Sweet Potato Basil Gnocchi Recipe {Shhh, it’s Paleo!}

Hi everyone- Happy Wednesday! I am jumping out of my seat this morning because I’m so excited to share today’s recipe wit you. Sweet Potato Basil Gnocchi was created from inspiration I received from one our summer interns. Her and a fellow intern had told me that they had read my blog and were going to start their Whole30 next week. Wooo hooo! We got to talking and one of the interns mentioned that her family is Italian. I knew what question was coming so I braced myself. She asked, “So, what do you do about pasta?”. I just looked at her and said, “I don’t eat pasta. You don’t eat any grains or pasta on the Whole30.” Then I said, “Well, you may be able to do gnocchi, but it usually has flour and other non-compliant ingredients in it.”

Then it hit me. Oh. my gosh. How have I not thought of this before?! I pride myself on being able to turn sweet potatoes into almost anything and they are one of my favorite foods. I could make gnocchi with sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes and then I could use almond flour/meal instead of regular flour! It was like the clouds opened up and the heavens sang. I began looking up recipes for regular gnocchi and started to reverse engineer.

For those of you who don’t know what gnocchi is, it’s a small potato dumpling that is served in Italian restaurants. It’s traditionally made with cheese, flour, egg and whatever other ingredients the chef decides to add.

I first fell in love with gnocchi when I was in Florence, Italy with one of my best friends. We backpacked through parts of Europe in 2007 and while we were in Florence, the owner of our hostel took us out to a late night dinner at a small, local restaurant. We ate gnocchi  and fresh fruit with cream, along with some lemoncello…because what Italian meal is complete without lemoncello?! The gnocchi was perfectly cooked and absolutely wonderful. Here are a few pictures from that evening:

Ever since then, my favorite “Italian” style dish has been gnocchi. Although Wil and I don’t eat it much due to the ingredients, this recipe maybe added to our list of occasional eats.

This recipe is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and vegan. It’s weird to say Paleo and Vegan in the same sentence, but since this recipe is created from mostly starchy veggies and flours, it contains no animal products. Not super high on the protein chart so I would recommend adding some grilled chicken or salmon to the mix along with some olive oil and basil. We didn’t add any cheese or eggs to keep the recipe simple, but after making two batches, I’ll suggest the next time we make it, to add in an egg or two- just to help hold together the batter.

We originally tried to boil the dumplings, but after being in the pot for about 5-8 minutes, the water turned orange because they had mostly dissolved. We then baked the second batch and they were so yummy- crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

We served them with a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt and basil, but if you’re really wanting to create a pasta-like dish, you could make a creamy coconut milk sauce for them and add in some grilled chicken (think pasta Alfredo!).

So, read on to see how I make this delicious sweet potato basil gnocchi!

Sweet Potato Basil Gnocchi Recipe {Shhh, it’s Paleo!}

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4
  • Difficulty: medium


  • 2 cups Mashed Sweet Potato (approximately 3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Basil
  • 1 1/4 cups Almond Meal
  • 3 tablespoon Arrowroot Flour


  1. First, you need to prep your sweet potatoes. You can do this one of two ways. You can microwave them or you can bake them. We didn’t really have the time to bake them so we poked some holes in them, wrapped them in a damp paper towel and microwaved them. Each sweet potato takes approximately 5-6 minutes to cook and we did two at a time. If you’re baking them, bake them at 400 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes or until done.

  2. Next, scoop out the insides of the sweet potato and discard the skin. Measure out two cups and place into a mixture (or you can use a bowl with a handmixer).

  3. Next, add in the salt, cinnamon, pepper, basil and almond meal. Mix on medium until combined. Then add the Arrowroot Flour. It can be purchased at most health food stores and the brand I buy is Bob’s Red Mill.

  4. Here is the slightly messy part. Take a little bit of arrowroot flour and dab it on your palms so that when you’re handling the mixture it doesn’t stick. Take a small amount and roll into a log on an almond flour/arrowroot covered mat or counter. We did about a cup a time.

  5. Once the mixture is rolled into logs, chop into bite size pieces.

  6. Next, place the gnocchi on a parchment paper or aluminum foil lined baking sheet. You can coat with oil if you want to prevent them from sticking.

  7. Then, bake the gnocchi at 350 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the outside is a little bit brown. The inside should be soft- like a dumpling.

  8. Let cool and serve with olive oil, sea salt and basil. Enjoy!

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Comments: 12

  1. Janet McAvoy August 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Finally a recipe even I can use. I am Onion and Garlic free (migraines), Gluten, nightshade free, slight amount of cheese and sugars (usually use agave), otherwise dairy free. Will try this wonderful recipe especially since I have all the ingredients. Thanks so much.

    • Ashley Fleming September 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Janet- I’m glad you can make this recipe. Let me know how you like it!

  2. Tara September 12, 2013 at 3:04 am

    I just made these tonight and they were delicious! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!

    • Ashley Fleming September 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Awesome Tara- I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  3. Tony October 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Just made this recipe for my girlfriend and I; made a garlic olive oil sauce. Really incredible. Thank you! So nice that this is egg free. Keep ’em coming…

    • Ashley Fleming October 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      That’s great to hear Tony! I’m glad you enjoyed them :)

  4. Federica December 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Hi! Very nice recipe indeed!
    I was just wondering though – why “baking” the gnocchi? Aren’t they supposed to be just boiled (before adding any sauce)?

  5. Marde April 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Just made this tonight for the fam -AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING

    First thought it was weird that the gnocchi was to be baked instead of boiled, we tried it anyway and holy snap it was delicious. Crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside – tasted like heaven. If we had boiled them I think they still would have turned out nice, but with not nearly the same impressive texture as “toasting” them did.

    Thank you Fitness is Delicious! That was sensational.
    (have two big rolls in the freezer now, can’t wait to try with other sauces!)

    • Ashley Fleming April 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Great- I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! I tried boiling them at first and they fell apart. Much better if you bake them :)

  6. Melinda Amato May 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Looks incredible! What type of salad would you recommend with this?

    • Ashley Fleming May 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      Hi Melinda,
      We haven’t tried it with salad, but you could pair it with any type- mixed greens, spinach, etc. I hope you like it!

  7. Melinda Amato February 6, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Do you think these would freeze well? If so how would you freeze them before or after cooking? I have a lot of sweet potatoes and would love to make a lot of these and save some for later as I love them – thanks!