I think I’ve served gnocchi to my kids a couple of times, but when it showed up in his soup bowl at lunch the boy was a little apprehensive. He asked if it was a shrimp or mushroom, to which his sis assured him it was, in fact “a fluffy potato thing.”
She is basically correct. Gnocchi are Italian dumplings, and can be made from any number of ingredients. The one I used in today’s soup were gluten-free, made from potato and no wheat. If you haven’t purchased it before, you can usually find gnocchi in either the freezer or pasta aisle, depending on the kind you get. You can also try experimenting with making your own (I was never too successful at the venture), or substitute something different here like chickpeas or rice.
After his initial trepidation, the boy happily slurped his soup. This was the perfect lunch for a chilly winter’s day, and couldn’t be easier to throw together. I used mild Italian chicken sausage, but mini meatballs would work well too. If you want to omit the meat, I would definitely suggest adding garbanzo or white beans.
I served it up with the kids’ favorite Parmesan crisps**, and added a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes to my big mug.
As written this recipe is gluten, dairy and sugar-free (if you skip the cheese topping and get gluten-free gnocchi).
Sausage, Spinach & Gnocchi Soup
1 medium chopped onion
1 roasted red pepper, diced (I used jarred)
olive oil, salt & pepper
1 lb. Italian sausage, removed from casing
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. gnocchi
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, rough chopped
3/4 cup coconut milk or other non-dairy cream
1-2 tbs. fresh chopped basil
In a large skillet, cook sausage until brown, using a wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large pot or saucepan. Add onion and red pepper; season with salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add garlic, cooking for one minute more. Add Italian seasoning and broth to pot, along with sausage once it’s fully cooked. Allow to come to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add gnocchi and spinach to soup, cooking for about 2 minutes or until gnocchi puff up and float. Pour in coconut milk or cream and stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
**preheat oven to 400. Grate fresh Parmesan into little heaps on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten down with your palm. Bake for 3-5 minutes until cheese has melted into a lacy crisp.