Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

The first time, one always remembers. It’s indelibly branded on your brain, lying in wait for the slightest trigger to nudge it from sleep. As you know, I love spinach. It’s always around in my home especially now that I grow my own subsistence crop. Ricotta cheese makes its appearance on the shelves at Woolworths from time to time here in EL. When I see it, I’m immediately transported back to my very first taste of sage and burnt butter. That’s the small trigger that brought back the flood of delight as I recalled the most magical flavours of sage. In 2012 Sarah and I visited a special friend and their daughter in Berlin Germany. They made these amazing balls of spinach and Ricotta drizzled with sage butter. I could not believe I had never tasted this combination of flavours before. Our supermarkets have admittedly come a mile since then, but in 2012 in East London we were given the bare essentials whilst the gastronomic ingredients were kept for Cape Town and Johannesburg. Brian used to Travel with a cooler bag just so he could bring back Woolworths food before it opened here, that’s how starved we were of the novelty of quality prepared foods. Needless to say sage was never seen on our shelves.

I had spinach in my garden and had ricotta cheese in my fridge when I was out doing a top-up shop for our pizza night with friends. I quick dash to checkers to get our favorite Galbani mozzarella and there dangling on the hook in the Fresh produce fridge was sage. Ever since Berlin I am now unable to walk past sage and not put it in my trolley. I greedily tossed in 2 bags, thanks to being previously deprived. I knew I was going to make my own version of spinach gnocchi this week. Here’s was I did. My version is a carb friendly one until I decided to serve it with linguine. Serve it on a salad and it will still be carb friendly. I’m not sure why it’s called carb friendly? In fact we are shunning poor carbs these days so how is that friendly????

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi


  • 300g spinach net weight prepared from 900g raw spinach
  • 2 spring onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped or grated
  • 1 egg
  • 250g ricotta
  • 50g almond flour
  • 40g total mix of walnuts and pine nuts toasted and roughly chopped
  • 45g grated parmesan
  • 2 tsps preserved lemons finely chopped
  • olive oil

sage sauce

  • 20g sage
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • splash of olive oil


  • Oven 180°C
    Bake for 20min
    Grill until golden about 3 min
  • Gnocchi
    1 egg
    250g ricotta
    50g almond flour
    300g net weight of prepared spinach, (see how to prepare spinach here) then add 2 spring onions finely chopped to this along with a large clove of grated garlic
    40g pine nuts and walnuts mixed toasted and chopped
    45g grated fresh parmesan
    Salt and pepper
    2 tsps preserved lemons chopped finely or zest and squeeze of half lemon
  • Sauce
    20g bag of sage
    60g butter ( I used unsalted as it doesn't burn like salted butter)
    Splash of olive oil
  • Mix all the gnocchi ingredients together in a bowl. Shape into balls about 30g each or slightly bigger than a tablespoon.
    Drizzle olive oil over base of baking pan (33X24cm). Place balls on pan. In a pan on stove melt the butter and add the leaves only to the melted butter. Spoon sage butter over each gnocchi ball and bake for 20min. Put grill on and continue to bake until golden. They will puff up slightly
  • Serve over a steaming bowl of linguine and chopped fresh tomatoes and don't forget the Fresh parmesan too
Course: Light Meal
How to prepare Spinach
Check out this recipe
How to prepare spinach

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