I’m a HUGE fan of Italian food. Seriously, I can’t get enough of it – Bolognese, lasagne, stuffed cannelloni, you name it, I love it.
But sometimes I’m in the mood for Italian food, but not pasta.
What’s a girl to do?
I’ll tell you what! Make sweet potato and spinach gnocci!
Seriously, it’s one of the simplest recipes ever and it’s not only quick to make, but ultra-quick to cook. And it’s a little healthier than plain old pasta, even if you use the wholewheat kind. It only has three ingredients (or five, if you like to season it with salt and pepper) and it’s pretty much impossible to get it wrong – it’s fool proof and guaranteed to work every time. Plus it’s a tasty way to get your kids to eat spinach if they won’t have it on their plates! I’ve even persuaded Tadpole to eat this on several occasions (although he’s “off” it at the moment – shame!).
- Sweet potato
- Wholewheat flour
- Optional: Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the sweet potato in its skin (prick it and wet it first, then pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, turning it over half way through), then set it aside to cool a little.
- Lightly steam or blanch several handfuls of fresh spinach (or use a few little nuggets of the frozen kind – let it completely defrost first and squeeze out excess water before use).
- Cut open the sweet potato and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.
- Mash the sweet potato with a fork and stir in the spinach.
- Add a little whole wheat flour at a time and mix well with your hands till you have a slightly soft dough that’s not too sticky, but still holds itself together easily.
- Roll into walnut-sized balls, or roll into an inch-thick sausage and cut off inch-wide chunks.
- Lightly flour a plate to pop the gnocci on so it doesn’t stick together and then pop it in the fridge to firm till you need to use it (or use immediately if you want).
- Drop the gnocci into boiling water – when it rises (just a few minutes) it is ready to serve.
You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned amounts. This is because it will vary depending on how big or small your sweet potato is. One medium-sized sweet potato (about the size of my fist) and a few handfuls of spinach, with enough flour to make it into a dough will make enough gnocci for two adults. If you use a larger sweet potato, you’ll need extra spinach and more flour.
One it’s cooked you can toss it in with whatever sauce you’re using – it’s fabulous with Bolognese – and serve. Once it’s cooked and in the sauce, it freezes well. Just defrost your meal, cover with tin foil, and whack it in the oven to re-heat. Maybe with a little cheese melting on top. Whatever you fancy.
It’s an entirely vegan recipe and if you substitute a gluten-free flour (I’ve never tried this, but I’m sure you could) it’s gluten-free too. It’s a bit tastier than regular plain potato gnocci and a bit better for you too, with the addition of the spinach for extra kick.
I hope you’ll try this recipe ad let me know what you think of it. It really couldn’t be simpler and it only takes about 10 minutes to make it and another couple to cook, so it’s one of the quickest things ever to make for dinner!