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in the kitchen with: simone anne lang’s sweet potato gnocchi

by Kristina Gill

Last year, I begrudgingly accepted the shortcomings of the regular white potato compared to the orange sweet potato, which is richer in vitamins. Since turning a cold shoulder on the white potato, I’ve enjoyed learning new ways to use sweet potatoes in dishes. I usually stop at the simplest method — roasted with black pepper and cumin — or make a couple pies during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Luckily, student and blogger Simone Anne Lang has given me another option this week with her recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi. She uses a very simple condiment to let the sweet potato shine through. I can’t wait to try these out! — Kristina

About Simone Anne: Simone Anne is a photographer and food aficionado based in Berkeley, California. She’s a senior at UC Berkeley, where she’s writing her thesis on urban food systems, and she aspires to be a journalist. Her blog has chronicled her love of food and travel, as well as her desire to meet and photograph people (she shoots weddings and portraits, too), since 2009. Simone rides a red bicycle and wants a dog.

See how easy it is to make gnocchi after the jump . . .

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sautéed Onions and Thyme
Serves 3–4

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 pound of sweet potato (approximately one large sweet potato)
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (or all purpose, whichever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the sweet potato for 30–45 minutes or until well cooked and soft all the way through. Peel and discard the sweet potato skin (or sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and much on it for a snack!). You can do this as much as a day ahead of time. Let the potato cool completely.

2. Place the sweet potato in a medium bowl and crush it with a fork until well mashed. Add the flours and salt. Knead the dough well, adding flour as necessary to allow for easy handling. Avoid adding more flour than necessary to keep the gnocchi from getting tough.

3. When you can easily handle the dough, separate it into four segments and roll each segment on a floured surface into long skinny ropes. Each roll should be approximately 3/4 of an inch in diameter. With a fork, cut each roll into 1/2 inch gnocchi segments. If you’d like to make the traditional grooves in your gnocchi, press each piece of pasta lightly with the fork. You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.

4. When you’re ready to cook your gnocchi, boil water just as you would normally for pasta. When the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and the gnocchi. Keep the gnocchi simmering and stir them periodically to avoid sticking. When they float to the surface of the water, let them cook for another 5–10 minutes to taste. Strain the gnocchi from the water.

For the sauce:

  • 1 whole red onion
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2–3 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • olive oil for sautéing


1. Cut your onion into quarter-inch slices.

2. Sauté in olive oil on low for 15 to 20 minutes until soft.

3. Add lemon juice and thyme and continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Mix well with the gnocchi (I recommend turning off the stove and putting the cooked and drained gnocchi into the pan with the sauce to facilitate easy mixing).

5. Serve with a nice glass of wine and enjoy!

Photography and styling by Simone Anne Lang

Why Simone Anne Loves This Recipe

I grew up in an Italian household, but a strong interest in food as health has led me to try and remake a lot of the recipes I grew up enjoying. Sweet potato gnocchi are higher in vitamins than regular potatoes, and serving them with a lemon sauce instead of one that’s high in fat or cream (read: gorgonzola sauce) makes them so much better for you. With these, though, you won’t even miss it — they are SO good! The best part? My Mamma loves ’em, too. :)

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  • Wow, these look really good. Thanks, Simone! I have some sweet potatoes at home right now and I’ll try it this weekend.

    Wondering if anyone has any tips for freezing gnocchi. I’ve heard that it can be done but that’s about all I know…

  • whoa- and I think I just scored a gnocchi rolling pin (??) from the local thrift store for a buck! That sauce looks genius too… Sweet potato stars aligning for me this weekend!!

  • That looks amazing! I’m going to try that this weekend. What’s the purpose of the chickpea flour – I’m wondering if I could substitute something else if I don’t have that?

  • The first time I tried to make gnocchi I tried with sweet potato… But they turned out super rubbery. These look way more delicious!

  • I love that she used whole wheat and chickpea flour in there! It sounds incredibly delicious (and healthy!)

