It’s Erin here- I’m reminiscing about the last few weeks of maternity leave so I’m inviting you to pull up a stool in your family’s kitchen, join in on the conversation and enjoy a delicious meal with me.
I’m sharing my recipe for sweet potato gnocchi, but it turns out this was more than just a meal I cooked, but a true representation of how food is more than just fuel and nutrients- but something that connects us.
I have been fortunate to be off of work to watch our babe grow like a weed this past year and the final weeks of maternity leave were challenging to say the least. Having a whole year dedicated to watch and help your child develop is such a unique opportunity that many people don’t have. Being a parent is an emotional rollercoaster but it is also an amazing adventure so I seized the opportunity to spend as much time as I could with our growing family. So, I spent the last few weeks reflecting about the past year, what we have experienced, accomplished and what our lives will look like in the weeks and years to come.
One thing I was reflecting on was cooking. As a dietitian, food is my life. My job is being a ‘dietitian’ but it is more than a job- I AM a dietitian- it’s part of who I am as a person, not just my job title. I am deeply passionate about making your own food and enjoying meals together as a family as I know how great of an impact it has on our eating habits, health risk and emotional well being.
So, how the heck was I going to support my family in a way that I wanted to through food, work full time and run a business? Oh and find time to be active to support my own health? How do people do it?
Obviously I’m not alone here, but these are the thoughts that raced through my mind. Meal planning is one key strategy that I embrace already and will have to embrace even more- but lets leave that to another post. What I was worried about was creating meals that MEANT SOMETHING, more than just fuel. I knew that I wouldn’t have as much time to be creative with meals once I went back to work full time, so I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the last bit of my spare time to focus on what fills me up, and that happens to be making food for my family.
So, I thought I would make use of some leftover sweet potato in a way that I hadn’t done before. I could have just nuked it and had it as a side dish (always a delicious and quick option), but I wanted to spend some time enjoying the process of making something new. I wanted to be creative in the kitchen while I still had more time, and create a labour of love for the family.
Now, this recipe definitely takes time to make with multiple steps, but it is simple. If you make enough, gnocchi also freezes well so you can make it once and enjoy it time after time!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
1.5 cups mashed sweet potato (this was 2 small sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided in 2
1/2 tsp salt
1.5-3 cups all purpose flour (more or less, depending how wet your sweet potatoes are)
2 cups broccoli, kale or other leafy and hearty green veg, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt to taste
Olive or avocado oil for cooking
- In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, egg, salt and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
- Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get a dough that resembles bread dough- but not sticky. My sweet potato was VERY wet because I cooked it in the skin and let it sit in the skin so I used 3 cups of flour. If you roast them and let them dry out you will need less flour. Less flour also = softer more tender gnocchi.
- Cut into 4-6 chunks and roll each chunk out into a log/snake 1 inch in diameter on a floured surface.
- Cut each snake into 1 inch pieces.
- Grab your gnocchi paddle (the back of a fork works great too) and roll each piece down, creating little ridges. You may need extra flour here to prevent sticking. You can freeze them at this point.
- When all your pieces are ready, bring a large pot of water up to a boil.
- Gently place 10-12 gnocchi in the water at a time. Once they float, they are ready to come out! Pick out with a slotted spoon to drain the excess water and place on a tray coated with oil to prevent sticking. Continue in batches until all the gnocchi is cooked.
- Heat a large pan on medium heat and add a bit of oil for cooking. Once hot, add in batches of gnocchi like you did to boil them. Toss around and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
- For this recipe, I did a simple garlic sauce with greens but you can do any sauce or add ins you fancy. In the same pan add chopped broccoli and a touch of water. Cook until crisp tender.
- Add in garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add heavy cream and cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Add all the gnocchi back into the pan and add the rest of the parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and reheat the gnocchi.
- Serve with your favourite protein source! I chose some nice grilled sausages this time.
I hope you enjoy!
Your Dietitian, Erin
When was the last time you enjoyed making a meal? What did you make?
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