Kale is one of my favorite vegetables. Aside from its rich flavor and beautiful green color, it is very nutritious and it doesn’t make your teeth feel dry and scratchy like spinach does. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and boasts high levels of vitamins A, C, K, beta carotene, and even calcium. I find kale to be so delicious, I use it as my primary green leaf vegetable in most recipes; I even eat it raw in salads in place of lettuce.
My inspiration to make sweet potato gnocchi, stemmed from the fact that I don’t like white potatoes all that much; I find them to be too starchy and deprived of flavor. Sweet potatoes have a subtle, sweet flavor that works well in both salty and sweet dishes. Nutritionally, they also give you much more bang for your buck!
Now I know you are thinking, “Gnocchi require flour and flour is usually white. If we don’t use white flour here, just what flour will we use!?” The answer is a simple and tasty one: oat flour! While whole wheat flour is too heavy for this recipe, oat flour provides just the right density leaving the gnocchi light and giving them that perfect gnocchi chewiness. Oats are not a new phenomenon. They have been around since our friend, Quaker, and have always been known to be heart friendly and packed with soluble fiber.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
3 small sweet potatoes
3c oat flour
Pinch of sea salt
This recipe makes a lot of gnocchi; when altering the proportions, allow about ½ sweet potato per person.
Rinse the sweet potatoes and cook them in boiling water for 25min or until you can easily insert the spokes of a fork. You can use a pressure cooker to diminish the cooking time; however, I find that the sweet potatoes absorb a lot more water, which in turn, requires a lot more flour and hassle when making the dough. I find that cooking them the extra 15min, in boiling water, is worth the wait. Once the potatoes are soft enough, strain them and let cool about 10min so you can comfortably remove their skins.
Once the skins are removed, place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash them up a bit with your hands (It is important that you let the sweet potatoes cool enough so you do not burn yourself!). Set aside 3 cups of oat flour: You may need a little more or a little less depending on the size of the sweet potatoes and the amount of water they absorbed; generally, you should set aside 1c of flour for every sweet potato. Add about ¼ c of flour at a time and mix the dough with a wooden spoon. The dough will be ready when it naturally pulls away from the edges of the bowl and when you can handle it without it sticking to your hands. At this stage, you can conserve the dough in the refrigerator for later use should you so desire.
Designate a flat surface to forming the gnocchi (if your dough is slightly “sticky”, don’t panic, just add a little flour to the surface). Take a handful of dough and, using both hands, roll it into a long, thin roll about 16 inches long and ½ inch thick. Cut the roll into ¾ inch sections to form the gnocchi. Lay gnocchi on a flat surface until desired cooking time. Repeat this process until all of the dough has been used. These gnocchi freeze very well so you can store them in a plastic bag, in the freezer, should you not wish to cook them all at once.
Boil a large pot of water and add a touch of olive oil. Have a large colander on hand where you can easily drain the gnocchi. Cook the gnocchi for 3 min. They will start to float after about 2 min, but I find they are too al dente if you remove them right away. After the 3rd min remove the gnocchi and place them gently in the colander to let the excess water drain. I like to cook two handfuls of gnocchi at a time, instead of the whole batch all at once. I find it easier to control the cooking time and less stressful when removing the floating gnocchi.
2 ½ c kale leaf
2 medium-large tomatoes
1/3 c chopped zucchini
½ garlic clove chopped
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves
Pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze out the centers of the tomatoes to eliminate some of the water (if you use the whole tomato your sauce will be too watery). In a large food processor combine all ingredients. Please note that I tend to like my sauces slightly on the “garlicky” side. You may want to alter the amount of garlic according to your personal preference.
Let the food processor run until you have a fine, smooth sauce. I find the slight amount of water left over from the tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of olive oil makes the perfect consistency. Additional oil may be added should you wish to have a thinner sauce.
Heat, serve over gnocchi and top with your favorite grated cheese.