This Vegan Gnocchi with Sausage and Sage is a mouthwatering combination of pillowy soft gnocchi, protein-packed crumbled vegan sausage, shallot, and kale. Make this comforting dish in less than 30 minutes for an easy dinner during the week or date night!
I was inspired to create this easy recipe after trying a pillowy gnocchi dish with plant-based sausage, vegan brown butter, and sage at a restaurant last winter.
Sometimes, all I want is to unwind with a comforting and mouthwatering dinner that will transport me to a rustic Italian trattoria without leaving the comfort of my home or kitchen. Are you with me?
Or maybe you'd like to create a delicious meal for date night that takes little time to prepare.
This gnocchi with vegan sausage, kale, and browned butter sage is an easy dinner that will likely become a staple in your kitchen as it has in ours.
And the best part? This vegan pasta dish can be on your dinner table in just half an hour - a gourmet, restaurant-worthy dinner in 30 minutes.
The star of this recipe is the fluffy gnocchi combined with vegan Italian sausage, fresh kale, and fresh sage. This dish is delicious and comforting and will impress even the biggest meat lovers in your life.
These are the ingredients you need to make soft, pillowy gnocchi with crumbled vegan sausage and a browned butter sage sauce:
- Vegan gnocchi - a package of gluten-free gnocchi (I bought DeLallo gluten-free mini gnocchi) makes this a quick dinner. You can find vegan gnocchi in the dried pasta section at the grocery store. If you have homemade uncooked gnocchi, feel free to use it.
- Plant-based sausage - to make this dinner come together quickly, I used Field Roast Italian Garlic and Fennel plant-based sausage, which is wheat-based - it's a favorite in our household. You can find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or the freezer section. If you have homemade plant-based sausage, feel free to use it. A vegan hot Italian sausage flavor would be a great choice.
- Kale - I used lacinato kale because I enjoy the flavor, and it adds fiber and nutrients. It's easy to slice into slivers and mix with the rest of the ingredients just before serving.
- Nutritional yeast - this is inactive yeast. It is a good source of protein and vitamins and adds a cheesy flavor and umami. You can find it at the grocery store in the seasonings section or online. There is no substitute.
- Sage - fresh sage is essential for this recipe. When I don't have enough sage to harvest from our patio garden, I buy it at the grocery store in the refrigerated section in the fresh produce area. The sage adds a beautiful, savory flavor to the dish.
- Red pepper flakes - to add a hint of heat and additional flavor.
- Salt - I recommend either pink Himalayan salt or sea salt for flavoring the gnocchi dish. I use kosher salt to boil the gnocchi in.
- Vegan Butter - I like to use Miyoko's unsalted plant-based butter for this recipe because it browns nicely and has a buttery flavor. Earth Balance works in this recipe as well.
- Freshly ground black pepper - not pictured. I love to use this one from Zanzibar, it's very flavorful!
See the recipe card for quantities.
Here are some substitutions you can try:
- Kale - instead of fresh kale, use thawed frozen chopped kale or spinach or omit the greens.
- Shallot - Use finely diced onion (red, yellow, or white) or garlic.
- Vegan butter - Use extra virgin olive oil instead. It won't brown, but it will still taste great.
- Sage - use fresh marjoram instead; it is delicious! I recommend a half-cup.
- Vegan gluten-free gnocchi - feel free to use vegan gnocchi made with durum semolina and flour if you're not gluten-free.
Here are some variations you can try:
- Spicy - add more red chili pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish, or stir in half to one teaspoon of crushed Calabrian chili paste (so good!).
- Deluxe - top this dish with crispy sage leaves sauteed in vegan butter instead of fresh sage. Or stir in cashew cream, my replacement for heavy cream, and top with vegan Parmesan cheese.
- Protein - stir in cooked white beans such as cannellini beans or Northern beans to make this dish even heartier with more protein.
- Umami - instead of using nutritional yeast for umami and cheesy flavor, add a small amount of white miso paste (try half to one teaspoon) mixed with a small amount of salted gnocchi water (a couple of tablespoons) when you add the gnocchi to the rest of the ingredients. Or add chopped fresh garlic when sauteeing the shallots.
- Gluten-free - look for gluten-free gnocchi when shopping. Be sure to read the labels to ensure the vegan sausage is gluten-free; the brand I use contains wheat.
- Salted gnocchi water - add white wine to the sausage mixture while cooking. I'd start with 2 to 4 tablespoons.
