Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto-a simple casserole of potato gnocchi, sausage, kale, basil pesto, and lots of cheese! 

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto Recipe

Our boys are pretty good eaters and will usually eat whatever we fix, but we do have the occasional tears at dinnertime. It is usually when they are tired or don’t want to stop playing. You win some and you lose some.

We always win at dinnertime when we make Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto. My boys love this recipe, Josh included! I know there will never be tears shed when I make this dish, well, maybe tears of joy:)

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto Recipe

Caleb likes to help me make dinner and every time I ask him what we should make he says gnocchi or sausage. They are his favorite foods. I decided to make a baked gnocchi dish with his favorite ingredients and it has become a favorite with all of my boys.

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto Recipe

I always use store bought gnocchi to keep things easy. I also use Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Sausage, my boys favorite sausage. We always keep a few packages in the freezer so we never run out! My boys eat this sausage morning, noon, and night and they love it in this baked gnocchi dish.

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto Recipe

I also add kale to the pasta, you know so I can sneak in some greens into my boys diet…and basil pesto for flavor. I like to use our spinach pesto because I always have some in the freezer. It always comes in handy! And of course the gnocchi gets loaded with lots of cheese!

Bake until bubbly and serve!! There will be smiles all around when this is comforting dish is on the dinner table!

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto

Add this simple and delicious Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto to your dinner menu! It is great for busy weeknights or easy entertaining. Enjoy!

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto Recipe

Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto

This simple baked gnocchi dish is great for busy weeknights or easy entertaining.
4.41 from 5 votes


  • 1 pound package of potato gnocchi
  • 10 ounces Jimmy Dean® Premium Pork Regular Roll Sausage
  • 4 cups packed chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently; drain and set aside. Place skillet back on the heat and cook the kale for 5 minutes, or until tender. Pour sausage back in the skillet.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour until mixture thickens. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the pesto and ½ cup of the cheese. Whisk until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Combine the gnocchi, sausage, and kale and pour into prepared pan. Pour the sauce evenly over gnocchi. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and gnocchi is bubbling. Let sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Have you tried this recipe?

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Disclosure-this post is sponsored by Jimmy Dean, but our opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that continue to make Two Peas and Their Pod possible. 

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I get their struggle, I have tears of joy myself right now just looking at this AMAZINGNESS! What a perfect way to get them their greens. 🙂

  2. This looks amazing! Caleb and I have similar tastes – gnocchi + sausage = happiness! Definitely adding this to the menu this week.

    1. I haven’t tried it because my boys always gobble it up, but I am sure it would freeze just fine. Cool completely and freeze in a freezer safe container.

  3. This has me needing to make this ASAP and might have to use Italian sausage instead…. Love your pan you baked  this in. So homey looking! Love it!

  4. Mine is in the oven right now. My pesto bechamel is a lot greener than your photos. However, it tastes really good! It’s a really good combination of flavors. 

  5. I am so excited!   I am making this right now.   I doubled the recipe and used fresh spinach instead of Kale.  It smells so good, and my teenage boys will love it!   Thanks Maria.  : )

  6. Thanks for sharing 🙂 I think I will give it a shot this weekend, but for a semi-healthy January twist I’ll make it with handmade sweet potato gnocchi (no kiddies yet so a bit more prep-time in my life!!) Looks so good, can’t wait to try! x 

  7. I mistakenly bought basil pesto cream sauce but I improvised and this dish turned out amazing!!!! Creamier and cheesy! Also bought Italian sausage to add a little kick to it. YUM!!!

  8. I’m hoping to make this tomorrow so I can have it ready after our day trip on thursday, it’ll be okay to keep in the fridge before baking right? or would you suggest part-baking it? I’m so excited, it looks incredible 🙂

  9. I would love to make this.  What brand of gnocchi do you buy? I have yet to find a brand that I truly like. Thanks for your input! Love your family friendly meals!

