Macro Friendly Sweet Potato Gnocchi (High Protein)

published: February 21, 2023

updated: October 24, 2023

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I love Italian food. Gnocchi is one of my favorite traditional Italian pastas. Who doesn’t love a delicious, dumpling-like pasta! Growing up in an Italian family, I often ate delicious homemade meals including a variety of sauces and different types of pastas. As I got older and started preparing food on my own, I realized I felt a little intimidated by the idea of making homemade Italian food. It seemed a bit challenging and very time consuming! 

This recipe doesn’t look like your traditional Italian pasta recipe (like our healthy skillet lasagna), but it is truly one of my favorites for any time of the year. Traditionally, sweet potato gnocchi has maybe 4g of protein, but this recipe has 9g of protein per serving!

This recipe makes it easy for anyone to make homemade pasta, even if you don’t have the cooking experience you think you need! It’s also a great recipe to keep in your back pocket and use when you are entertaining guests. It’s flavorful and simple, yet bound to impress them!


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3 Reasons Why You Will Love This High-Protein Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe

plate of sweet potato gnocchi
  1. It uses fresh herbs in a light sauce. Many pasta dishes have a thick creamy sauce, but this is a good, healthy alternative–with tons of healthy monounsaturated fats! If you are trying to increase the healthy fats in your diet, this is a good place to start.
  2. It’s a better-for-you comfort food. Most gnocchi recipes are made with ricotta cheese. This one uses some part-skim ricotta, and also sweet potatoes to make this a colorful, nutrient-dense dumpling, but you still get wonderful pillowy pasta! It’s also a good way to sneak more root vegetables into your diet.
  3. You’ll impress your guests! Gnocchi doesn’t have to be difficult, and I will show you how to make a simple yet delicious gnocchi dumpling with this recipe!

Ingredients

ingredients on the table
  • Gnocchi:
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • ¼ c part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 ¾ all-purpose flour + more for dusting
  • Sauce:
  • ½ c olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, finely chopped
  • 15-20 sage leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • Fresh parmesan, if desired

Kitchen Tools Required

Saucepan, large pot, strainer, slotted spoon, large spoon, small knife, cutting board, large knife, measuring cups, measuring spoons, large mixing bowls, paper towel, spatula

How to Make Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Sage & Walnut Sauce 

  1. Poke several holes in the sweet potato on both sides with a knife or fork to vent. Place in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Flip the potato over and microwave for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Let the potato cool for 10 minutes.
  2. While your potato is cooking, measure out your ricotta cheese. Wrap cheese in a piece paper towel and press down firmly  to remove excess moisture.
  3. Once potato is cooled, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl. Make sure your potato flesh has cooled enough before proceeding to the next step; if flesh still is steaming, wait a few more minutes.
  4. Add ricotta cheese, egg, salt, cayenne pepper, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper to the mixing bowl. Stir in your all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing in between additions. When all flour is added, mix well until flour disappears. Dough will be a little bit sticky.
  5. Form a ball with the dough and knead a few times with your hands. If the dough is sticky to your hands quite a lot, dust the ball of dough with additional flour. Transfer the ball of dough to a floured surface.
  6. Divide the ball of dough into 8 equal portions. Roll out each portion into long ropes, about ½ to ¾ inch thick (This does not have to be perfect!)
  7. Next, cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces with a knife. Let gnocchi pieces dry for about 10 minutes.
  8. As the gnocchi is drying, make the sauce. Add ½ cup olive oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the oil for about 3 minutes.
  9. Next, add the walnuts and garlic to the saucepan. Cook the nuts for about 5-6 minutes. You will see the sauce begin to foam as the pieces of nuts toast with the garlic. Mix frequently with a spatula so that nuts and garlic don’t burn.
  10. Add the sage leaves and the oregano. Cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove sauce from heat and mix in the salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Turn heat to low to keep warm.
  11. Now you will cook your gnocchi. Add water to a pot and lightly salt it. Place over high heat. When water is boiling, add the gnocchi pieces. Watch the gnocchi closely, it will cook in about 5 minutes. Stir frequently with a slotted spoon so that the pasta does not stick together or to the bottom of the pot.
  12. When all of the gnocchi rise to the top of the water, remove from heat. Drain, using a strainer. Then rise briefly with cold water to halt the cooking process. Add gnocchi back to the pot.
  13. Pour the warm sauce over the gnocchi and mix well. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
ingredients in bowl to mix with
mixing sweet potato
mixing ingredients in large bowl
cooking ingredients for sweet potato gnocchi
plate of sweet potato gnocchi

