Oven-baked Squash Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomato, Fennel and Spinach Pistou

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Oven-baked Squash Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomato, Fennel, and Spinach Pistou

Formal Introduction:

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Oven-baked Squash Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomato, Fennel, and Spinach Pistou is a delectable and visually appealing dish that combines the earthy flavors of squash gnocchi with the brightness of sun-dried tomatoes, the subtle licorice notes of fennel, and the vibrant freshness of spinach pistou. This dish is a culinary delight that blends various ingredients and techniques to create a harmonious and flavorful meal.

Casual Introduction:

Hey there! Oven-baked Squash Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomato, Fennel, and Spinach Pistou is like a flavor explosion in your mouth! Imagine soft and pillowy squash gnocchi baked to perfection, paired with the zing of sun-dried tomatoes, the hint of licorice from fennel, and the freshness of spinach pistou. It’s a dish that’ll make your taste buds dance with joy!


The history of this dish is a tale of culinary innovation and creativity. Gnocchi, a traditional Italian pasta, typically made from potatoes, flour, and eggs, has evolved over the years. The addition of squash to gnocchi recipes is a more recent development, likely inspired by the desire to incorporate more vegetables into Italian cuisine.

Sun-dried tomatoes, on the other hand, have been used for centuries in Mediterranean cooking, particularly in Italian and Southern French dishes. They provide an intense burst of umami flavor and a delightful chewy texture.

Fennel, known for its distinctive anise-like flavor, has been used in Mediterranean cuisine for generations. It adds depth and complexity to this dish.

Spinach pistou, similar to pesto but without the pine nuts, is a bright and herby sauce that brings a fresh contrast to the other rich and savory components.


  1. Squash Gnocchi: Soft and fluffy dumplings made from a mixture of roasted squash, flour, egg, and seasonings.

  2. Sun-dried Tomato: Intensely flavored dried tomatoes that add a sweet and tangy kick.

  3. Fennel: Fresh fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, offering a mild licorice flavor and crisp texture.

  4. Spinach Pistou: A vibrant sauce made from fresh spinach, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings.

Steps to Prepare:

Formal Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Squash Gnocchi: Roast squash until tender, then mash it. Combine with flour, egg, salt, and pepper. Form into small dumplings and score them with a fork. Boil until they float to the surface.

  2. Make the Pistou: Blend spinach, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, salt, and pepper until smooth.

  3. Saute Fennel and Tomatoes: In a pan, sauté fennel and sun-dried tomatoes until they are tender and aromatic.

  4. Combine and Bake: Toss the cooked gnocchi with the sautéed fennel and tomatoes. Place in an ovenproof dish, top with grated Parmesan, and bake until golden and bubbling.

  5. Serve: Drizzle the spinach pistou over the baked dish before serving.

Casual Instructions:

  1. Get Your Gnocchi Game On: Roast some squash, mash it up real nice. Mix it with flour, egg, salt, and pepper. Shape this goodness into little dumplings and give ’em a cute fork pattern. Boil them until they float up to say hello.

  2. Blend Up That Green Goodness: Grab some spinach, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend it all up until it’s smooth like a ninja.

  3. Sizzle the Fennel and Tomato: Take some fennel and sun-dried tomatoes, toss them in a pan, and let them sizzle until they’re all tender and smelling amazing.

  4. Mix and Bake: Now, mix those cooked gnocchi with the fennel-tomato goodness. Put everything in an oven-friendly dish, sprinkle some Parmesan on top, and bake until it’s golden and bubbly.

  5. Finishing Touch: Just before you dig in, be an artist and drizzle that vibrant green spinach pistou all over your creation.

Time Needed to Prepare:

This delightful dish takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to prepare, including prep time, cooking, and baking. It’s a labor of love, but the end result is totally worth it. So, roll up your sleeves, put on your chef’s hat, and get ready for a culinary adventure!

Certainly, here are the approximate nutrition facts and health information for Oven-baked Squash Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomato, Fennel, and Spinach Pistou, based on standard portion sizes:

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: Approximately 400-500 calories per serving (portion size dependent).
  • Protein: Around 10-15 grams per serving.
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 60-70 grams per serving.
  • Dietary Fiber: About 5-8 grams per serving.
  • Total Fat: Roughly 15-20 grams per serving.
  • Saturated Fat: Approximately 4-6 grams per serving.
  • Cholesterol: Typically less than 50 milligrams per serving.
  • Sodium: Around 600-800 milligrams per serving (can vary depending on added salt).
  • Vitamins and Minerals: This dish is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron, thanks to the presence of squash, spinach, and Parmesan cheese.

Health Information:

  1. Rich in Vegetables: This dish is packed with vegetables like squash, spinach, fennel, and sun-dried tomatoes. These ingredients provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, promoting overall health.

  2. Fiber: The inclusion of squash, spinach, and whole-wheat flour in the gnocchi provides dietary fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain a feeling of fullness.

  3. Healthy Fats: While there is some fat in the dish, it mainly comes from olive oil and Parmesan cheese, which are sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

  4. Moderate Calories: The calorie content falls within a moderate range for a meal, making it suitable for most diets when consumed in appropriate portions.

  5. Protein: Gnocchi contains a small amount of protein, and the Parmesan cheese contributes additional protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair and overall body function.

  6. Sodium Awareness: Be mindful of the sodium content, especially if you have high blood pressure or are watching your salt intake. Adjust the amount of added salt to suit your dietary needs.

  7. Nutrient Density: This dish offers a good balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), making it a nutritious choice.

As with any dish, portion control and individual dietary considerations are important. Adjust ingredient quantities to meet your specific nutritional needs and preferences. Enjoy this flavorful meal as part of a balanced diet for a delightful and wholesome dining experience.

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