  10. I’m finally sitting down to plan our menu plan for March. This is definitely going on the plan! Especially since my husband has recently discovered his love of kale. 😉

  11. I don’t usually comment on stuff, but I HAD to comment on this. This is my second time making this, and I’m making it again tomorrow for a lady who just had surgery. It is literally my FAVORITE dish omg! The first time I made it, the pan was gone in one day. I LOVE this stuff! Best. Recipe. Ever. There’s also so many different things you could do with it, but it’s absolutely PERFECT as is!!

  12. I made this, and used whole wheat gnocchi it was soooooo good.  I’m making it again this week. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  13. I have this in the oven now. 
    When I was making the sauce–the rue came together nicely.  When I put the “cheese” in, I assumed this meant the mozzarella since the recipe wasn’t specific if it was both the parm and the mozzarella. The sauce kind of seized up when I put the mozzarella in..?  It turned into almost glue-y consistency. I still put it altogether into my casserole dish and am baking it anyway. Anyone else experienced this and/or give me advice on where I went wrong?  Or if that’s how the sauce supposed to look?

    1. Hi Mai,

      I put the mozerella in and some of the parmesan in at this point and it also went a bit gooey, I added some more milk and even though it seemed a little elastic, when it came out of the oven, it was divine!

      Seeing as you wrote this so long ago, I’m sure you know how yummy it was!


  14. I substituted mushrooms for the sausage (we’re veg and my girls love mushrooms) and added fresh rosemary I had lying around. Divine!

  15. This was INCREDIBLY disappointing if you want to drown your dinner in cheese sauce be my guest, you can’t even taste the other ingredients in the recipe. 

  16. My teen boys LOVED this dinner!  It will now be part of the regular dinner rotation.  Thanks for a delicious way to get kale into our diet.

  17. I made this tonight and it was delicious! The only thing I did different was us 16 oz of sausage instead of 10 oz. Thank you for the amazing recipe! We loved it!

  18. OK, honestly, this is one of the most delicious pasta dishes I have ever made!

    Thank you SO much for this recipe! I found it on pinterest, made it last night here in Hong Kong (the ingredients meant that it was something of a special dish because gnocchi and sausages are hard to come by!) and I’m still thinking about it!

    Can’t wait to make it again and now I’m going to see what else you have on your blog!


    Dreaming of gnocchi x

  19. Could I make this the day before and cover it with foil in the fridge? I am having a party and need to make several dishes the night before

    1. I don’t like mushrooms. I saw a previous post about someone who used mushrooms instead of sausage. 

    1. Hi! This looks delicious!!
      Do you have any suggestions as to what to serve with this? I was thinking a side salad and garlic bread. What do you serve with it? Any side dishes?
      I plan to make this ahead for a dinner tomorrow night with our son, his wife and daughter.
      Thank you,

    2. A salad and garlic bread would be perfect. Search our site for easy green salad and garlic bread! Both are easy! Enjoy!

  20. 5 stars
    I’m late to the party with this recipe but made it tonight for the first time. Oh my goodness, it was so delicious! My husband (who is not a gnocchi lover) couldn’t stop raving about how good it was. It’ll definitely go into rotation for winter. Can’t recommend enough!

  21. 5 stars
    We’ve made this numerous times and it’s a favorite in our house! I forgot to buy mozzarella the most recent time I made it, so I added 1/2 cup of Parmesan to the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan to the top of the dish. I didn’t even miss the mozzarella, so I’m going to omit it in the future as well to save some calories. Yummy either way!

  22. 5 stars
    I surprised my picky husband with this recipe tonight. He absolutely loved it. I used a different sausage that was made from pork and chicken. ~

  23. 2 stars
    I made this tonight. My husband thought it tasted very strong. Perhaps it was the baby kale. I thought it was ok, but made a huge amount of dirty dishes–three pots–for a result that does not look or taste like the amount of effort. For other cooks, if you drain the sausage and kale on paper towels, you can wipe out the skillet and use it to make the cream sauce. That way you only have the skillet and the pasta pot for washing up.