    Bookmarking this recipe. :)

  • yummmmmmmmmmmmmm! thanks for a tasty looking recipe; i do love sweet potato gnocchi! i will definitely be trying this recipe! do you think i could make my own farina di ceci aka chickpea flour in my vitamix?

  • Yummy! Sweet potatoes are one of my favorites! The photos are great too! I can’t wait to try these with my family!

  • I just made these with sage brown butter and they are very good. I followed the gnocchi recipe exactly. The only thing I found was that they are a touch dense so smaller pieces are better. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Hi all! Thanks so much for the sweet comments! :D

    Here are my thoughts in response to your questions:

    For freezing your gnocchi, I would try freezing them on a baking sheet and then, once frozen, storing them in a plastic freezer baggy, perhaps with a bit of extra flour to keep them from sticking together. That being said, haven’t tried so I don’t know for sure. :)

    You can skip the chickpea flour if you’d like… It’s in there for added flavor and a bit of protein, but I don’t think taking it out will hurt. It’s usually in the bulk section though, if your grocery store has one, and buying only a little in that case is pretty easy :)

    Yes! I bet making fresh flour in your Vitamix would be fab. My mother does that with other grains sometimes and the flour is just SO yummy. I can’t imagine this would be different!

    Enjoy, all!

  • Thank you for making this dairy free too! It’s hard to find great recipes like this one that are healthy and dairy free!

  • I’m not sure I will be ab;e to find chickpea flour here in Panama (Central America). What could I use instead?

  • This recipe looks amazing! Do you think butternut squash could be substituted for the sweet potato?

  • Anamae! I do believe you will be just fine replacing it with regular flour – the kind you use for the rest of the recipe. :)

    And I bet butternut squash would be fine. Just make sure it’s well mushed before incorporating the flour. If it’s stringy, perhaps use a knife to mince it well before adding the flour. I’m not 100% sure, just thinking about what I would do. I’ve never made them with butternut squash so please do report back! :D

    Simone :)

  • p.s. @Terri, for health reasons I avoid dairy 99% of the time! :D I feel ya; it’s hard to find yummy recipe ideas that are also vegan! :D

  • I was so excited to try this recipe .. I made it last weekend and the sauce was excellent and the gnocchi had a good flavor but were much to doughy. I’m not sure if I made them too big or cooked them too long .. but the texture just wasn’t right :(

  • Just made these about a half hour ago and they turned out amazing!! I deviated from the recipe a bit, using regular white flour, and coconut oil in the pan. I used two potatoes and no salt. They were in the pan for about 10 minutes at most. Put one portion in Barilla tomato basil sauce and the other in pesto. Both were great.

  • @Missy – Oh no, I am so sorry to hear that. I would recommend trying less flour. You want to put as little flour as possible while still allowing the gnocchi. Perhaps your potato was a little bit drier and didn’t need as much flour? Extra flour would make them tougher, so that much have been it. I am so sorry to hear that they didn’t work out :(

    @Cristina and @Jen – YAYY! :D yummyy both of those sound great and I am happy to hear things worked out for ya!

    -Simone :D

  • Yum, this looks really good & healthy too! Did you use yams or sweet potatoes? The picture shows yam, so just wondering what would be best

  • Thanks for the recipe! Finally tried it tonight and was pretty happy, maybe it was just me but my sweet potatoe took over twice the recommended time and that was at 400 instead of 350, guess I should have chopped it up more? Either way beautiful presentation, might just need to leave a little extra time to let that thing bake

  • I finally got around to making this with my husband tonight. We loved it! Absolutely. I had about 1/2 a cup of feta cheese in the fridge that needed to be used, so I threw it in at the end. It was a delicious addition. This is definitely a keeper.

  • my husband make gnocchi for us and if we have too many he will freeze them on a cookie sheet before he boils them. once they are frozen he will then put them into a zip lock bag for later. cook them in boiling water right out of the freezer. i make a Gorgonzola sauce for our, it’s wonderful.

    i will have to pass on the sweet potato recipe to him and see if he will make them for us. thanks!

  • Uh yeah, no I am actually just gonna up and make this tomorrow. I can’t even wait for tomorrow to be now so I can eat this.