Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach


Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach is full of filling, savory goodness.


It’s Trader Joe’s Tuesday! Gee, Trader Joe’s Night keeps coming a day earlier and earlier each week, doesn’t it?! ;) On tonight’s menu: Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach.

As you know, I HEART gnocchi. Homemade, store-bought, fresh from a Roman trattoria… You got it, I’ll eat it.


A reader sent me a recipe for gnocchi & sausage a couple weeks ago, and I thought this would be perfect for it!


(It’s too bad store-bought gnocchi is so unfortunate looking, right?!)


These babies cooked up similar to most other gnocchi – a few minutes in the hot tub is all it takes.


Meanwhile, in a skillet next door, I sautéed a shallot in some olive oil until they were tender.


After the shallots were browned, I added 3 Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Chicken Sausages, removed from their casings.


TJ’s has an awesome variety of chicken sausages. I’m in love with their Spicy Italian Wine & Cheese Chicken Sausage but, in the spirit of trying something new, I went for this summer-inspired flavor.


Check out the ingredient list! True, they don’t list WHAT part of the chicken’s in there, but at least I know there’s no random, crazy fillers.


I also added in some fresh chopped garlic. The smell was incredible!


When the sausage was cooked, I added in 4 cups of baby spinach and let it wilt down for a couple minutes.

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Finally, I added in the cooked and drained gnocchi, parmesan cheese, some reserved gnocchi cooking water and a wee bit more olive oil.

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Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach

Serves 4


Whole-Wheat Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach is full of filling, savory goodness.


  • 1 package pre-made whole-wheat gnocchi (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup reserved gnocchi cooking water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 3 links sun-dried tomato & basil chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese


  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water before draining.
  2. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallots until they begin to soften, ~3-4 minutes. Add chicken sausage and garlic. Break up sausage and sauté until cooked through. Add in baby spinach, toss and continue to cook until spinach is wilted.
  3. Add cooked gnocchi into the skillet with the sausage and spinach, top with parmesan cheese, the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and the reserved cooking water. Mix together.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


Great textures and flavors! While I’ll say that I liked the Spicy Italian Wine & Cheese Chicken Sausage a bit better – this sun-dried tomato & basil sausage was bursting with sweet flavor. Plus it had big chunks of sun-dried tomato in it that I just loved.


The whole-wheat gnocchi?? AWESOME. You could see the “whole wheat” in there, and the texture was very firm. MUCH firmer than the frozen sweet potato gnocchi – FTW.


On the side I broiled up some parmesan garlic bread.


You know it’s my fave! Just a slice of bread smeared with a little butter then topped with parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Popped under the broiler until golden brown. You’ll want 60 pieces.


Quick, hide the loaf.


Ok – who made the grade:

Trader Joe’s Whole-Wheat Gnocchi: 10/10. Loved them. Would eat them everyday.

Trader Joe’s Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Chicken Sausage: 6/10. I got a few “gamey” tasting bites, since I’m pretty sure it’s not all white-meat chicken in there, but overall the seasoning was terrific and slightly sweet from the sun-dried tomatoes. I might take the flavors and make my own SDT&B chicken burgers!

Ben gave the meal a 10/10. “mmmMMMM. I really like this! You don’t need any of the leftovers, do you? Sorry, that was selfish…

Have a great night!

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  1. Sara 02.22.2011

    That looks good! I made a pasta bake with Italian sausage tonight… wish we had a Trader Joe’s close-by so I could get the chicken sausage. Much healthier than the Johnsonville! Ahh… such is life. Love your recipes.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.22.2011

      Thanks Sara! I’ve seen a lot more low-ingredient sausages in the regular grocery store lately too. Might be worth a check if you don’t have a TJ’s nearby!

  2. Molly 02.22.2011

    I need to eat more gnocci. I loved it as a kid, and I just never seem to make as much anymore. And it’s too damn easy not to!

  3. Every time that I try to make that bread, I always burn it. :( My broiler hates me. It burns EVERYTHING. Even if it’s under it for two seconds.
    This is saddening.

