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This Butternut Squash Gnocchi is made from scratch using simple ingredients, then tossed in a cozy sage butter sauce to make a delicious, restaurant-worthy meal. Vegan.
Skip the store-bought gnocchi and try this soft and pillowy Butternut Squash Gnocchi at home! It’s made entirely from scratch, then pan-fried until golden in a creamy butter sauce made with toasted walnuts and fried sage leaves. It’s the perfect comforting main dish for special occasions, date nights in, and celebrating the fall season!
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The Fall Comfort Food You Didn’t Know You Needed
Every fall, I’m looking for new ways to appreciate winter squash. Aside from being mildly sweet and nutty, it’s also smooth and creamy, which makes it perfect for blending into soups, sauces, or even hummus. But did you know it can also be used to make homemade gnocchi?Pillowy gnocchi is normally made with grated potatoes, but today we’re using butternut squash for a fun fall flavor. It’s admittedly more prep work than most of my quick and easy dinners, but the end result will quite literally knock your socks off! It’s soft and pillowy on the inside, crispy and caramelized on the outside, and coated in a luxurious sage butter sauce that you won’t be able to stop eating. So turn on your favorite music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and let’s get cooking!
Ingredients for Butternut Squash Gnocchi
If you’re feeling intimidated at the thought of making gnocchi from scratch, don’t be! It is a labor of love, but it’s simple to make and requires just 8 basic ingredients (including the homemade sage butter sauce!). Here’s what you’ll need:
- Butternut squash: Since this winter squash is naturally higher in moisture content, it is important to use fresh butternut squash, not frozen. Most grocery stores carry fresh squash in the produce section from September through December.
- Oil: Olive oil helps give the gnocchi dough a softer, more pliable texture and helps yield a lighter, fluffier gnocchi. Olive oil is also combined with dairy-free butter to make the base of the sage butter sauce for pan-frying.
- Nutmeg: This warming spice adds an earthy, slightly sweet flavor that compliments the sweetness in the butternut squash and enhances the fall flavors in the dish. A little goes a long way, but makes a huge difference in flavor!
- Flour: All-purpose flour combines with the butternut squash puree to make the perfect textured gnocchi dough.
- Shallot: This aromatic is my preferred choice when making lighter, delicate sauces as they are milder than onions and won’t overpower the flavor of the fresh sage or savory butter.
- Sage leaves: Fresh sage leaves add the most flavor to the sage sauce. To help infuse the most sage flavor into the sauce, slap the sage between your hands a few times. This crushes the herb and helps to release more of the natural oils during the cooking process.
- Dry white wine: Choose something that’s subtle, fruity and acidic. This will help balance the richness in the dairy-free butter and keeps the sauce from tasting too heavy. I used Sauvignon Blanc and found it worked really well!
How to Make Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- Cut the squash into thin 1/2″ slices and roast the butternut squash until fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Mash the squash into a puree, then add the olive oil, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Combine with the flour and knead into a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Cut the dough into bite-sized gnocchi.
- Boil for 3-5 minutes, or until soft and fluffy. Drain or remove with a slotted spoon.
- Prepare the sage butter sauce, then pan-fry the gnocchi until golden-brown and crispy.
- Serve while warm, as desired. Enjoy!
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Roast the butternut squash as directed. Traditional gnocchi is made with starchy potatoes because they’re low in excess moisture. Since butternut squash has more liquid in it than potatoes, it is important to dry-roast thin slices of butternut squash to remove some of that excess water content. For this reason, I would avoid store-bought butternut squash puree or leftover butternut squash that’s been prepared another way.
- Use a food processor for the smoothest pureed texture. Potato gnocchi is typically made with grated potatoes. However, butternut squash has a much more fibrous texture than starchy potatoes. You can still mash butternut squash puree pretty smoothly using a handheld potato masher, but there will be small pieces of butternut squash in the finished gnocchi. If this bothers you, you can use a food processor to turn the butternut squash into a very smooth puree. This will yield a slightly more dense gnocchi than the hand-mashed variety, but the texture will be much smoother.
I highly recommend serving this butternut squash gnocchi as a main dish with my homemade sage butter sauce. It compliments the sweet, nutty flavor in the butternut squash and is the perfect luxurious sauce complete with buttery walnuts, pan-fried sage, and crispy shallot.
It’s wholesome enough to be served on it’s own with a glass of white wine, but pairs well with light side dishes and salads such as these Garlic Green Beans, this Winter Kale Salad, or this Kale and Cranberry Salad.
If you’re looking for more butternut squash recipes, you’ll also love these Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells, this Fall Farro Salad with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts, and this One Pot Quinoa with Butternut Squash.
How to Store Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Homemade gnocchi is best served fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Since we almost never have leftovers, I have never tested this gnocchi. If you would like to test it yourself, check out this helpful article: How to Freeze Gnocchi in a Few Simple Steps.