Swaps or Alternatives

  1. If you don’t have olive oil, butter will also work for this recipe. You can swap equal potions. It will increase the saturated fat content, but will work well in a pinch!
  2. You can easily skip the garlic sage and walnut sauce and use store-bought sauce instead! A jar of tomato sauce also works well with this pasta recipe.
  3. Substitute the garlic sage and walnut sauce for a homemade traditional pesto sauce for a completely different flavor!
  4. If you are looking for more protein, I suggest adding grilled chicken breast pieces to this dish. This recipe also makes a great side dish for baked parmesan chicken!

Quick Tip(s)

  • Microwaving your potato saves so much time and is much quicker than boiling it.
  • It is helpful to move on to the next step of the cooking process to save time. For example: prepare your ricotta cheese while the potato is cooking, and while the gnocchi is drying, make the sauce.

Macros & Nutrition Information

MacrosNutrition
Calories430
Protein9g
Carbs40g
Fat28g

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Sage & Walnut Sauce

Meagan Maritato
A delicious and comforting pasta recipe with a light and tasty garlic herb sauce that has a nutty flavor. Plus, it’s easy to make!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 430 kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Large Pot
  • Strainer
  • slotted spoon
  • large spoon
  • small knife
  • Cutting Board
  • large knife
  • Measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • large mixing bowls
  • paper towel
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

Gnocchi:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper to taste
  • all-purpose flour + more for dusting

Sauce

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, finely chopped
  • 15-20 sage leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • Fresh parmesan, if desired

Instructions
 

  • Poke several holes in the sweet potato. Place in microwave on high for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • While your potato is cooking, measure out your ricotta cheese. Wrap cheese in a piece of paper towel and press down firmly to remove excess moisture.
  • Cut potato in half and scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl.
  • Add ricotta cheese, egg, salt, cayenne pepper, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper to the bowl. Stir in your all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing between additions.
  • Form a ball with the dough and knead a few times with your hands. Transfer the ball of dough to a floured surface.
  • Divide the ball of dough into 8 equal portions. Roll out each portion into long ropes, about ½ to ¾ inch thick.
  • Next, cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces. Let gnocchi pieces dry for about 10 minutes.
  • As the gnocchi is drying, make the sauce. Add ½ cup olive oil to a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the walnuts and garlic to the saucepan. Toast the nuts for about 5-6 minutes. Mix frequently with a spatula.
  • Add the sage leaves and the oregano and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove sauce from heat and mix in the salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
  • Add water to a pot and lightly salt it. Place over high heat. When water is boiling, add the gnocchi. Stir frequently with a slotted spoon. When gnocchi rises to the top of the water, remove from heat. Drain, using a strainer. Rise briefly with cold water and add gnocchi back to the pot.
  • Pour the warm sauce over the gnocchi and mix well. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • The gnocchi will cook quickly, so make sure to watch very closely. Your pasta will begin to fall apart if it is overcooked. It’s helpful to set a timer for the pasta cooking process!
  • The amount of flour you use will depend on the moisture content of your ricotta cheese. You may end up using a bit more flour than planned, so make sure to keep a little extra on hand, just in case.

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 9gFat: 28g
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About the author, Meagan Maritato

Meagan is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer through NASM. She is passionate about counseling clients in her private practice and providing support with developing healthier nutrition habits. She has five years of experience in the dietetics field. When she isn't working, Meagan enjoys cooking, trying new recipes, making charcuterie boards, reading, and hiking.

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