Megan’s Crispy Gnocchi with Tomatoes & Lemon
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
500 g ready-made gnocchi
250 g mixed fresh tomatoes: cherry, vine and/or plum
2 garlic cloves, grated
200 g spinach
150 ml crème fraîche
50 ml boiling water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
80 g rocket, to serve
olive oil, to serve
Veg Portions / Serving: 2
Home Bird by Megan Davies, published by Ryland Peters & Small. Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small.
You could, of course, make the gnocchi from scratch, but this is a quick-fix-meal recipe, with minimal faff and it uses just one pan. Gnocchi, in my opinion, should always be fried; I’m a sucker for that crispy crust and pillowy centre, so here’s a recipe creating just that result, for your midweek meal repertoire. Feel free to use slightly squishy tomatoes and sad-looking spinach to use up veggies before they go to waste!
Heat a good drizzle of vegetable oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and when hot, add the gnocchi. Fry, tossing every minute, for 8–10 minutes.
Halve the cherry tomatoes and roughly chop any larger tomatoes.
Once the gnocchi is golden-brown and crispy, reduce the heat slightly and add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan. Sizzle gently for 2 minutes, then add half of the spinach and wilt for a minute, followed by the remaining spinach, letting it also wilt, and fold all the ingredients together. Finally, add the crème fraîche, a good squeeze of lemon juice and the boiling water.
Let the sauce come to the boil, then remove from the heat. Stir well, taste to check for seasoning, then pile into bowls. Serve with some rocket on the side and use the remaining lemon and some olive oil to drizzle over the top.
You need the gnocchi and fresh tomatoes for this recipe, but you could use garlic purée instead of fresh, kale to replace the spinach and soured cream instead of crème fraîche.
Simply reheat this dish (until piping hot) with an extra splash of water, with some fresh lemon juice and fresh tomatoes to bulk it out again. The spinach won’t look or taste quite as fresh.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Older kids can help halve the cherry tomatoes with supervision. Little ones can help you add ingredients to the pan and stir everything together, as well as help you plate it up with a handful of fresh rocket and a drizzle of lemon and olive oil on each plate.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.