Butternut Squash Gnocchi

with buttery garlic sauce, basil, and Parm

Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’re somehow reading this and aren’t yet subscribed, be sure to do so below. You can expect recipes in your inbox every Tuesday, and paid subscribers receive even more every Thursday!


Can I be honest?

My emotions all over the place. On the one hand, I’m feeling SO happy that my social life is feeling vibrant again. We’ve had concerts, and birthdays, and weddings, and the more time goes on, the more I can feel myself falling back into my pre-covid routine. I am very fulfilled by this part of my life returning.

However, I have been feeling pretty down and frustrated when it comes to work. I know a lot of it is in my head, but I think part of it has to do with joining TikTok and also feeling like this holiday season has been abnormally slow for me partnership-wise when it is usually my busiest time of year. This scares me about where my Instagram-centric career is headed.

I started my blog in 2012 when I was just 21-years-old and still in college. The word “influencer” didn’t exist yet. I had no idea making money off of Instagram was even an option. I didn’t have a social strategy. I just posted and had fun. I grew slowly, but I really blew up about 5 years later. Right now, I’m feeling nostalgic for those low-pressure days.

I’ve turned food blogging into a career, and I am proud of it, and I enjoy it most aspects of it. But as everything starts moving over to TikTok, I’m scared and feeling down on myself. It feels weird to be on the other side again, trying to grow on a platform that I don’t really understand and feeling so behind. Part of me feels like it’s my own fault for waiting so long, and the other part knows I just need to keep at it, be patient, and be open to learning. But in my darkest moments, I keep feeling like maybe I won’t be good enough and that I’m not cut out for this career anymore.

When I got my first cookbook deal at 24-years-old, I remember wondering to myself if it was going to haunt me later that I had reached a big milestone like that at such a young age. Most of the time it doesn’t, but lately, as I’m trying to set new goals for myself and reach new accomplishments, I find myself trying to find the line between always wanting more and “motivating myself.” Sometimes it’s hard to decipher between the two. Am I losing sight of how far I’ve come, or am I just protecting myself as a businesswoman? I like to think it’s a combination of both.

Anyway, all this to say, I’m trying to remind myself that my worth is not defined by metrics or attention, and even though social media is the vessel in which I share my art, the part I enjoy the most is the creative process. That is what I need to be focusing on: the excitement I get when I come up with a new recipe, the thrill of watching someone else recreate it, the joy of cooking for friends and being able to spend time with them again! Those are the aspects that matter to me. Those are the things I’m going to carry with me throughout life. The rest will follow.


I LOVE THIS GNOCCHI (although I hope that rude chef in my comments yesterday doesn’t slaughter me for creating an Italian-inspired recipe that’s not authentic. Lol. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, peep my story from last night).

The gnocchi itself is made with just butternut squash and flour, which means you can still eat it if you’re plant-based (just don’t use my butter sauce). I tossed it in a simple mix of butter, garlic, and basil, and then topped it off with some Parmesan cheese.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup pureed butternut squash (about 1 small/medium squash, peeled, diced and roasted with olive oil for 45 min at 400 F, then blended in a food processor or blender)

  • 1 3/4 cup flour (start with 1/2 at a time)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped basil

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or sharp white cheddar

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating up, add the butternut squash puree to a bowl. Mix in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until a malleable dough forms (I used 1 3/4 cup). Flour your work surface, and then knead the dough for a minute or two until a smooth dough forms. Roll out the dough until it’s about 1 inch thick, and cut into 1 inch strips (this video is helpful). Then cut those strips into 1-inch gnocchi pieces. Using a fork, roll the gnocchi over the grooves of the fork to create the little lines that help catch the sauce (here’s another helpful video).

2. When the water is boiling, add the gnocchi, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the gnocchi rises to the top. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and when gnocchi is ready, remove with a slotted spoon, and place on the baking sheet.

3. In a large pan, heat up butter on medium heat. Add garlic, and cook for a minute, then slightly lower the heat. Add the gnocchi and mix in the fresh basil, making sure the butter coats the gnocchi. Transfer to a bowl and top with cheese and black pepper.


This week’s “bonus recipe” was actually a 3-in-one: Spicy Red Pesto, Sage Pistachio Pesto, and Za’atar Lemon Pesto! We’ve been using them all week.

good mood food
Winter Pesto Trio
I love pesto, and there is so much you can do with the sauce. A traditional pesto usually has basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese, but working with those ingredients as a base, you can make a ton of swaps to play around with flavors tailored to the dish you are making. The combinations are endless…
Read more

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