Sweet potato gnocchi with spinach & red pesto

“Gnocchi is the best kind of comfort food. It’s even more comforting when you can make it yourself and know exactly what’s gone into it”

The first time I tried gnocchi, I think was about 7-8 years ago. I was round at my boyfriends, and his housemate was making dinner. She offered me some – and since then I’ve never looked back.

There’s something about gnocchi that is super comforting. It’s stodgy, it’s filling and it’s just like pasta – but with potato! The great thing for me is, that since going plant-based I haven’t had to compromise, as most brands of gnocchi you find in the shop are actually vegan.

Typically made with semolina or flour, and of course with potato, gnocchi is often free of dairy and/or eggs – winner!

Want to skip to the recipe?

So why sweet potato?

Picture this…

I was sat at home, I was sat at home one Sunday morning while my other half was at work. Rather than preparing the typical roast for Sunday dinner I wanted to try something different.

I trawled through my Pinterest boards as I often do and I stopped on a gnocchi recipe. This one was a gnocchi bake. I focused in on the gnocchi and noted how simple it was to make.

One thing…

I only had sweet potatoes and not white ones.

I thought I’d give it a try…and I haven’t looked back.

Red pesto?

Sometimes I get a bit bored of green, and I often like to make sure that my other half is getting the much needed vegetables he requires – yes, I hide them.

I can see this recipe working really well for kids too (not that I’m trying to draw parallels between my other half’s eating habits and childrens’) – the colours and the textures all make dinner interesting all while ensuring a healthy dose of vegetables.

Red pesto is pretty much just as simple as my green pesto, however it used red peppers instead of spinach.

The Recipe

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins

Cost: < £4

Ingredients:

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 cup of sweet potato – mashed
  • 1 garlic clove (finely grated/chopped)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Teaspoon of mixed herbs
  • A pinch of Himalayan salt and pepper
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking

For the pesto:

  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 sweet pointed peppers (deseeded, roasted and halved)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 7 walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

To serve (all optional):

  • Vegan chicken pieces
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach

Method:

  • For the pesto: Preheat your oven to 200°C, then deseed and cut the red pointed peppers in half and place onto a roasting tray in the centre of the oven
  • Roast for 20 minutes with 2 crushed garlic cloves then add to a blender with the basil, garlic, olive oil, walnuts, lemon juice and seasoning – blend well until a paste forms and set your pesto aside
  • For the gnocchi: To make the gnocchi, peel and slice 3 medium sweet potatoes and bring to the boil, then mash them
  • Combine the cup of mashed sweet potato in a bowl with the flour and the seasoning – mix well
  • Spread flour onto the work surface and roll out half of the dough to form a long sausage
  • Cut the dough into small thumb-size pieces
  • Roll out the remaining half of the dough and repeat
  • To create the rolled effect you may wish to press each piece with a fork and roll towards and away from you
  • Fill a large saucepan with water and add a teaspoon of olive oil – bring to the boil
  • Add the gnocchi and allow to cook until floating on the surface
  • Scoop out and place onto a side plate
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and add the gnocci together with your choice of toppings (I opted for vegan chicken pieces, mushrooms and spinach
  • Then stir in your homemade pesto
  • Once the spinach has wilted and the mushrooms are cooked, serve.

Tried this recipe? What did you think? I’m always down for new friends and always keen to hear thoughts. Get in touch.