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squash gnocchiGnocchi are ridiculously easy to make. Time-consuming, yes, but easy.

To be honest I like a good-quality bought potato gnocchi. Every once in awhile I sling a pack or two in the shopping trolley, knowing I am halfway to a quick meal. Maybe heating up a homemade sauce I have pulled from the freezer to ease my conscience. Or even just tarting up these usually blandly inoffensive little orbs with some butter, sage and chilli.

squash gnocchiBought gnocchi are not always a poor second to homemade either: many supermarkets do gnocchi that have recognisably food-like ingredients on the label {always a bonus!} – potatoes, flour, egg, salt, water. And any Italian deli worth its salt{ed almonds} often have flour-dusted trays of homemade gnocchi, just needing boiling and slathering in sauce to make a delectable comforting meal. But when I have time, or fancy adding a taste and nutrient boost to gnocchi, this kind of herb and colour-injected recipe does the trick.

I have found that adding things to a basic gnocchi recipe is always a bit of an experiment. In the summer and spring I have been known to make these pillowy sorrel-flecked ricotta gnocchi. But cooler weather demands a bit more heft.

squash gnocchiHeft, however, doesn’t have to mean heavy. Once boiled these squash and sage gnocchi float and eat as well as the ricotta ones. But experience tells me that all squash or all anything other than potato is very tricky to pull off. Do set me straight if you know of a light, non-potato or non-ricotta and flour gnocchi.

The sauce I use is a vegan version of the spinachy Florentine sauce. Usually this is a greened-up white sauce, but here I have revamped my vegan Truffle ‘Cream’ Sauce from my Winter Vegetable Gratin, adding spicy Dijon, garlic and a little more nutritional yeast to balance the slight sweetness of the gnocchi. And a good wad of young spinach. 🙂

If your family are not offended by green foods this would be a great family supper. Or you could leave out the spinach and whiz up the quick, one-step sauce without the spinach, serving wilted spinach on the side for those who want it. Or skip the sauce and pour over your own tomato sauce. I just fancied something creamy tasting but without the cream itself. The sauce can be used on any plain pasta or in a veggie bake to add a creamy moisture and slightly garlicky taste.

Have you been experimenting with gnocchi? Any tricks to share? What other comfort foods have you lightened up lately?

squash gnocchi

Squash and Sage Gnocchi with Vegan Florentine Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

The key to any potato-based gnocchi is to keep it dry: use floury potatoes, mash them up, and let the potatoes lose their steam. Also, resist adding any milk or butter or you will end up with tasty wallpaper paste! Here is a brilliant link for choosing the right potatoes for any use.

Although this is a from-scratch gluten-free gnocchi recipe – super easy, but takes time – you could use prepared potato gnocchi, adding roasted squash and shreds of sage before popping under the grill/broiler. And, just to say, that although adding egg does help with the ‘integrity’ of the gnocchi, it is very successful without the egg.


400g (3 ¼ cups of ½ inch cubes) butternut squash or pumpkin, prepared weight

1 tbsp olive oil + a little extra for topping

½ tbsp chopped sage leaves + extra for top, about ½ tbsp.

1-2 small garlic cloves, peeled

500g (3 ½ cups) floury potatoes, peeled and cubed – I used King Edward

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg yolk, optional

100g {7/8 cup} chestnut flour, spelt flour, or all-purpose plain flour + extra for rolling outsquash gnocchi

Vegan Florentine Sauce

200g {1 ½ cups} raw cashews + extra for topping {or use pine nuts for topping}

250ml {1 cup + 3 tbsp} water

pinch of salt

½ tsp white pepper

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 small clove garlic

1 tsp Dijon mustard {more to taste}

pinch of turmeric {optional}

100g (about 4 packed cups} young spinach vegan Florentine {spinach} sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line two baking trays with baking paper/wax paper and sprinkle lightly with flour of choice.

2. Toss the squash cubes in the oil and roast in an 180C/350F oven for 40 minutes, until soft.

3. Meanwhile, place the potato cubes in a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender to the point of a knife – timing depends on the type of potato used. Drain well and let sit in the colander to release some of the steam. Mash the potatoes without added milk or butter. Cover with a tea towel to help absorb any residual steam. Set aside.

4. Pop the cooked squash, the ½ tbsp sage leaves and garlic in a blender or food processor, and whiz until smooth. DSC_0394

5. Scrape out the squash puree and fold into the mashed potato. If you have a mouli or food mill, pass this mixture through {see image for the result}. This step gets the gnocchi extra fluffy and smooth, but is by no means necessary. Knead the egg yolk, if using, and the flour of your choice into the mixture, just until it comes together as a dough.

