Green gnocchi: a quick, fail-proof recipe

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A dish with vegetable gnocchi served with grated parmesan
Here’s a nice serving of Green Gnocchi. Enjoy!

Here’s a family recipe I learned from Mom, refined and revisited over a couple decades. Simple, fast, never fails and kids love them: tested on two rounds of friends’ kids.

We’re talking vegetable gnocchi here: spinach or chard, or a mix thereof.

Apron-to-dish time: 45 minutes.

Here’s what you need for 42 balls (appx. 6 servings):

  • 1 kg frozen spinach, beet 50 /50 or your favourite split
  • 400g fresh ricotta
  • 100g grated parmigiano
  • 8 spoonfuls of wheat flour (non-leavening)
  • 1/3 grated nutmeg
  • salt
A spoonful of flour
A spoon of flour is THIS much

Put the frozen veggies in a large pot (appx. 5 liters) and steam cook for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, put the ricotta, the parmigiano, the grated nutmeg and the flour in a large bowl you will use to mix everything together (if you dig one of those lovely mixers, use its own bowl).

Take the vegetables out of the pot, do not throw away whatever water’s left. Fill the pot to 4/5 with hot water, add 1½ spoonfuls of salt and put back on the stove.

Strain the vegetables, put them on a cutting board and mince coarsely.

A lump of boiled spinach
Strain the veggies, then mince coarsely

Put the minced vegetables in the bowl with all other ingredients and mix vigorously until there are no lumps of flour, ricotta or vegetables. The resulting mix will be slightly sticky, and soft to spread.

You now have time to wash the bowl, board and utensils before the water reaches boiling temperature.

If you put cold water instead of hot, you also have time to set the table now.

Once the water starts to boil, start making quenelles of the mix and put them in the boiling water. Just put the spoon in th water and move gently, the ball will detach almost immediately. Work through all of the mix, there is no way of overdoing the balls.

Working a quenelle with two spoons
How to work a quenelle with two spoons

Once you’ve emptied the ball, the quenelles will already be floating. Like all gnocchi, floating=done. Take them out with a skimmer and serve over flakes of butter.

A serving is 7 gnocchi for an adult, 3 or 4 for a kid. Expect second helpings.

Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Enjoy!

A dish with vegetable gnocchi served with grated parmesan
Here’s a nice serving of Green Gnocchi. Enjoy!

Alternate versions

Try these variations if you have a little more time:

  1. serve with tomato sauce or meat sauce
  2. grate in the oven with butter and parmesan
  3. grate in the oven with tomato sauce or meat sauce

or invent your own variation.
Let me know how they work out for you. Bye!


    • thank you, yetanotherfoodblog. Yes, they are quite light to on the stomach. (of course, results may also depend on the quantity you wolf down. Sometimes, I experience mild hallucinations after the third helping…)

    • Hi Mumma, the green gnocchi is definitely a family thing. and it’s a kid winner, believe me. you only need to market them properly. No kid wants spinach, so I usually present them as dragon’s gnocchi. It works like a charm. Of course kids find out the truth by the second or third time, but they like to go along with the joke.
      Oh, by the way, the result looks “important restaurant recipe” stufff despite its simplicity, so you can use it in more formal occasions, like “dinner with the boss” stuff etc.
      Let us know how your kids like them, ok?
      Thanks and best,

  1. Hi Walter, this evening I tried this recipe and I had three empty plates at the end (including mine!). I halved the recipe and possibly got the proportion of flour wrong as the quenelles broke up a bit in the boiling water. I ended up frying them in a little olive oil in batches and keeping them warm in the oven until ready to serve, which worked really well! So even though i didnt quite get the consistency right, They were delicious! Thank you. I will definitely be making them again! Best, Julia

    • Ji Julia, I’m so glad. Broking quenelles means too little flour or keeping the veggies too damp, but you solved the problem beautifully, and three empty dishes is a win. My compliments!

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