A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
As this month is National Vegetarian Awareness Month, I headed over to 31 Days of Vegetarian Recipes (http://www.takepart.com/photos/31-days-vegetarian-recipes). The site has, yup, 31 recipes, complete with photos, and this one looked too good to pass on. A bit of flour all over the kitchen, a few too many dishes in the sink, but after only about an hour, Meghan and I had a plate of dinner that looked pretty much like the picture in the recipe.
I admit, as a cook, I am not very good at following directions. When recipes have lots of odd ingredients that I never used before, I usually try to substitute for them. Case in point: Nutritional Yeast. What, you may ask, is nutritional yeast? Well, I did a quick Google search, and found that many vegans use it as a substitute for cheese. Since I was making gnoccchi, I figured, why not substitute Parmesan cheese for the nutritional yeast. Of course, one ingredient substituted leads to other changes. Because the yeast must absorb more moisture than the cheese, I had to use more flour than the recipe called for. These tweaks of the recipe seemed to be OK, as I said, it tasted really good.
The use of pumpkin is a nice add to this recipe. Pumpkin is a good source of fiber, beta carotene, and Vitamin A. These are all good for healthy eyes and skin, as well as possibly having benefits against lung and oral cancers. We always buy extra cans when they are in season.
Anyway, here is the recipe, direct from the site. Feel free to add your own twist, and let me know how it was. Meghan and I had eyes too big for our stomachs, but the leftovers made for a nice lunch today as well.
For the gnocchi:
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (be careful not to buy the season pie filling – pumpkin only)
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
3/4 cup of all-purpose organic flour + more for dusting
2 tbsp silken tofu whipped
2 tbsp of olive oil + 1 tbsp of olive oil, divided
2 tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Stick
sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and grated nutmeg to taste
For the pesto:
1 cup, freshly toasted walnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 small clove of garlic, minced
3 small sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
small splash of sherry vinegar
1/3 cup of good quality olive oil
2 tsp of minced, dried cranberries
1 tsp of lemon zest
sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 275° and roast walnuts for 15-20 minutes until golden and fragrant.
2. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp of silken tofu and 1 tbsp of olive oil and whisk until emulsified or light and fluffy.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, add pumpkin puree and season to taste with sea salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in tofu emulsion until well combined. Fold in nutritional yeast until just combined and add the flour 1/4 cup at a time until a ball of dough comes together.
4. On a clean, lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead until smooth, about 8-10 turns. Flouring as you go to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and rolling surface. Be careful not to overwork the dough or your dumplings will become tiny doorstops. Once finished, cover the dough with the bowl you mixed it in and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
5. While the dough is resting bring a large, salted pot of water on to boil and make the pesto by pulsing the first five ingredients in a food processor until a coarse meal forms. Transfer the walnut mixture to a small mixing bowl, stir in the remainder of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside in a warm place. The oven you just roasted the walnuts works perfectly for this.
6. When your dough is finished resting, transfer the ball to a plastic bag and create a makeshift pastry bag by cutting a 1/2″ whole in a corner. Pipe pumpkin dough into long strings over a floured surface until all the dough is done.
7. Working with a sharp knife, dip your blade into you bag of flour and cut the dough strings into 1 – 1.5″ sections, flouring the blade after each cut to prevent sticking.
8. Once all gnocchi have been cut, drop them into the boiling water in small batches and cook them until they float to the top. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.
NOTE: At this point the gnocchi can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months. To bring them back from their frozen state, simply boil them again until they float to the top.
9. Once the gnocchi have all been boiled, bring the Earth Balance and remaining olive oil up to med-high temperature in a non-stick fry pan. Working in batches, again add the gnocchi to the pan and brown on each side, approx. 2-3 minutes per side. Store the browned gnocchi in the oven with the pesto until all have been seared.
10. Distribute the gnocchi, top with a generous helping of pesto and presto, dinner is done.