6. Sprinkle flour onto your work surface. Divide the mixture into two or three lumps and roll into long sausage shapes. The ‘dough’ is quite delicate so be gentle with it. Cut into 2 cm squares and press each piece lightly with the back of a fork. Transfer the pieces onto the baking paper and flour-lined baking trays, cover with a tea towel and place in the refrigerator or cool place while you make the sauce and boil the water.

7. For the Florentine sauce, place everything but the spinach into a blender or food processor. This is where a high-speed blender like a Froothie or Vitamix comes in handy for a very smooth sauce. Blend until as smooth as velvet then push in the spinach and process. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

8. Now get a pot of water on to boil and start to heat your grill/broiler.

9. When the water is ready, take the baking paper from one tray and immerse the whole thing into the boiling water – the gnocchi will slide right off. Pull out the paper and allow the water to come back up to the boil. The gnocchi are done when they float up to the surface – about two minutes. Drain and place into a shallow baking dish. Carry on with the remaining tray of gnocchi. I used a slotted wide spatula to pull my gnocchi out, but use a colander if you like – just be gentle. Slide them into the colander.

10. Take any remaining sage and toss with a little oil. Sprinkle this over the top. Add the chopped cashews or some pine nuts. Pop under the grill until the sauce begins to bubble a bit and the nuts and sage start to brown. Serve immediately. This also reheats well but the texture is a little soft.

squash gnocchi

Recipes From Others:

Tomato Aubergine Gnocchi Bake – Tinned Tomatoes

Polish Dumplings – Ren Behan for Jamie Oliver



48 thoughts on “Squash and Sage Gnocchi with Florentine Sauce {gluten-free; easily vegan}

  1. What a gorgeous recipe, especially with the chestnut flour! Thank you.

  2. Well, isn’t this a beautiful green sauce! I have yet to try my hand at gnocchi, but this is the sort of pasta recipe perfect for this time of year, isn’t it. I like the butternut squash in it for sure.

    1. Thanks, Katie. 🙂

  3. Nazima says:

    Such a nice idea. I love gnocchi and it lends itself so well to other flavour. I must try making some and you’ve inspired me

    1. Tis the season for any kind of gnocchi. Would love to see what kind you would make, Nazima

  4. narf77 says:

    Still twitching from the last time I decided to casually “knock out” some gnocchi for dinner. I had never made them before, it was 5pm and how long could it take eh? We decided to have a glass of wine while we were waiting…by 10pm we were drunk and starving and singing loudly to The Clash on Youtube and the gnocchi were STILL cooking! I have never attempted them since. White sauce is very easy to veganise and we vegans have been known to make the French veloute with a nice rich veggie stock. This recipe almost makes me want to think about trying to make gnocchi again but I waited 6 years between my first child and my second. I don’t forget pain easily! 😉

    1. This is painless! Don’t aim for perfection – just something that resembles a dough – chop it up and drop in the boiling water. And drink wine *with* the gnocchi noshing not *during* the gnocchi making 😉 Not that I always follow my own advice, you understand…

      1. narf77 says:

        “Hic!” 😉 I like the look of the ricotta version. Stevie-boy would really appreciate them. Might start a bit earlier than 5pm though methinks…

  5. Love the look of these Kellie. I usually have a pack or two of bought gnocchi in the cupboard but am yet to try making my own, I really should though!

    1. Do, Sian. Do! Just plain old potato gnocchi is lovely. A nice neutral base for a jazzy sauce.

  6. Katie Bryson says:

    These look stunning and well worth the effort Kellie. We love gnocchi in our house, but i have to confess to always buying the lazy ready-made stuff. I made it once at a cookery class and it was delicious, so I really must motivate myself to do it again. Your recipe looks fab and the photos are just gorgeous.

    1. Thanks so much, Katie. As you have made them under professional tutelage I would defer to your learned method. But the sage and squash really are quite nice and a change from the norm. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. lizzygoodthings says:

    You know, Kellie, I have never ever made gnocchi… I have watched Italian grandmothers make it on more than one occasion, but never dabbled myself. Clearly this must change… bookmarking and pinning this for winter! xox

    1. Thanks, Liz. They’re really quite fun to make. Like playing. 🙂

  8. Perfection as always!

  9. Reblogged this on greenfoodmarketing and commented:
    How delicious does this look?
    I will definitely try this recipe for dinner #yummy #cantwait

  10. Wow! I am making this ASAP!

  11. Susan says:

    This sounds and looks AMAZING!

