Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Serves 6

The main ingredient of this lighter gnocchi is ricotta cheese. Recently I have found that it is best and cheapest to purchase the ricotta at the deli counter of the supermarket than in the pots because the ricotta is firmer. The addition of a 400g tin of Borlotti beans (drained and rinsed well) adds flavour, texture and fibre, lowers the GI and makes the meal go further. This dish can be reheated.

250 grams frozen spinach
1-2 cloves garlic
500 grams ricotta cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
400g Borlotti beans (optional)

Tomato pasta sauce - to serve
Your favourite recipe or:
1 jar tomato pasta sauce
400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
Fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley.

400 gram can of borlotti beans (cannelini, soy, butterbeans as desired) optional


  1. Cook spinach in microwave. Squeeze spinach thoroughly to remove the moisture.
  2. It is preferable if the ricotta is firm and relatively dry. If the ricotta is quite "wet", place it in a sieve over a bowl in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. It may be necessary to pat the cheese dry with some kitchen paper.
  3. Mix the ricotta cheese, spinach, flour, chopped garlic and pepper. Beat the egg and add to mixture. Form into small balls (approximately 3cm in diameter). If the mixture seems a bit “wet and sticky” add more flour by the tablespoon until the mixture forms balls quite easily.
  4. Drop these into a large saucepan of boiling water and cook until they rise to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon, place in a casserole or baking dish.
  5. Cover with a low fat tomato based pasta sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a moderate oven until heated and cheese has melted.
  6. Alternatively, the gnocchi can be placed on one half of a serving platter with the hot bean and tomato sauce on the other half. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan and chopped parsley and served immediately.

Tomato pasta sauce: You can use a jar of low fat tomato pasta sauce and add a can of crushed tomatoes and some fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, marjoram, or your own favourite recipe. If adding Borlotti beans (or alternatives), add to sauce for about five minutes to allow them to heat through.

Serve with pasta and a green salad

Nutritional Comments: A low fat vegetarian meal.