An Italian classic, these small, soft and plump gnocchi dumplings actually originate from the Middle East. They are formed from starchy dough that can be made from a variety of ingredients. This spinach and potato combo is low in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. It is a good source of vitamin A and also contains folate which helps form red blood cells.
500g floury potatoes (floury potatoes have a fluffy, dry texture that makes great mash. Use varieties such as Desiree, King Edward and Maris Piper)
300g fresh spinach
175g plain flour
½ x 5ml spoon ground OR grated nutmeg
25g reduced-fat Cheddar cheese OR Parmesan cheese
Black pepper (optional)
Large saucepan x 2
Fork or potato masher
Large mixing bowl
Large plate x 2
- Transfer them to a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in the colander.
- Return the potatoes to the pan and mash with a fork or potato masher, until smooth and fluffy.
- Wash the spinach in a colander. Transfer to a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook with the lid on for 3–4 minutes until softened.
- Drain the spinach in a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the moisture, transfer to a chopping board and chop finely.
- Sieve the flour into the mixing bowl. Add the chopped spinach, mashed potato and grated nutmeg.
- Break the egg into the bowl and combine the ingredients with a fork to form a dough.
- On a floured surface, divide the dough into four pieces and roll each portion into sausage shapes about 1cm in diameter. Cut across diagonally into 2.5cm pieces.
- Using the prongs of a fork facing upwards, press the fork down onto each piece of gnocchi so that it leaves a row of ridges.
- Transfer the gnocchi pieces to 2 large plates, cover with clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
- Place a large saucepan of water on to boil. Using a slotted spoon, gently drop in the gnocchi and boil for 3 minutes. They will rise to the top of the pan when they are nearly cooked.
- Remove the gnocchi with the slotted spoon. Transfer to a serving bowl. Grate the cheese on top, season with black pepper (if using) and serve straight away.
Skills used include:
Washing, weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, sifting, mixing/combining, mashing and boiling/simmering.
Top nutrition facts
- Tomatoes and spinach are both good sources of vitamin C, which is important to help us fight infection. Some people think that spinach is a good source of iron but in fact it contains a substance that makes it harder for our bodies to absorb iron from it.
- Potatoes are a starchy food which provides us with energy in the form of carbohydrate.
- Sprinkle the gnocchi with semolina or a little flour before cooking to stop the pieces sticking together.
- Gnocchi goes really well with a variety of sauces. Try the Top Tomato Sauce recipe – part of the Mini Flatbread Pizza recipe on our website.
- If you’re making this dish for children aged between 1 and 5 serve with Cheddar cheese rather than Parmesan because Parmesan is made with unpasteurised milk.
Something to try next time
- The gnocchi can also be made with sweet potato instead of potato. Scrub 500g of sweet potatoes, place on a baking tray and put in an oven preheated to 200°C/180°C fan or gas mark 6 for about 45 minutes until soft. Carefully cut the sweet potatoes in half, allow to cool a little and scoop out the flesh. Leave to cool for a few more minutes then continue from step 5.
- Instead of using fresh spinach, use 250g of frozen whole leaf spinach. Either leave the spinach to defrost then squeeze out the liquid, or place the frozen spinach in a microwave-safe dish, add 1 x 15ml spoon of water, cover with a lid or clingfilm, leaving a small vent, then cook on full power (based on an 800W microwave) for 3 minutes. Drain through a colander and then, when cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the moisture, transfer to a chopping board and chop finely.
Prepare now, eat later
- The gnocchi can be made in advance and frozen. Just blanch by placing in boiling water for a minute and refresh under cold water before freezing as this stops them becoming gloopy. When you want to eat them, just remove them from the freezer, drop into boiling water and boil