This recipe and post have been paid for by The South African Mushroom Farmer’s Association.
I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms for a while now and The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association’s He.Eat.Plants campaign for Men’s Health Month in June is perfect timing. Fluffy and light ricotta gnocchi, with flavourful mushrooms and crispy sage leaves, makes for a comforting autumnal meal. The bonus, of course, it does not take long to prepare and packs loads of healthy flavour, protein and nutrients.
According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, “the benefits of vegetarian diets are much greater for men than women. Piling up on veggies can help men prevent heart disease, some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity”; plant-based diets also prolong life.
Protein helps repair muscles and recovery after exercise, is not only found in meat. Meaty, nutrient-rich mushrooms are one of the good plant-based protein sources of protein. The great thing about mushrooms is that they are delicious and incredibly versatile which means that you can still get your protein fix throughout the day from breakfast to dinner.
Based on a recipe from Donna Hay‘s beautiful Basic to Brilliance book, the gnocchi is also known as gnudi, made with ricotta rather than potato. It gives a pillowy dumpling rather than the denser potato gnocchi. Many of these kinds of recipes call for butter but as it is Men’s Health Month, I replaced the butter with good South African extra virgin olive oil. Amp up the flavour even more and mix some roasted garlic with the ricotta mix or add chopped fresh herbs as I did here.
Mushrooms may only contain 3g of protein per 100g, but it’s the type of protein, Lectin, that is more important than the quantity. Lectin proteins are miracle workers in that they stimulate insulin production which helps to control glucose levels. They also offer great gut health benefits. Lectins are only 70% digestible (animal protein = 100%) but the indigestible 30% enters the colon where it prevents pathogenic bacteria from adhering to the gut wall. Pretty smart and pretty good for your digestion.
Packed with B vitamins, mushrooms contain essential minerals such as potassium, selenium, phosphorous and copper and provide small, but nutritionally important, amounts of iron. And finally, there is a high amount of very important antioxidants that occur in mushrooms that most other foods don’t have. According to research from Penn State University, mushrooms contain unusually high amounts of ergothioneine (ERGO) and glutathione (GSH), both of which have been studied for their anti-aging and health-boosting properties. So loading up on extra mushrooms makes perfect sense.
I kept the mushroom flavour clean by just frying them in olive oil and seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. To make dinner quick and easy I mix and cut the gnocchi in the morning and placed them in the fridge, ready for cooking in the evening (take them out an hour or so to get to room temperature before cooking). The gnocchi is cooked in boiling water for a few minutes and is ready to serve immediately. But if I have to be honest, they are irresistible when quickly fried in olive oil until golden once you’ve spooned them from the water.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms. If you’ve made the recipe share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #heinstirred and #HeEatsPlants
- 360g fresh ricotta
- 80g finally grated parmesan cheese
- 150g flour
- 3 eggs
- a handful of chopped parsley and chives
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 250g portabellini mushrooms, halved
- 150g baby white button mushrooms
- olive oil for frying
- sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
- fresh sage leaves, flash fried in olive oil till crisp
- Mix the ricotta and parmesan in a large bowl
- Add the flour, eggs, herbs, salt and pepper and mix until combined to a sticky dough
- Divide the dough in half and roll out each piece on a floured surface to a 3cm wide log
- Slice into 2cm wide pieces and set aside on a floured tray
- Fry the mushrooms in some olive oil until cooked
- Season with sea salt and black pepper and keep warm
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi in batches until risen to the surface and cooked through
- Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the warm mushrooms and crispy sage leaves
- OPTIONAL :
- Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a pan with hot olive oil and fry on each side for 2 minutes or so until golden and crisp
- Serve immediately with the warm mushrooms and sage leaves
- Based on a recipe by @donnahaymagazine
Here are a few more of my favourite recipes with mushrooms :