This butternut squash gnocchi will reheat best in a hot skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave until lightly warmed.
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten-free option? Unfortunately, I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, so I cannot guarantee it would work well. If you are gluten-free, I would recommend making one of my tried and true gluten-free recipes such as this Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Casserole, this Butternut Squash Chili with White Beans, or this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.
- White wine substitution: If you do not want to cook with alcohol, reserve 1/2 cup of the gnocchi water from the pan while you are boiling them. This starchy water will help to create a sauce for the gnocchi.
- Nutritional yeast substitution: I like the cheesy, umami flavor that nutritional yeast adds to the gnocchi, but it can be omitted if preferred or needed.
The best gnocchi should have a soft, pillowy texture and a crispy exterior after pan-frying. Gnocchi should never be crunchy or hard – this is a sign it is either way overdone or made with the wrong ratio of wet and dry ingredients.
Gnocchi that is falling apart when boiled likely contains too much moisture. When kneading the dough, it should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not overly so. If it is too sticky, add more flour. This will help absorb the excess moisture.
Gnocchi can technically be pan-fried instead of boiled, but I find this butternut squash gnocchi has the best plump, fluffy texture when it is boiled and then pan-fried. This ensures they are fully cooked and tender on the inside and creates the ideal textured gnocchi.
When gnocchi is fully cooked, it will float to the surface of the boiling water. It should also be plump, pillowy, and have a bright, orange color.
I have not personally tested this substitution, but it may work. Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are both considered higher-moisture vegetables and should add a similar texture and moisture to the gnocchi dough. If you’d like to experiment with sweet potatoes as a substitution, peel, cut, and roast the sweet potatoes in the same fashion.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce
For the Gnocchi:
- 1.4 pounds butternut squash makes about 1 1/4 cup of puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast* optional
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
For the Sage Butter Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter I used dairy-free
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
- 1 shallot fine dice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 6-7 leaves Sage crushed*
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine* (or sub pasta water; see notes)
For the Butternut Squash Gnocchi:
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roast the Butternut Squash: Peel the squash and discard any seeds or pulp. Cut the squash into thin 1/2” slices and place on the lined baking sheet. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.
- Mash the Squash: Transfer the squash to a bowl and mash well with a potato masher, until you have an even puree. You can also blend the squash in a food processor, but this will result in a slightly denser gnocchi. Add the olive oil, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, and salt to the puree and mix well.
- Make the Dough: Place the flour in a large mound on a wooden cutting board; use your hands or a spoon to create a well in the center of the flour. Transfer the butternut puree to the center of the flour and begin to knead it into the dough. I prefer to use a bench scraper to begin kneading, then eventually switch to my hands. You should be left with a mostly smooth ball of dough that’s slightly sticky to the touch. If the dough is too sticky you can knead in more flour, but note that the gnocchi will become more dense with more kneading and flour. Cover the dough ball in plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Form the Gnocchi: While you form the gnocchi, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cut the dough into 4 even portions. Dust the cutting board with more flour, then roll out one portion of the dough into a smooth ~1/2” log. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut 1/2” segments of dough off of the log to form each gnocchi. Transfer to a clean baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining 3 segments of dough, dusting with more flour as necessary.
- Boil: Add the gnocchi to the boiling water (I cooked them all in one batch) and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The gnocchi will rise to the top of the pot when they are finished cooking; this should take between 3 and 5 minutes.
- Drain: Drain the gnocchi, but do not rinse. Proceed to make the sauce (below), or serve in the sauce of your choosing!
For the Sage Butter Sauce:
- Toast the Walnuts (Optional): Melt the oil and butter together in a large saucepan over medium heat (if not using walnuts, proceed to step 2). Add the walnuts to a pan and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant and golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove the nuts from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
- Add the Gnocchi: Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and spread out to form an even layer across the bottom. Do not touch the gnocchi; allow them to pan-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom side is golden-brown.
- Aromatics: Use a spoon or spatula to toss the gnocchi around and move to one side of the pan. Add the shallot, sage, black pepper, and salt to the butter mixture. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent and the butter is browned.
- Deglaze: Add the white wine to the pan and scrape off any brown bits that may be on the bottom of it. Mix well and simmer for the gnocchi for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, until the wine has cooked off and the gnocchi begin to get crispy again.
- Serve: Return the toasted walnuts to the pan and mix well. Serve warm, topped with additional black pepper or as desired. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy umami flavor to the gnocchi dough, but you can leave it out if you do not have it.
- Sage: Before adding the sage to the pan, slap it a few times between your hands. This crushed the herb and helps it to release more natural oils during the cooking process.
- Wine: I used Sauvignon blanc for this recipe and it worked well! If you do not want to cook with alcohol, reserve 1/2 cup of the gnocchi water from the pan when you are boiling them; the starch in the pan will help to create a sauce for the gnocchi.
- Gluten-Free: Unfortunately I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, so I cannot guarantee it would work well.