long rope about 1-inch thick, adding more flour as needed to stop it sticking. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Take one piece and, using your thumb, push into + down the tines of a floured fork so that the dough becomes ridged and curls in on itself, then place onto the floured baking tray. Repeat with all of the gnocchi dough. Chill or freeze until needed (see notes).

To make the pesto:

  • Place all of the pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. If not using immediately, transfer to a jar in the fridge (for short-term use) or freeze (see notes)

To assemble:

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and season generously with salt. Pour the gnocchi in and cook for 2-3 minutes if chilled or 4-5 minutes if frozen. You can tell when the gnocchi are done as they will float once cooked. Drain the gnocchi (reserve a bit of the pasta water) and rinse them, set aside as you prep the frying pan: Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add the gnocchi and sauté for a few minutes until browned. Spoon in the pesto and stir to coat, adding a splash of the pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. Transfer to 4 plates and serve with shredded basil and shaved parmesan.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

Thanks to Cuisinart for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

63 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Sage Pesto”

  1. You could not have made this look any easier! It looks delicious. I recently saw a pesto recipe that used carrot tops…so you can definitely get creative with your pesto greens. Thanks for the great recipe — I can’t wait to try this gnocchi! xx

  2. I’m on Team Izy – making pasta is so, so, SO worth the time and effort. The gnocchi looks delicious, babe. Always love your GIFs. <3

  3. I love making pasta as well. Started a few years ago when we got a pasta attachment. And I am totally on board with making gnocchi in the food processor. Definitely speeds things up. And I’ll take a bowl of that pesto, please! Looks/sounds absolutely delicious!

  4. Gnocchi are a favorite in my family. We definitely don’t make them as often as we should. And we DEFINITELY need to try sweet potato gnocchi!!

  5. I made a similar recipe in my blog months ago ^_^ I’m sure your gnocchi are awesome!!!

  6. I’m sad to admit that I’ve only made gnocchi at home once but now I’m dying to try it again! Oh, and that sage pesto is so happening! I like to make pesto as often as possible but I’ve never tried it with sage!

  7. This is so lovely! Love all the freezer-friendly options and that it’s made in your food processor! I feel ya with mixing greens for pesto. Once you start making your own, you just get more and more adventurous, I think! 🙂

  8. For me the pine nuts are just so crazy expensive. I imagine cashews would have a similar-ish taste but not sure? Maybe walnuts?

    • yeah they really are pricey! I use cashews most of the time (like with the pesto here) and I’ve never noticed a difference in flavour between them and the pine nuts!

  9. Hi Izy!
    I just have a question, how do you set up/type up your own recipes on your blog with the print button?

  10. I love making gnocchi and I love making pesto so this is perfect. Wild garlic sounds so delicious!

  11. I used to be on Team Not Worth It, but then I had fresh pasta made at home and switched to Team I Get It. Can’t wait to try this gnocchi recipe, it looks absolutely delish!

  12. This looks incredible! I’ve never made gnocchi before, but I am going to try this out!

  13. This is everything i want in a meal and more! delish!
    sounds so amazing I’m making it for dinner tonight 😀

    thanks for the recipe!

  14. Delicious, one of my favourite dishes in the universe! I’ve only ever actually made it once, years ago: you’ve inspired me!

  15. I only discovered the magic of home-made pasta since I found out how damn simple it was. I like how I can change the colours and flavours of the dish to suit my mood. Also It never hurts to have frozen pasta on hand. Magical combination Izy!

  16. thanks for this, as usual, your posts hit me at the right moment, to get me doing something different

  17. Yes yes yes!! Everything about this is pure perfection, Izy! Those little creamsicle puffs, the sage, the pesto, it all sounds so good (and is making me super hungry right now). Love this!

  18. IZY. Wow. I have no other words other than per.fec.tion. Seriously, this whole combo can’t be made any better!! I made my own pasta(!!) on Valentine’s Day and it was SO yummy – can’t wait to try to make these! I think you might have messed up on the notes – should it say wild garlic instead of wild sage?

  19. Wow! Those gnocchi look perfect! And sweet potato yields such better results than regular potatoes. Seriously, the recipe sounds perfect. Take it from an Italian 😉
    (Though this doesn’t mean a thing. I’ve had some exceptionally bad gnocchi in Italy, ahahah)

  20. As I will be a student soon (is there really only 6 months till September?) – this is one of the most best blog posts ever!!!!

  21. THISSS. So fancy and beauteous! The flavors, the colors. The making-of pictures. I could watch that GIF forever. Literally. Pinning this!

  22. I just watched an episode of Two Greedy Italians where they made gnocchi using chestnut flour, heritage potatoes through a potato ricer, and one giant duck egg. Boiled for a minute or so, and then straight into a pan with a foraged mushroom sauce. I’ve definitely had gnocchi on the brain since then…and now your recipe has inspired me even more! Delicious!

  23. Oh my goodness I cannot explain how excited I am to try out this recipe. Sweet potato, garlic AND pesto? Yes please…

  24. Oh my gosh this looks amazing!! I love the video of you rolling the gnocchi too–very helpful! Going to give this a try!

  25. I am loving the sage and sweet potato combination! And I am also loving your gorgeous photos!

  26. Izyyyy i made these the other night and they were amazing!
    to me, sweet potatoes > everything.

    lotsa love,
    c. @ weird0ugh.com

  27. I made this last night and OH MY GOD it was insanely delicious. I’ve only made gnocchi once before (about five years ago) and it was a total disaster and I ended up with waterlogged mashed potato in a sieve, but these worked perfectly. New favourite – better stock up on wild garlic!

  28. Hi Izzy, Love the sound of your recipe but have one hiccup with it – I need a flour that is not wheat, potato or soy – do you have any idea what might work as a replacement?

    Thanks heaps! Anne

  29. I want to try it tomorrow! But your quantities are for how many people? 🙂

    It looks delicious!

    Much love, Virginie

  30. I have a question Izzy. For someone who is allergic to nuts – is there a way to make a nut-free pesto? I know it’s not going to be the exact same, but would love your input.

    • I often use pumpkin or sunflower seeds instead of nuts in pesto as they’re cheaper! If they can’t eat seeds either, then try something like a few cooked cannellini beans or butter beans

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