Simple Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Simple Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Do you like gnocchi? The doughy dumplings are always winners in the comfort food category. To kick off a month of easy weeknight dinners, we’re excited to share this light and fluffy recipe made with ricotta instead of potatoes. Here, Donna Hay, author of the new cookbook Basics to Brilliance, shows us how to whip them up…

Simple Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi
From Donna Hay’s Basics to Brilliance

You’ll need:

For gnocchi dough:
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Cracked black pepper

For the meal:
10 1/2 oz baby spinach leaves
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Arugula to serve
Parmesan to serve

For the gnocchi dough, place the ricotta, Parmesan, flour, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Set the spinach in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for 1 minute. Drain, place in a clean tea towel, squeeze to remove the excess liquid and finely chop. Add spinach to gnocchi dough and mix to combine.

Dust a clean surface heavily with flour. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 1-inch-wide log. Slice into 3/4-inch thick pieces and set aside on a lightly floured tray. Cook the gnocchi, in 2 batches, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until risen to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving plate.

Place lemon rind, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix to combine. To serve, top with the lemon oil, arugula and Parmesan.

Thank you so much, Donna! Your new cookbook is stunning.

P.S. Five-ingredient dinners, and turkey and ricotta meatballs.

(Recipe and photo © Donna Hay, 2016. Reproduced with the permission of HarperCollins. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Beth M says...

    Doubled the flower, and it turned out super delicious!! Such a good texture, and so quick and easy to make.
    I felt as though something was missing in the ‘sauce’ though, and might try to dress it up a bit more next time.
    Thanks for the great recipe! :)

  2. Claire says...

    These were SO TASTY.
    I went into making them with a little bit of trepidation because of some of the comments about them being quite watery, but I have so much faith in Donna Hay (a kitchen goddess), and they looked so good, that I had to make them.

    I minimally strained the ricotta, and on the basis of looking at the recipe elsewhere, made sure that I used full cream ricotta. I also spent a lot of time wringing out the spinach (I used frozen). The consistency ended up being perfect, even without extra flour. I’m not sure if maybe some of the make up of ingredients in the US are different to Australia? (Where I’m from)

  3. Normally I don’t really like gnochi, but these look so good I might have to try them once more :)

  4. Mia says...

    Made these last night (first time making gnocchi) – and they were delicious!! BUT, I did put more flour (3/4 cup, 1 cup more?) so I could work with the pasta. And yes, the serving is for 4 – I use half of the dough for 2 and left the rest in the fridge. For tonight maybe. That shows how much I loved them.

  5. Can’t wait to try these – they look amazing.

  6. Mary says...

    Is there a mistake in this recipe? I made it as written with the exception of the spinach. The dough was very wet – I added 3/4 C. more flour AND had to flour my counter heavily so it would not stick.

    • I am mid making this and it seems to be a total mess. I’m researching other recipes for ricotta gnocchi and the proportions are very different:

      16oz *strained* ricotta (sit for at least an hour over a coffee filter) to 3/4c flour and 1c Parm and ONE egg!

      It’s too late to save mine, but hopefully someone else can prevent all this waste.

  7. jeannie says...

    Looks delicious!

  8. Amy says...

    Wondering if you could substitute a gluten free flour – maybe an all purpose gf flour or something else?

  9. Katie says...

    I just made this as I had all the ingredients and it was a complete flop. I couldn’t get the dough to roll as it is very moist ever after adding more flour. I instead spooned it into the boiling water which resulted in a big white dough blob. I know COJ is not a food website but I thought I could trust this one coming from a reputable chef.

    • seconded! added more flour than the recipe called for, too, and also found myself spooning the dough into the water. the final product wasn’t the worst thing ever, but i’m sad to report that, despite its minimalist appeal, i wouldn’t repeat this recipe.

    • Anne says...

      That’s what happened to me the first and only time I tried to make ricotta gnocchi- a mass of boiling ricotta and cornmeal :| I wonder what the secret is….

    • I am trying to make this right now and having the same problem! So far I’ve only added 2 eggs and I think another would make a soup. Maybe part skim ricotta would have been better?

      If anyone has suggestions, please share them!

  10. Sara says...

    I’ve heard ricotta gnocchi called gnudi before. This looks delicious and I may have to try it!

  11. Looks delicious, can’t wait to make it. Bookmarking for date night this week! :)

  12. This looks delish and perfect for a cozy dinner night.

  13. C says...

    I got a hand-me down cookbook by her (Flavours) and everything I’ve made from it has been so simple and spectacular. I’d like to get this cookbook but have a funny thing with them where I feel like I shouldn’t get another until I’ve cooked everything from the one I own.

  14. Katy says...

    This looks amazing – wish gnocchi was as red work to make for a crowd because this looks entertaining-y to me.

    • Katy says...

      Less work not “as red”. Typing while nursing is hard!

  15. Julia says...

    Describing her as ” Donna Hay, author of the new cookbook Basics to Brilliance” is pretty funny! She has her own cooking empire in Australia. Totally the Martha Stewart of Down Under.

    • ALI says...

      So funny! Donna is such a queen!!
      As I was reading this recipe (which I love and cook often) I also wondered why something felt off and I realised it’s because it’s been Americanised – all-purpose flour v plan flour, oz v gram and arugala v rocket. Wouldn’t life be amazing if every recipe had both versions :)

    • Ci says...

      I know, right! I was a little bit shocked(dare I say gobsmacked!) to see her addressed so casually….because I (and maybe the rest of Australia??) worship the ground she walks upon!!

      Grew up reading (& adoring) her columns in the weekend newspaper.

  16. Alexis says...

    Yum – I love Gnocchi and I love getting more veggies into my diet without the default “veggie” on the side of whatever meat dish I’m making. How perfect. I’m going to try this with chopped frozen spinach – Thawed and squeezed well should act just like the blanched/drained/squeezed/chopped spinach in the recipe right?

  17. aga says...

    Gnocchi without potatoes?! I didn’t know that’s possible! I might have to try it.

    • Ni says...

      you can do them with pumpkin too! they’re delicious..

    • aga says...

      Interesting! Alas, I hate pumpkins! The pumpkin craze in North America is very strange to me.

  18. Johanna says...

    This looks like such a lovely dinner option! I really appreciate the substitution of ricotta cheese because us low-carbers love gnocchi, too!

  19. Gabrielle says...

    This looks lick-the-bowl good. FYI – the links to her cookbook and the turkey and ricotta meatballs are reversed at the bottom of the page.

    • Gabrielle says...

      Nevermind – looks to be fixed! :)

  20. Lisa says...

    Do you know if you can freeze the gnocchi?

    • belen says...

      Yes, before you cook them. I freeze gnocchis all the time cause they are the best meal to have around :)

  21. Suse says...

    Thinking of you New Yorkers: you could use some comfort food about now…

  22. Melissa says...

    Looks delicious! How many servings is this?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hi Melissa, it’s 4 servings! Thank you!

    • I’ve cooked from Donna Hay cookbooks and magazines for years and always find her servings huge – generally if she says 4 it easily feeds my family of 6 adults.

  23. Kelly says...

    I love Donna Hay!!!! She’s like the Aussie Martha or Nigella :)