Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage

  • By Jess Dang
  • September 9, 2013

Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage Recipe
The Italian who decided to combine potatoes and flour to form pillowy gnocchi is an absolute genius in my book. Carb haters can balk, but I can’t help but indulge every so often in this rustic Italian creation.

There was a time in my life when I would have been happy to create gnocchi from scratch: cooking and mashing potatoes, slowly incorporating flour and eggs until I got the right consistency, rolling the dough out into thick ropes, cutting them into bite-sized pieces, pressing a fork against each piece to create ridges for trapping sauce.

Alas, my Italian grandmother days are over for now, and I’m all about that $1.99 vacuum-packed of pre-made gnocchi that I pick up from my local market. A few minutes in boiling water, and I have gnocchi ready to be sauced and dressed up however I want.

Since I’ve saved so much time by not making gnocchi from scratch, I can spend a few more minutes on that dressing. For this recipe, I’ve chosen kale and and my quick homemade take on sausage, a much healthier alternative to what you would buy pre-made. It’s really just a few shakes of spices and voila, you’ve got homemade sausage. And when you bring these three components together – gnocchi, kale, and sausage – you’ve created a dish that any modern Italian grandma would be pretty happy to serve.

Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage Recipe


Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage
Author: Jess Dang
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Get the flavor of sausage without all the fat in our “homemade” version. Served with sauteed kale, these two ingredients are perfect for gnocchi topping.
  • Ingredients
  • Ground meat – 1 lb. (I used ground beef but feel free to use anything)
  • Salt – 1 tsp.
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp.
  • Black pepper – 1/4 tsp.
  • Red chili / pepper flakes – 1/2 tsp.
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Onions – 1, diced
  • Kale – 1 bunch, leaves / stems separated
  • Gnocchi – 1 lb. (If you can’t find vacuum-packed gnocchi in pasta section, go for your favorite pasta shape.)
  • Olive oil – 2 tbs.
  • Cooking oil – 1 tbs.
  • Tomato paste – 1/3 cup
  • Lemon – 1/2, juice of
  • Parmesan (optional) – for serving
  1. Ground meat – Season ground meat with salt, fennel seeds, black pepper, and red chili flakes. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
  2. Garlic / Onions / Kale – Prep as directed. For kale, separate kale stems and leaves and chop stems into 1/2″ pieces. (Can be done up 3 days ahead)
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt heavily (that water should taste like the ocean!) and add gnocchi. Cook according to package instructions. Drain, toss with 2 tbs. of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and then garlic to heated oil. Once you can smell the garlic, add the kale stems and onions with a dash of salt. Saute until softened, ~3 minutes.
  3. Add in ground meat and tomato paste, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Brown meat, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add in kale leaves, as much as can fit into the pan. With each addition, add a pinch of salt. Saute until all the kale leaves are in the pan and wilted.
  5. Add gnocchi back into the pan, toss everything through, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm with parmesan cheese.


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