Sweet potato gnocchi with kale pesto

Sweet potato gnocchi with kale pesto

Green Kitchen Travels

I tried many different sorts of gnocchi when living in Italy, but I’ll always remember a particular occasion. The restaurant was run by an old woman with a beautifully wrinkled face. Her family rushed between the tables, asking for personal preferences, and then returned to her so she could decide everyone’s menu. ‘Si preferisce bistecca o pollo stasera?’ (‘Do you prefer steak or chicken tonight?) I was asked. ‘Mi dispiace, ma io non mangio carne’ (‘Sorry, but I don’t eat meat’). The young man looked surprised and then waved his grandmother to our table to confront me. She explained that they had the best meat in Rome and she was certain I would love it. I could at least choose the chicken. I stood firm and, disappointed, she said she would make something simple for me. Her homemade potato dumplings in pesto might have been the simplest dish in her kitchen, but they were heaven to me. I am sure that her version wasn’t gluten-free or made from sweet potatoes, but ours are. They have a sweet and slightly nutty flavour, a pretty orange colour and a wonderfully soft texture. — David



Quantity Ingredient
1 sweet potato
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
60g quinoa flour
80g rice flour
2 tablespoons potato flour
or 2 tablespoons cornflour
or 2 tablespoons arrowroot
olive oil, for drizzling

Kale and hazelnut pesto

Quantity Ingredient
75g hazelnuts
100g kale, stems removed
1 handful basil leaves
4 tablespoons pecorino cheese, freshly grated
1/2 lemon, juiced
90ml cold-pressed olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Cut the sweet potato in half and place on a baking sheet, cut side down. Roast on the centre shelf for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
  2. While the sweet potato cooks, make the pesto. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium-low heat until golden and the skins have split. Rub between a rough tea towel to help get the peel off. Place in a food processor together with the rest of the ingredients. Run at high speed until the desired consistency is reached, adding a splash of water if needed.
  3. When the sweet potato is cooked, leave until it is cool enough to handle then scoop out the flesh and mash it with a fork in a wide bowl. Stir in the egg, salt and nutmeg and mix until combined. Sift together the flours and add two-thirds to the sweet potato. Stir together quickly until combined. Dust a work surface with some of the remaining flour and turn the dough onto it. Knead the dough very gently with your hands, adding more flour if needed. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Divide the dough into four portions. Dust with more flour and roll one portion into a long log, 1 cm wide. Use a knife or metal pastry scraper to cut the log into 2.5 cm pillows. To shape the gnocchi, dust a fork with flour, place a piece of gnocchi with the cut side towards the back of the fork, press lightly with the fork and roll it down to create the tiny ridges. Alternatively, simply press the fork into each gnocchi – they will be more square, but will still taste good. Repeat with the remaining portions.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over a medium-high heat. Carefully drop in about 15 gnocchi. When they float up to the surface (after about a minute), wait 30 seconds and then fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon. Keep warm while cooking the remaining batches of gnocchi. Serve them warm with a few spoonfuls of kale and hazelnut pesto (or whatever you prefer) and a drizzle of olive oil. You can also save the gnocchi for later and give them a quick fry in a buttered skillet together with vegetables or any kind of sauce.


  • Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and you want to eat it on a regular basis. A simple trick to get more kale into your and your kids diet is to blend it up in pestos, dressings or even in smoothies. That way it’s easier to digest and you’ll eat superfood without even noticing it.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again