If you’ve read Pretty Simple Cooking (our new cookbook!), you’ll know that our food philosophy is against 15-minute this and 20-minute that. Why? If quick cook time is treated as the most important thing about cooking, it cheapens the process. It makes it seem like cooking is just about finding the magical 15 to 20 minute recipes, and not investing time in skills that deepen flavor. Also, 15-minute meals that really take 30 minutes are one of our biggest pet peeves.
However, sometimes life necessitates a quick dinner. Many requests come into our inbox like the following from reader Jean: “I struggle to put something healthy-ish on the table at lightening speed every night. It would be AWESOME to see a round up of some of your favorite crazy-fast meals. I know that healthy doesn’t have to mean hours in the kitchen, but chopping and prep sometimes take longer than I have time for. I wondered how you guys–also in the baby trenches–deal with this dilemma?”
So in the vein of “healthy-ish at lightening speed”, here is our 15-minute gnocchi with romesco sauce. I know what you’re thinking:
Does it really take 15 minutes to make? Well, it does depend on your cooking style. But, here are the facts:
- I made this gnocchi by myself between 5:54 and 6:09 on a Thursday night. True story.
- It requires no chopping and no real “cooking”, just boiling gnocchi for 3 minutes.
- We used packaged gnocchi, which we still consider a “whole food” similar to packaged pasta. (You can also use any shape of pasta for this recipe; it would add a few minutes to the boiling time.)
- This recipe takes 15 minutes, but we’d suggest serving it with a salad, which would add a few minutes. This could also help to stretch the serving size: we found it fed me, Alex and Larson without leftovers, so we left the serving size at 3.
Explain healthy-ish? To us, healthy-ish is whole food meals prepared in your own kitchen.
- Gnocchi is Italian “pasta” that is made with potatoes and flour. Typically pasta isn’t considered health food, but good news: a new study found pasta can actually help you lose weight. The Italian researchers found that eaten in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy diet.
- To the pasta, we’ve added some colorful veg: spinach and a romesco sauce made of tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and almonds.
- This recipe is a vegan dinner fully plant-based as the feta crumbles are optional. It’s also gluten-free if you can find gluten-free gnocchi or use gluten-free pasta.
- Per above, we’d suggest serving with a green salad.
We hope you’ll enjoy this lightning fast, healthy-ish recipe. In our opinion, it’s also a great Valentine’s Day recipe, especially for a cooking date!
For a similar quick and healthy-ish recipe, see our Creamy Yogurt Mac & Cheese with Spinach.
Did you make this recipe?
If you make our 15-minute gnocchi with romesco sauce, we’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free (modification below), plant-based, and dairy-free.
15-Minute Gnocchi with Romesco Sauce
- Yield: About 3 main dish servings
- 1 pound packaged gnocchi (much of the packaged gnocchi brands are vegan; for gluten-free, use GF gnocchi or 1 pound of GF pasta)
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves (or chopped standard spinach)
- 1 cup romesco sauce (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles, optional
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, with about 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
- Make the romesco sauce (below).
- Once the water is boiling, add the gnocchi and boil until they float, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a colander with spinach leaves. When the gnocchi are done, pour them into the colander with the spinach so that the boiling water wilts the spinach. Then pour the cooked gnocchi and spinach back into the pot and stir to a few times to evenly distribute the spinach.
- Add 1 cup of the romesco sauce to the pot and stir. (Reserve and refrigerate the remaining 1 1/2 cups for up to 1 week.)
- For vegan, top with fresh ground black pepper. For vegetarian, top with black pepper and feta crumbles. If desired, add a drizzle of olive oil.
- Yield: 2 1/2 cups
- 1 cup roasted almonds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 large roasted red peppers from a jar
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Peel the garlic. In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients until smooth. Taste and add additional seasonings if desired.