We Eat | ROLLED, Patted or Stuffed: Spinach Gnocchi and Sweet Potato Falafels

In my first installment of 'Rolled, Patted or Stuffed', I'm sharing some of the recent favorites. The original 'rolled', meatballs (they've tried both turkey and lamb), have been a big hit. I grill them up a bit on the stove, then finish in the oven. Recipe listed here.

I wanted to find new ways for them to feed themselves vegetables and while I've had some luck with just roasting vegetables, they haven't consistently done great with them. I came across this recipe for spinach gnocchi on Weelicious, sounds great right? Even better, it's super fast and easy to make.


Spinach Gnocch-wee from Weelicious

10 ounces block frozen chopped spinach
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling before serving. 
1 egg yolk 
2 tablespoons flour, plus more for dusting your hands while rolling

Defrost the brick of frozen spinach, can also do this in the microwave. Squeeze ALL (really get all of it!) of the water out of the spinach in small handfuls. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Make sure the spinach is in tiny pieces and the mixture is thoroughly combined. 

Dust your hands with a little flour so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands. Take 1 teaspoon of the spinach mixture and roll into tiny balls. Place on a plate covered with waxed paper or parchment. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the gnocchi. Add the gnocchi to the water in batches and cook for 3 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi to a plate or bowl. 9. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cool and serve. 

The original recipe says that before boiling, you can place on sheet tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to a ziploc bag, label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, thaw to room temperature and boil following above instructions. NOTE: I figured they didn't need to be defrosted and just put them straight in the boiling water, the majority didn't hold up.

Spinach everywhere!
RESULTS: This is SO messy. Bits of spinach are EVERYWHERE. I don't have too much of an issue with that. The first time I served this, George did pretty well with it, William didn't care for it. Neither cared for it the second time, but then tonight, both seemed to like it, William really liked it. Just goes to show, try, try again with new foods.

This next recipe I came across on Pinterest.


Sweet Potato Falafels, adapted from recipe on My New Roots
2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), about 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
a scant cup chickpea flour  (or baby oatmeal, or a combo of chickpea flour and baby oatmeal - I did half and half)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size). Or just microwave like I did. Peel the potatoes once they've cooled down.

Make the chickpea flour by putting about 1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas into your blender and grind on high for a few minutes until the flour stops falling into the middle of the container. (This is easier said then done! I must have blended for at least 10 minutes when my stick blender started getting hot. I measured out a half cup of chickpea flour before giving up and deciding to use Earth's Best Baby Oatmeal -- I had read that you can use this in place of breadcrumbs when making meatballs for babies so figured it would work here as well.) If you do make the chickpea flour, continue by pouring blender contents out into a fine-mesh sieve and sift until the fine gram and coarse legume bits are separated. You should have just less than 1 cup of fine chickpea flour – if not, make more.

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and chickpea flour/oatmeal mix into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. Reheat the oven to 400F. Using a cookie scooper if you have one, of just 2 spoons, make the mixture into falafel-y looking things and put them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

RESULTS: These are a great consistency to tear into smaller pieces without crumbling. The boys seem to like them and they freeze and reheat well. This is a great way for them to get iron from the baby cereal packed in with the vegetable (and sweet potatoes are always a hit!)

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