Sunday dinner family style: spinach gnocchi with pesto & veg

This is fuel for superhero kids, packed full of green goodness and super-tasty too.


Spinach Gnocchi with Pesto & Veggies

Serves 2 adults & 2 children



For the gnocchi
1 tsp olive oil
3 large handfuls fresh spinach
450g cold mashed potato
150g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
black pepper, to season
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
drizzle of rapeseed oil, for frying
2 red peppers, sliced
150g green beans, cut into small pieces
60ml Easy-Peasy Basil & Spinach Pesto (see recipe below)
basil leaves, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the spinach and stir continuously until wilted. Leave aside to cool fully.

When cold, squeeze the liquid out of the spinach, finely chop and add to a bowl with the potato, flour, egg, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Mix until fully combined. Turn onto a well-floured surface, then roll into long log shapes, roughly 2cm thick. Cut into 3cm pieces, then use the back of a fork to mark each one.

Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook each batch for about 3 minutes – they’re cooked when they rise to the surface. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the water and leave aside until they’re all ready.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a pan, and gently fry the peppers and green beans until soft enough for your little ones to manage. Add the gnocchi and pesto to the pan and stir. Heat through, then serve with a sprig of basil on top of each portion.

Aileen’s tip!
Gnocchi can be cooked from frozen. Just pop into a pot of boiling water. It is cooked when it floats to the surface.




Easy-Peasy Basil & Spinach Pesto

A winner with kids and loaded with goodness, you can use this sauce on everything. My favourites are toasted cheese with pesto, pasta with pesto, steak with pesto, chicken with pesto, cherry tomatoes with pesto – or just pesto with pesto. It’s that good!

Makes 1 large jar

85ml extra virgin olive oil
2 large handfuls spinach
1 large handful basil leaves
juice ½ lemon
½ clove garlic, crushed
60g goat’s cheese, grated
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Place all of the ingredients in a blender, starting with the oil. This helps to break everything up quicker. Blend until smooth and silky. Pour into a jar with a lid and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Keeps in the fridge for about 5 days.




Extracted from The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook by Aileen Cox Blundell (Gill Books, €19.99).

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