  4. Amber 02.22.2011

    YUM! That gnocci is one of my faves from TJ’s – we have it weekly. I will have to try your recipe.

  5. Sara 02.22.2011

    That looks awesome!!! I think I might have to make the road trip to TJ’s to pick some up.

    I’m experimenting with cooking meat inside puff pastry (I’ve never done it) I’m making chicken in puff pastry with a garlic herb sauce. Hope it turns out ok :)

    As far as phobias go I’m also deathly afraid of spiders….and it freaks me out because I also seem to attract spiders (weird) My garage looked like a scene from arachnophobia this past summer when no one else in my complex was affected. I refused to park in it until they came and sprayed….it took two rounds of spraying to kill them all…and after that was said and done they started appearing in my car! I almost got into an accident because a huge whopper of a spider dropped down right in front of my face.
    So we bug bombed my car.

    It doesn’t help that my fiance is dealthly afraid of spiders as well. But when our porch became infested a couple years ago he sucked it up and “kissed me goodbye” and went out there armed with two cans of raid and a broom and took care of it. Love him :)

    Off topic, but I’ve been trying to convince him that the Amalfi coast would be a great place for our honeymoon after reading about your trip, anything that you can think of to help me sway him?


  6. Another Kristin in Iowa 02.22.2011

    OMG that looks awesome. I’ve never actually had gnocchi. I need to make it sometime this week.

    For phobias I’m deathly afraid of heights. I go into full panic attack mode. I cannot go into the upper levels of stadiums, the Well, or Hilton. I start shaking and having issues breathing.

  7. Lauren 02.22.2011

    The same thing happened to me when I witnessed the accident a few weeks ago. It took a good week or two for me to be able to be comfortable behind the wheel. I kept thinking someone was going to crash into me. It’s totally normal and it will go away in a few days, I promise! :)

  8. Haha, I saw that creepy ‘pillar pic as I was finishing my dinner. Gross!

  9. I used to be realllllly scared of thunderstorms. When I was little, I would sneak into my parents room, and they would find me in the morning asleep on their floor!

  10. this looks great! one of my phobias is someone breaking into my house at night (i always make my husband get up and double check that the doors are locked unless i personally checked before getting in bed) or fires at night/when i’m away for the day (so i have a routine of of checking the stove, oven, hair straightener, etc. to make sure they’re off before leaving everyday). maybe i’m slightly crazy….or paranoid….

  11. The Gnocchi looks fabulous! I have a phobia of vomit, well, mostly the action of other people vomiting. SO GROSS!

  12. wow that recipe looks great! We had a Trader Joe’s night tonight too, and yes we seem to have a lot more of them lately!

  13. I’m so darn afraid of snakes – eek!

    Love the Trader Joe’s meal tonight – it looks like a winner!

  14. “I didn’t want to post it because of its similarity to the gnocchi, but…”

    Hahahaha you crack me up!

  15. I hate hate hate spiders. Last year I had an unfortunate apartment experience in which I moved in to a brand new renovated apartment. Come to find out our first night there, that it was infested with spiders!!!UGGHHH! It was awful. People came and sprayed 3 times and it had no effect! I am shuddering even while writing this. Needless to say we got the heck out of there!

  16. I am deathly afraid of spiders, too! Seriously, I once stayed downstairs in my townhouse for 5 hours until my bf came to kill a spider that was on the staircase…sad, true story :-P

    Also, I’m very afraid of falling/heights…so I’m the obnoxious person at an airport/metro station who has to take the elevator every time there are escalators..which is all the time. So, roller coasters are definitely out!

  17. McKinzie 02.22.2011

    I had to comment because (a) I ran to TJ’s today and thought of you everytime I came accross something you and Ben had tried, (b) I also picked up some Charles Shaw wine while I was there and have a glass next to me right now :), and (c) I made your Chicken & Bacon Potato Chowder tonight for my roommate and I and we both agree it was FABULOUS! Thanks!!!!

    As for Phobias – I am DEATHLY afraid of centipedes. I think it has to do with the legs.