  12. Pumpkin gnocchi is my culinary nemesis! The first time I attempted gnocchi (regular) was when I was 20 and living in New Zealand. Rather than lay it out on a tray I made this big pyramid of gnocchi on a plate which turned into one big gnocchi, so when dinner came around I was frantically picking up clumps and tossing it into rapidly boiling water…. ahhh, how little I knew. Little enough to actually serve the goop that came out of the pot, and my guests were polite enough to eat it, but it was gross. A lesson learned. Years later when I attempted pumpkin gnocchi for another dinner party I knew it was also a lost cause but I at least was smart enough to not serve it. But I’ve not tried a combo of pumpkin and potato (and have made potato gnocchi successfully since the initial disaster) so perhaps this is something I should try. I’ve got plenty of roasted pumpkin flesh on hand, after all.

    1. Oh, Katie. Poor you with the dinner party memory. I know you have remarked before on your own blog about how gnocchi has been your nemesis. Truly this one seems to be very similar to all-potato but with the taste notes of butternut squash and sage. Perhaps another go is in oder, but your own twist??

  13. I’ve never tried making gnocchi, maybe it’s time to 🙂

  14. It looks amazing Kellie. What a colour!!! I need to use gnocchi more. I tried to share this from your facebook page, but it wouldn’t let me for some reason. Odd! Thanks for linking to me.

    1. Hmm. Maybe something temporary, I hope. I still don’t know what I”m doing with FB so it might be my settings. Thanks for letting me use your lovely recipe to link to.

  15. Fiver Feeds says:

    Amazing! Will have to try make this gnocchi!

  16. Beautiful gnocchi – aren’t they just amazing little things?! I love how you’ve made them super healthy. Great photos too and thank you for sharing the love on my Polish dumplings 🙂

  17. Linda and Alex @ Veganosity says:

    What a beautiful, colorful dish! I love making gnocchi, my vegan version is just as good as the conventional kind that I used to make. I love the idea of using fresh sage in the mix. It sounds and looks wonderful!

  18. I’ve always loved gnocchi, but I’ve never made my own before because I figured it would be too hard. I’ve been eyeing some store bought gluten free gnocchi at the store for a while, but you have inspired me to make my own! That sauce is such a gorgeous color and the gnocchi look so good!

  19. Gnocchi and I have a love-hate relationship. (I love them; I cannot make them to save my life.) You’ve given me the courage to try again!!

  20. Sally says:

    I think you were Mondrian in another life 🙂 Love the idea of squash and potato gnocci and just crave eating something that green

  21. This looks delicious! I also love your photographs – so beautiful and vibrant!

  22. This recipe looks so delicious, healthy, and colorful! I am inspired to try it.

  23. sheila kiely says:

    Beautifully vibrant photographs, I’ve just discovered your blog via WordPress Reader, I’ll be back – it’s beautiful. 🙂

  24. stateeats says:

    I made gnocchi once and it took hours…… literally…… but it was fun. Might have to revisit again with your recipe some snowy Saturday or Sunday — which actually might be any day now. – Kat

  25. Deena Kakaya says:

    now that is definitely a much needed injection of colour for days like these! I am really liking your use of cashews in this recipe. Like you, I enjoy these comforting little pillows as a weekday ‘cheat’ meal in terms of time savers so I am encouraged by you telling us that this is a very easy recipe to whip up; looks definitely worth the effort! x

  26. Matt says:

    Yummy! i love it very useful to me 🙂

  27. cirque1993 says:

    Reblogged this on Cirque Nineteen Ninety Three and commented:
    Already thinking about dinner…maybe because bed comes after…

  28. Cooksister says:

    Oh Kellie that looks absolutely amazing! I also love gnocchi but always baulk at the faff of making them. Love the vibrant colour of the sauce!

  29. ayddanmamie says:

    It’s a very delicious and the gnocchi are very tasty !! thanks

  30. Denis says:

    Why is yeast used for the souce ??

    1. Its not bakers yeast. It is de-activated brewer’s yeast and it gives a cheese-like flavour. It is popular in vegan savoury dishes. We like it on popcorn. 🙂

  31. Alison says:

    Anna Del Conte’s Gastronomy of Italy has a pumpkin gnocchi to die for. Her secret is to not add too much flour, so it is never a rollable dough, but a pastry bag pipeable batter that you drop into salted boiling water. I had lost count of the number of times I have been asked for that recipe! Hmm. Wonder if I can veganise it?!

    1. I like the idea of piping the dough straight into the boiling pot. I imagine that would take a bit of practice! Well, for me anyway 😉

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