How to make vegan gnocchi with sausage and sage
It's easy to make this vegan gnocchi recipe. It comes together quickly with store-bought gnocchi and plant-based sausage; be sure to have everything ready before cooking. This recipe is for two servings.
Step 1: Chop the kale and shallot, crumble the plant-based sausage, and measure the nutritional yeast, salt, and crushed red pepper.
Step 2: Heat 6 cups of water for the gnocchi on medium heat in a large pot. Stir in a tablespoon of kosher salt. Wait to add the gnocchi.
Step 3: In a large skillet, melt the vegan butter over medium-low heat; add chopped shallot and sage on opposite sides of the pan. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown.
Step 4: Add the crumbled plant-based sausage and crushed red pepper flakes and cook on low-medium heat until browning, stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
Note: If you like a soft texture to the sausage, add water before it browns; the water will soften the sausage.
Step 5: While the plant-based sausage is cooking, add the gnocchi to the large pot of salted water and boil it for up to 5 minutes (read package directions).
Reserve salted water for the sauce. The gnocchi will float to the top when ready.
Step 6: Add a small amount of water to soften the vegan sausage while cooking, and add more water as needed.
Step 7: Remove the gnocchi from the large pot with a slotted spoon and place them into the saucepan with the sausage. Add some reserved pasta water and nutritional yeast, and stir until creamy. Add more pasta water as needed.
Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Step 8: Divide the gnocchi into two pasta bowls; garnish with freshly ground black pepper and additional fresh sage leaves, if desired.
This dish is hearty enough to be standalone; however, you can serve a simple salad before the gnocchi.
Hint: Serve immediately for best results since the gnocchi sauce thickens quickly. Add reserved salted water and stir the gnocchi dish if it gets too thick.
If you have any leftovers, let them cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I don't recommend freezing since this will affect the texture of the gnocchi.
Don't overcook the gnocchi! They should be tender for the best results. If you overcook them, they will be gummy.
Gnocchi is a dumpling of northeastern Italian origin made from potatoes and wheat flour. Some people call it pasta, but it's a dumpling because potatoes are the main ingredient, not flour. They are often served like pasta with tomato sauce, pesto, or butter and sage sauce. Gnocchi can be made gluten-free with rice flour and potato starch. You can buy gnocchi fresh, frozen, or in shelf-stable packages.
Many traditional recipes contain eggs, and some add ricotta, so check the label when buying gnocchi to ensure it is vegan. It's easy to make vegan gnocchi with flour, mashed russet potatoes, and water.
This gnocchi with vegan sausage, kale, and browned butter sage is perfect for satisfying your comfort food cravings. The delicious combination of Italian flavors will make you want to make it again soon. So, try this recipe next time you’re wondering what to make for dinner. Happy cooking!
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Vegan Gnocchi with Sausage and Sage
- 12 oz package vegan gluten-free gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 large shallot diced, approximately ¼ cup
- ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- 3 oz Italian plant-based sausage crumbled
- ¼ cup fresh sage chopped, reserve a few whole leaves for garnish, or fresh marjoram
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon crushed Calabrian red pepper paste
- ½ cup lacinato kale, chopped use up to 1 cup
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 6 cups of water for gnocchi on medium heat in a medium-large to large pot.
- Once the water for the gnocchi is starting to simmer, in a large skillet, melt the vegan butter over medium-low heat; add chopped shallot and sage on opposite sides of the pan. Cook for up to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning golden.2 tablespoons vegan butter, 1 large shallot, ¼ cup fresh sage, ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- Add crumbled plant-based sausage and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until browning, stirring occasionally, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of pasta (gnocchi) water to soften the vegan sausage while cooking, if desired. Add more water as needed.3 oz Italian plant-based sausage, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- While the plant-based sausage is cooking, cook the gnocchi for up to 5 minutes—reserve ¾ cup water. Remove the gnocchi from the pot with a ladle and place them into the saucepan with the sausage. Add ¼ cup reserved pasta water and nutritional yeast, and stir until creamy. Stir in kale. Add more pasta water as needed for a creamy sauce.12 oz package vegan gluten-free gnocchi, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, ½ cup lacinato kale, chopped
- Divide the gnocchi with sauce into two pasta bowls; garnish with freshly ground pepper and fresh sage leaves, if desired.Freshly ground black pepper
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.