  18. Danielle in CR 02.22.2011

    Had gnocchi for the first time on our special VD dinner :) so I Googled it of course! The one we had was the potato kind. Is the pasta kind better?

  19. Emily 02.22.2011

    Okay, so rookie question, but I never had it before so I honestly don’t know. What is gnocchi actually? Clearly it’s like a pasta, but is there a filling in it?!?!?!!!

  20. Eve P 02.22.2011

    Snakes are my phobia. I seriously get light-headed and dizzy by seeing an unexpected picture of them in a book or on TV. The room I student taught in had a poster of a snake on the wall. I would hardly ever teach in the front of the room because I was afraid I would pass out.

  21. Jessica 02.22.2011

    Normally I don’t comment on the blogs I read but I really felt strongly on this one. In my opinion it’s COMPLETELY normal for you to be as nervous as you are. Two years ago I was in a car accident and haven’t been the same since. Unfortunately my car was totaled but I was lucky not to be hurt. I don’t know what it is but ever since then I have seen COUNTLESS car accidents. I either see them happen, or am the first on the scene. I started getting panic attacks more regularly and talked it out with a therapist I see. One thing that stood out in your post was that you knew what to do! To me I find comfort in that. Your first instinct was to jump out and help (you have no idea what you could have encountered)! Thats how I am. You know what to do and I give you props for that. Take it easy driving, be cautious and let people beep at you! I make fun of myself that I now drive “like an old lady!” Be safe and know you had the best intentions and you know in a high crisis situation how you will react!

  22. Renee 02.22.2011

    Witnessing a bad car accident is traumatic and you may feel anxious for several weeks, but it will eventually get better. But is has been my experience that the older I get the more I fear on the street. I hate fast driving (my husband), I am not comfortable on interstates because everyone seems to be going 90 or more and I have become a big fan of taking back roads where the speed limit is 45! I am phobic about bridges. Especially the really high ones over water! I almost have a full blown panic attack and I will go several miles out of my way to avoid them. I have thought about your doughnuts several times today! So pretty and they looked so tasty!!!

  23. Rachel 02.22.2011

    My husband & I narrowly avoided an accident this morning, so I understand your shakiness–I couldn’t calm down until lunch time! A couple years ago I totaled my car & was too scared to drive myself for about a month.

    As for phobias, spiders don’t really bother me that much, unless they’re especially large. When it comes to bugs, things that fly freak me out more. I’m also terrified of heights (I get nervous on step ladders), deep water (I can’t swim), and I’m claustrophobic.

  24. I need to try gnocchi!! Growing up, my parents would make garlic bread all the time under the broiler like you do!

  25. anna 02.22.2011

    Let them honk all they want – you’re just being safe. Your nerves will calm down over time. I’ve been in a couple accidents and it’s always like that at first. Learn from other people’s mistakes!

  26. Mac 02.22.2011

    I absolutely cannot handle thinking about spiders… and I have this fear of my house burning down and having to start from ground zero. I’m not sure how people who have had this happen to them cope!

  27. Meagan 02.22.2011

    That gnocchi dish look delicious! I wish we had a Trader Joe’s where I live. The closest one to me is 347 miles away! :(

    I have emetophobia and I’ve had it since I was a child. It really sucks.

  28. krista 02.22.2011

    Spiders are okay, but there’s this weird bug that comes up through the bathtub drains and looks like a centipede with huge legs. *shudders* I saw one in the bathroom at home once on the wall, 11 pm, screamed bloody murder. My parents woke up and ran in thinking I was being attacked or something :P

    One of my friends totalled her car over Thanksgiving, hydroplaning into the back of one of her friends’ cars. :\ It stunk, but it was time to let that car go anyway :P Being from a very small town, I’m terrified of driving in high traffic areas, so I try not to as much as I can.

  29. AmyLou 02.23.2011

    Your bread looks yummy!! The gnocchi shape. . . um, yeah. Not so much.

