One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

December 5, 2012

Elimination Diet Pear & Pesto Sweet Potato Gnocchi (Gluten free, dairy free, soy free)

I hope you’ll tolerate another foodie post. I’ve had a couple of requests for this recipe and I’m always promising I’ll email or post it soon. Also, I love this recipe like it’s one of my children, so it has to be bragged.

When I started the elimination diet (which is still going and going really well, by the way), I cheered myself on with the idea that maybe being forced to prepare absolutely everything from scratch might have some benefits like finding things that were just better homemade or even finding out that some things which seem daunting to make from scratch are really not that big a deal. Luckily for me, that notion was true because Sweet Potato Gnocchi satisfies both of those things.

First of all, it is so good, I swear it’s never leaving my recipe repertoire even if I end up with no diet restrictions at all. I’ve said it and I’m pretty sure my elimination diet partner agrees. We had supper with a mutual friend and fed it to her and the next week she was saying how she’d been thinking about it all week and could she please have the recipe. When I’m whipping some up for myself, I’ll ask Ian if he wants some too and even if he’s already had a regular supper with the kids, his answer is, “Oh yes please.” (This is how I save myself from having to eat alone, I just have to make meals that are good enough that Ian will eat a second supper with me.)

That’s not to say it’s not missing anything at all. For those of you without food restrictions, I’ll admit this: If I had free reign, I would add a couple of cloves of garlic to my pesto and I would toss some crumbled goat cheese on top to serve – but it really is fantastic just as it is.

And secondly, as long as you’re in the headspace where you’re willing to give a couple of hours to prepping food at the beginning of the week, it’s really not that bad a chore to make it at home. For an afternoon of intermittent work (because you’ll be able to do other things while the sweet potatoes roast and while freezing batches of gnocchi), I can get 6 – 8 servings of gnocchi. I always feel like it’s an afternoon well spent because I am the kind of person who absolutely must have something on hand that I could just throw into a frying pan and have supper within 20 minutes – which makes eliminating preservatives and gluten a challenge, I tell you.

You can also make the pesto ahead, if you need to. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for at least four or five days.

Here’s a quick list of dietary restrictions this recipe accomodates:

Nightshade-Free (Potato-Free, Tomato-Free)
Allium-Free (Garlic-Free, Onion-Free)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi (serves 4 – 6)

3 lbs Sweet Potatoes/Yams
1.5 cups Tapioca Flour (also called tapioca starch)
1.5 cups Brown Rice Flour
extra brown rice flour for handling the dough.

Weigh your sweet potatoes in the store if you don’t have a kitchen scale because knowing their actual weight can help you determine the right amount of flour to use. As you can see, there’s about a 1lb sweet potato to 1 cup flour ratio, as long as your flour is a 50/50 mix of tapioca to brown rice. But this ratio works with your pre-baked weight so check the weight before you bake.

Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and roast at 350F for 1 hour. Check with a fork that they’re soft all the way through.

Allow them to cool until easily handleable. Peel and mash them or put them through a potato ricer (my preference).

Add the flour, using equal parts tapioca and brown rice flour, a bit at a time and blend it in with a large spoon or fork. Depending on the weight, age, size, baking time and water content of your sweet potatoes,  you might need a little more or a little less flour. I regularly test by taking a piece and test-rolling a little ball in the palm of my hand. You want to stop adding flour when it’s just possible to roll the dough into a cohesive ball. The dough will be a pale orange sorbet colour.

This is a close-up of the dough so you can get a feel for what the texture of the finished dough is like. I actually could have even added a little bit more flour to this dough, though honestly I’ve mixed it both slightly dry and slightly wet and I haven’t had a bad batch of gnocchi yet.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Using a half-tablespoon, scoop pieces of the dough out and drop them on your cookie sheet. If you don’t have a half-tablespoon, you can scoop out a level 1/4 cup scoop of dough onto the counter (prep the counter with brown rice flour so it doesn’t stick). Roll it into a long log. Then cut that log in half, and those halves in half and those pieces again in half to make eight pieces from your 1/4 cup.


When I push them out of the spoon they keep the crescent indentation from my finger. You should expect your dough to hold its shape nicely like this.

Using your hands, dusted with brown rice flour, roll each piece into a ball. You will need to regularly wash your hands and re-dust with flour. I do this approximately every ten – twelve balls as a dough residue begins to build up on my hands.

Using a fork, also dusted with brown rice flour, press each gnocchi ball down to put a fork impression in the top. (you don’t have to do this, but it makes them a nice shape for frying, and, in theory, the dents help the gnocchi hold their sauce better).

Place your cookie sheet in the freezer for at least one hour. Cover remaining dough with plastic wrap and put in the fridge if you don’t have enough freezer space or cookie sheets to roll it all at once (I certainly don’t).

When the gnocchi is frozen, you can either fry it right away, or pop it in a freezer bag until you’re ready to fry it. I find 20-30 pieces makes a pretty generous supper.


1.5 cups baby spinach
3/4 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or you can use lemon juice or various other vinegars. The first time I made this I used balsamic vinegar and it was amazing, but I reacted to the vinegar so I had to switch to apple cider)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Pear & Pesto Gnocchi

When you’re ready to assemble your meal, heat your oven to 200F. Chop one or two bartlett pears and place in an oven-proof dish in the oven while it heats.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with about a quarter inch of canola or other vegetable oil and warm over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place a single layer of frozen gnocchi in the pan fork-textured side down. Cook for a few minutes until golden brown and then flip. I find it easiest to flip them with a small fork. Watch them carefully because they can burn quickly.

When you finish a batch of gnocchi, throw it in the oven proof dish with your pears to keep warm until you’re done frying enough gnocchi for everyone.

Serve with loads of pesto, obviously.

3 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. lymric o'flood

     /  2014-04-26

    what could I use in place of the brown rice flour?

    • Good question. I think this would be a pretty forgiving dough to try with some more grainy flours like buckwheat, or sorghum or quinoa. It would probably give it a nice rustic, whole-grain mouth feel.

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