Vegan Thursdays: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Fennel Sauce

Sweet potato gnocchi with a creamy fennel sauce and a little vegan pesto
With my better half away for a couple of days, what else was there to do but hang out in the kitchen cooking all the stuff he doesn't like? Maybe he would have liked these gnocchi though, as they are less stodgy then the conventional kind. I had never made gnocchi before but they were well worth the effort. However this is no quick-fix meal: the sweet potatoes have to be cooked before the gnocchi dough is made and gnocchi are quite fiddly to shape- just as well the sauce is super-simple once you have roasted the fennel. Next time I might use white flour instead of wholemeal or sieve the wholemeal flour, as I did notice a slight wheaty taste to the gnocchi (although nobody else did.)

The finished gnocchi all ready to be boiled...
Serves 3-4 people
To make the Gnocchi:
2 medium-large orange sweet potatoes
1 cup (250ml) organic wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
  • Cook the sweet potatoes by either baking in the oven or microwaving
  • Scrape the flesh out of the skins and mash into a puree (which it will probably already be by this time anyway). Work in the flour and salt; the mixture will seem a little dry at first.
  • Knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth dough you can handle.
  • Shape by rolling the mixture into 4 long cylinders and cutting them into 1/2" lengths. Hold each one by the ends using your thumb and forefinger and use a fork to mark ridges on each side. It's worth taking time to get them as uniform as possible. The ridges, like those of pasta, are for catching the sauce.
  • Set aside until you're ready to cook them.
To make the sauce:
300g fresh fennel (about 3 bulbs), sliced lengthways and with the hard middles removed
2 1/2 tabs ground sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp seasalt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2-1 tsp (depending on strength) sweet smoked paprika
a little olive oil for roasting
1 cup (250ml) unsweetened plant milk (I used soya)
1 tab lemon juice
  • First roast the fennel in the oil for about 20 minutes at 200C. Set aside to cool a bit.
  • Throw the fennel into your blender or food processor with the ground sunflower seeds, the seasonings and the plant milk.
  • Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Set aside until you're ready to heat it gently just before serving.
To make the pesto:
Use your own favourite recipe, or try here or here. As our pesto does not contain garlic it will not overpower the delicate flavours of the fennel sauce.

To assemble:
  • Drizzle the pesto onto  plates ready for the gnocchi.
  • Drop the gnocchi into fast-boiling water. They will sink at first, then rise to the surface. They are done when they are all floating and heated through. (Takes just a couple of minutes.)
  • Meanwhile, heat the sauce through gently.
  • Drain the gnocchi and put on the plates on top of the pesto. Top with a generous dollop of fennel sauce.
We had ours with roasted veggies and a green salad!


  1. Very interesting sweet potato gnocchi, that with a super flavourful fennel sauce,am loving it.


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