Very Spinachy Spinach Gnocchi with Shiitake & Thyme Brown Butter Sauce

DASH Recipe: Very Spinachy Spinach Gnocchi with Thyme Brown Butter SauceOh man, I hit a jackpot with this one! Pairing fresh spinach with spinach gnocchi seemed a bit silly, but I went ahead anyway because I had a bunch of spinach that I needed to use up. It was a resounding success! The spinach gnocchi came out wonderfully spinachy (well, no surprise there) and much lighter than your typical creamy gnocchi dish. It’s almost as if the spinach act as a sauce–a spinach lover’s dream gnocchi!

It’s in a toasty brown butter sauce, but there isn’t a lot of butter, just a quarter tablespoon per serving. The rest of the oil is olive oil (and not a ton of that, either). Thyme, garlic and amontillado (a sweet, aged sherry) give it a satisfying depth without weighing it down like heavy cream would. Earthy shiitake mushrooms add even more complexity. Try this quick Italian meal when you have a big bunch of fresh, sturdy spinach. (You want the fully grown spinach for this recipe, not the baby ones. Baby spinach doesn’t have enough flavor and gets limp too fast.)

Print Recipe
Very Spinachy Spinach Gnocchi with Shiitake & Thyme Brown Butter Sauce
DASH benefits: This spinach gnocchi in thyme butter sauce is a rare gnocchi dish that brings a lot of veggies (half a bunch of spinach in each serving) and not a lot of dairy or oil--relatively speaking. It can be made vegetarian easily, if you skip the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.

DASH servings:
2 grains
2.5 vegetables & fruits
0.25 dairy
2 fat & oil
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put a big pot of water on high.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold everything. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté on medium heat until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the shiitake and sauté until the shiitake takes on some brown color. Scrape the thyme leaves off the sprigs and add to the pan.
  4. Add the butter to the pan and let it brown for a few minutes. Be careful not to burn it.
  5. Add the spinach to the pan. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid, and let it cook for a few minutes, until the spinach is deep green and cooked through.
  6. Add the sherry and let its alcohol cook off, with the lid off.
  7. While the spinach cooks, add a generous pinch of salt to the pot of boiling water and add the gnocchi.
  8. Stir occasionally to prevent the gnocchi from sticking to the bottom of the pot (and to each other). Cook, according to the package instruction. (If using fresh gnocchi, it should be about 3-4 minutes.)
  9. Add the gnocchi to the pan of spinach, along with a splash or two of the cooking liquid. Stir to combine. Add more of the gnocchi cooking liquid if the pan is dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Plate and top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Recipe Notes

Like many other gnocchi and butter-based pasta dishes, this probably won't reheat well. I'd stick to making just enough to finish in one sitting, rather than try to make enough for leftovers.

With all that said… I do have a soft spot for gnocchi in cream sauce. This recipe from Salt & Lavender, which combines similar ingredients (spinach and mushroom) in a cream-based sauce spiked with Italian herbs, Dijon mustard and white wine, sounds loooovely. I might try this someday.

Toasted Buckwheat Bowl with Wilted Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato, Currants and Pecans

Buckwheat Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale IngredientsLike every other hipster foodie (riiiight), I’ve come to love the grain bowl format. It’s pretty fast to put together (even faster if I have the cooked grain waiting in the fridge), accommodates basically whatever vegetables I have on hand, and takes on the personality of the dressing to morph into any pseudo-ethnic meal I’m in the mood for. I’ve made grain bowls with a lot of different grains: Quinoa, farro, wild rice, even Israeli couscous, which is really a pasta rather than a grain. This week, I had a half-used bag of buckwheat groats in the pantry, and decided to try using buckwheat in this format.

Buckwheat Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potato & KaleThe last time I used buckwheat groats, I simply boiled them and dressed them in a mushroom cream sauce that was kind of sort of Russian in my imagination. It was okay, but a tad too heavy and too one-note to my liking. The groats came out starchy-sticky, too, which I thought might be a problem in the grain bowl format. To avoid the one-note boredom and excessive starchiness, I toasted the buckwheat before boiling the groats, and rinsed them thoroughly under cold water after boiling in order to wash off the starch that leaked out during the cooking process. This seemed to work well.

I topped the buckwheat bowl with half a salmon burger (frozen from Costco) each, but you can keep it vegetarian, or top it with a boiled egg or grilled chicken for an additional protein kick.

Print Recipe
Toasted Buckwheat Bowl with Wilted Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato, Currants and Pecans
DASH benefits: The buckwheat bowl provides 1 serving of whole grain and 2-3 servings of vegetables and fruits without a lot of added sugar or oil. Dried currants do double duty here: They provide the sweetness without being sugary, and they count as fruits. Win!

DASH servings:
1 grain
2.25 vegetables & fruits
1.5 fat & oil
0.5 nuts & beans
0.25 sweets
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet and toast the buckwheat groats over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the groats take on some golden brown color.
  2. Add the buckwheat groats and water to a pot and boil for 12 minutes (or follow the direction on the bag).
  3. While the buckwheat cooks, add the dried currants to apple cider vinegar to rehydrate.
  4. Blanch the kale in a separate pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, just enough to wilt the tough leaves. Drain thoroughly.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the shiitake mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Rinse the buckwheat groats quickly under cold running water when done cooking, and drain thoroughly.
  7. In a large bowl, mix the buckwheat, kale, roasted sweet potato, shiitake, pecans and currants along with the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes

*I happened to have some roasted sweet potato chunks I needed to use up. If you are roasting the sweet potato from scratch, cooking time will be longer.