    Driving is always an issue for me, I have major nerve problems about it. I won’t go into the how or why, but if I’m feeling anxious about anything, it manifests itself as a serious paranoia about driving. My hubby sometimes threatens to send me to therapy, which I may end up having to do someday. The only advice I have is that A) obey all traffic rules and be a defensive driver and B) realize that accidents will happen, even to the most conscientious driver, so try not to worry about what you cannot control. And if it makes you feel better. . . sometimes I sit through “turn right on red” light intersections, because you know what? There’s no law saying you HAVE to turn right on red, and frankly, sometimes it’s safer not to when traffic is heavy.

    I hope that helps!

  30. Anna @ ciaotochow 02.23.2011

    This recipe looks great, Kristin! I am a HUGE fan of gnocchi, and my sister & I always attempt to try different kinds when we’re together in the kitchen. Our past efforts have included red pepper gnocchi (5/10) and pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter (7.5/10). Can’t wait to try this one next!

  31. I have no advice for you because I’ve always hated driving (and being in the car in general). It makes me nervous because I’m afraid someone else is going to hit me or that one of my tires is going to explode and I’m going to careen into a tree or something. I’m sort of neurotic overall, but driving is probably my worst thing. I never panic when I’m behind the wheel, but worst case scenarios are always on my mind! If I believed in reincarnation I’d be convinced that I died in a car accident in a past life. I think that since you weren’t nervous before, you will eventually feel normal behind the wheel again, it will just take time.

  32. Kristen 02.23.2011

    Hey Kristin…with an “i,” it’s good to see that there is a good place to get a decent sausage. I’m in Spain (where the sausage selection is muy bien) but am moving back to the states in July and it’s nice to know I can get a good ol’ greasy sausage somewhere! Now, I just need to move by a Trader Joe´s!
    P.S. a friend referred me to your site yesterday! Love it :)

  33. I’m terrified of birds. I screamed in the Subway parking lot this weekend because one flew out from under the front wheel as I was getting into my car. I think they know I’m afraid of them and do things like that just to make me look like a fool :)

  34. I love the Livestrong site. It is an awesome resource! I am deathly afraid of clowns and bees. An outdoor circus in the springtime would pretty much be my nightmare. ;) Don’t worry about being nervous behind the wheel. I am sure it is totally normal after witnessing such a traumatic event. In a way, it is a good thing because it will make you more aware, and as time goes on, the fear will subside.

  35. Hope 02.23.2011

    You dinner looks incredible! So good!! I totally need to try gnocchi from TJ! It looks too good to pass up.

    I can definitely relate to being scared to drive. I was in a really bad car accident two years ago. It wasn’t my fault, it was the other driver. My car was hit really badly, the airbags opened up, and all that. I was SO afraid to drive for such a long time. I still get scared to drive. I just try and tell myself to breathe, and relax. I stay focused and aware of my surroundings. I drive defensively. I anticipate that someone is going to do something so I take my time and stop when I need to. That helps a bit. As time goes by, you will won’t be as scared anymore. It does get easier, I promise. :)

  36. Teresa 02.23.2011

    I got into a fender bender this summer at an intersection I drive through every day on my way to work. Now I’m extra cautious at that intersection and make sure I don’t ‘turn on red’ until the traffic is absolutely clear — which I’m sure annoys the cars behind me. But I’m looking out for their safety, too.

  37. Mimi 02.23.2011

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have one of the strangest, worst-to-have phobias ever: I am terrified of KETCHUP. Seriously.

    It’s not like I just dislike it — I refuse to touch it/come within close distance of it.

    P.S. I like how specific TJ’s is the with the gnocchi calorie count. 248? Haha…

  38. Amy 02.23.2011

    I can handle spiders with no problem, but snakes – no way. And it’s basically a wholly irrational fear as I’ve hardly ever seen a snake just out slithering around, but they really give me the willies.

  39. Mellissa 02.23.2011

    I have the same spider fear, I go running and screaming when I see one.

  40. My phobia is always fearing something bad will happen to someone, which has only been increased since having kids … if something is left on the stairs I imagine someone slipping on it and breaking their neck … if a knife is left on the counter I imagine someone getting hurt … if the tub isn’t fully drained I imagine someone will fall in and, you know … etc. etc.

