Gnocchi, sausage, and kale cook with a homemade tomato sauce in this simple & hearty slow cooker or Instant Pot recipe.
Updated 2019 with Instant Pot instructions
Gnocchi is an small dumpling made from potato, semolina, or flour. This recipe was made to use ready-made gnocchi whether it be dried, frozen, for fresh. I tend to use dried gnocchi with this recipe. You can usually find dried gnocchi in the pasta section of the grocery store. If you use dried gnocchi, rinse it before you add it to the slow cooker or pressure cooker.
What Type Of Sausage To Use
I used a generic brand of a mild ground Italian sausage. Get creative! You can use sliced smoked sausage, chorizo, or even ground meat. Yes, you can substitute your preferred ground meat for the sausage whether it be ground beef, turkey, pork, or sausage.
Brown The Meat First
Do you need to saute the ground sausage before adding it to the slow cooker? I recommend you do. I tend to always brown my sausage before slow cooking so I can drain the grease before adding it to the slow cooker. Using the pressure cooker (Instant Pot) makes this step easy because you can saute directly in the base. If you’re using a very lean ground sausage, you will find that you might not need to do this step.
Need an Italian seasoning? Use this homemade one:
Adding The Kale
For the slow cooker, I like to make this a true set-it-and-forget-it recipe so I add the kale along with rest of the ingredients at the beginning of cook time. For the Instant Pot, it’s added at the end when you turn the pressure cooker to saute. If you’re using the slow cooker, I know it might not look like there’s enough sauce to properly cook the gnocchi when you first put everything in the slow cooker but trust me, it is. I try to pat down the kale and gnocchi so they’re both as fully covered in sauce as they can be.
Other comfort food recipes you might enjoy:
- 1 pound ground sausage
- 16 ounces ready-made or frozen gnocchi
- 1 cup fresh kale, chopped
- 28 ounces diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 1/3 cup onion, diced OR 1 tbsp dried onion flakes.
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1–2 garlic cloves, minced (depends on how much you like garlic)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (see blog post for homemade blend)
- 1 tsp salt (more or less depending on your taste/diet)
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage & cook until browned. Drain the excess grease before adding the sausage to the slow cooker.
- Add sausage and all the ingredients EXCEPT the gnocchi & kale to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 2-4, LOW 4-6.
- Stir in gnocchi & kale and cook and additional 15-30 minutes or until gnocchi is done & kale is tender.
- Set Instant Pot to the high saute setting. Once hot, add ground sausage, onion, & bell pepper and cook 3-5 minutes, crumbling the sausage as it cooks. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Drain excess fat from the pressure cooker if needed.
- Pour in tomatoes & broth and deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker by scraping all the bits off with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in gnocchi, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
- Close and seal vent. Select manual setting and set time for 4 minutes. When done, natural release pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure.
- Stir in kale and let cook on the warm setting for 5-7 minutes OR an also turn off the pressure cooker and close the lid to cook the kale.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive money if you make a purchase using one of the links. For more about my disclosure policy see here: https://fitslowcookerqueen.com/about/disclosure-policy/