  41. AnneWF 02.23.2011

    Black crickets. I can’t stand them. They totally freak me out. I like to look at spiders. Don’t want to touch, just to look. Crabs are fun to watch but have you ever seen a horseshoe crab when it is upside down? Yikes!

  42. Eehhhk, I don’t like anything that crawls. Especially possums, they freak me out. Why the heck are they hissing and scurrying around by the road? Ehhhhkkkk.

  43. Natalie 02.23.2011

    The gnocchi looks delicious! I’ll have to try it sometime! I love the wine & cheese sausage too at TJs… but I’ll know maybe to skip the Sundried and basil :)

  44. joe 02.23.2011

    Sounds to me like you’re being a SAFE driver. I am amazed at the increasing frequency of seeing people just plain blow through red lights. I call it the ‘Chicago Effect’ after the way I’ve seen Chicagoans exercise their birthright to be the third car allowed to go through a left-turn arrow after it has gone red. I always anticipate idiocy. It has kept me accident-free for the 30 years I’ve been driving. I always scan alleyways, streets, driveways, the far side of parked cars to SEE if there is anything, anyone going to pop out unexpectedly. And ALWAYS slow down when going through blind intersections, even on Green. Getting T-boned on your blind-side, you’re not going to feel any better if you were in the right.
    And always exercise PATIENCE. It IS a virtue. I believe in patience karma – that by waiting patiently when it doesn’t matter, you will be rewarded with less waiting when it does. An older lady taking her sweet time backing out of the driveway and then driving 10 mph and backing up a line of six cars for five blocks – deep breath. This too will pass.

  45. Cass 02.23.2011

    i can handle anything, ANYTHING, but spiders. mice, snakes, rodents, insects, all fine. the one and only thing i detest about spring/summer and where i live is that our wooded yard is infested with spiders. i absolutely cannot handle them in my house. YUCK.

  46. Norma 02.23.2011

    I have never tried gnocchi. But It seems as everything you cook is so good. I don’t have enough days in the week to try all your recipes.

    As far as my Phobia!! OMG i have to say needles!! I hate them! I hate looking at them, thinking about them. I hate them. I work with nurses and when I got the job I do now I had to get 5 shots. Well it took 3 of my coworkers to hold me down. They had to give me shots in 3 different time sets. I would kick them bite them and cry. Yes I know shameful but I HATE them. I almost cried just thinking of them now.

  47. Stefanie 02.23.2011

    So glad these gnocchi were not as mushy as the sweet potato as I was wanting to try more of TJ’s gnocchi but didn’t want mushy whole wheat gnocchi. Even though I love the texture of the sweet potato stuff, something about mushy wheat gnocchi just won’t do ( I know I’m weird). My phobia is birds, seriously! The smaller the bird the bigger the fear, which is ironic because I’ve never heard of someone being killed by a sparrow or a finch, but a vulture could do some serious damage and I’m not as worried about those. I’m cool with ducks and swans and of course penguins (the cutest animal ever) but sparrows scare the hell out of me. The family joke is my mom watched Alfred Hitchcock’s the Bird’s while pregnant.

  48. Lori 02.23.2011

    Others are spot on when they say that time will help you feel less anxious behind the wheel. I was in an accident on winter roads a few years ago and became sooo anxious whenever it snowed. I live in MN and drive 20 miles to work so there was no way around having to drive in snow. It took a few winters but finally, this year I have noticed much less anxiety on snowy/slippery roads. I definitely drive a lot slower and I don’t care!

    Spiders are a common phobia here! I have the same. I can finally kill a spider now if it is on the floor. No way do I try to get one off the wall or ceiling because they love to drop! I am beside myself when I see a centipede and can never, ever go near them.

  49. jen 02.23.2011

    I’m terrified of ostriches…yes, I’m a weirdo. They’re just creepy, and they’ll peck your eyeballs out! ;)

  50. Michelle 02.23.2011

    I always wait a few seconds once the light turns green. I don’t care about the impatient drivers behind me. Drivers here are insane!

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