Grain-Free Chickpea Gnocchi w/ Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

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Chickpea Gnocchi! The easiest, less labor- intensive pasta you’ll ever make.  No pasta machine needed.  Just you and the dough.  I enjoy making homemade pasta.  It tastes amazing, is fun to make with your kids, and has a unique texture that you can’t get with dry pasta. But, wait Corynne.  Are gnocchi pasta?  Yes and No-ish.  I’ll start with the no.  No, because it is mostly made with potato, however you can use any type of flour, as in this recipe.  Not all gnocchi are created equal, but they’re equally delicious.  The yes is that it is served much the same way as pasta in Italy.  As I mentioned, they are traditionally made with potato producing a light, airy texture.  I highly encourage you to make your own and freeze the remaining, as the store-bought kind often tastes acidic due to lactic acid.  However, if you know of a less acidic tasting brand, please comment in the section below.  As a mom, I completely understand the need for shortcuts, especially on weeknights.

For this recipe, no potato was used.  I wanted a completely plant-based recipe and was inspired by Renee Byrd of Will Frolic for Food’s recipe Grain-Free Chickpea Ravioli with Almond Ricotta Filling.   Though not as enveloped as Renee’s recipe, I chose instead to create my favorite, gnocchi. For this recipe I used a food processor to blend the chickpeas and to incorporate the remaining ingredients.  Everything comes together quickly.  If you find your dough a bit sticky, add additional flour until a shaggy, firm dough starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading to produce a smooth and elastic ball, about 10 minutes.  Cut your dough into six pieces (refrigerate/freeze unused) and begin rolling each piece into a rope.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and with a slotted spoon, slowly place in a pot of boiling water.  You’ll know the gnocchi are done as they will rise to the top.  Remove the gnocchi with the slotted spoon, spoon into bowls and top with the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, additional olive oil and parsley.  Enjoy!

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Chickpea Gnocchi w/ Roasted Cherry Tomatoes//serves 4

gnocchi
2-15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

roasted cherry tomatoes
2 pints cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To start gnocchi, place chickpeas in a food processor and process until no large pieces remain.  Add chickpea flour, gluten free flour, eggs, olive oil and salt.  Process until mixture comes together and begins to form a ball.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface.  Begin kneading the dough until the texture holds together and is pliable.  If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour until firm.  Divide dough into 6 pieces.  If not using all the dough, wrap extra pieces in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one to two days or freeze for two to three months.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Roll each piece of dough into a rope about ½ inches in diameter.  Cut into ¾ inches to 1-inch pieces.  Place gnocchi on a lightly-floured parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough.  To cook the gnocchi, using a slotted spoon, lower a couple of gnocchi at a time in the boiling water.  Note: Do not drop the gnocchi in the water, as this will cause the water to splash.  Save yourself the pain.  Once all the gnocchi are cooked, (they will float to the top indicating they are done), remove with the slotted spoon.  Place the gnocchi in serving bowls.  Sprinkle olive oil on to gnocchi to prevent sticking.

For the roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 450° F.  Toss the cherry tomatoes with garlic and olive oil until evenly coated.  Bake the tomatoes in the preheated oven until the skins pop and start to brown 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Split the tomatoes between the bowls of gnocchi.  Drizzle additional olive oil on top.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve.

 

Simple Tomato Soup w/ Blue Cheese Croutons

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Simple Tomato Soup w/ Blue Cheese Croutons

I hate to sound cliched, but nothing says fall like a good bowl of soup.  It’s true.  I make a lot of soups around this time.  Who doesn’t?  They’re added to the dinner rotation during this time as I can put all types of vegetables in a one stop shop bowl of nutritious goodness.   I am particularly fond of tomato soup with the tried and true side of grilled cheese.  Except, for this recipe, I went in a different direction.   Simple Tomato Soup with Blue Cheese Croutons, which was a whole new level of goodness.

Homemade tomato soup is THE quickest and easiest soup you can make.  It requires the simplest of ingredients:

Roasted tomatoes
Roasted onions
Roasted garlic
Fresh basil
Veggie broth, depending on how thick you’d like the soup
Salt and pepper

Once you roast your vegetables, you blitz in the blender or food processor and you’ve got wonderful tomato soup.  You can customize it to your taste by adding rosemary or thyme instead of basil.  Or, adding plant based milk if you’re vegan or heavy cream, milk if you’re not. 

As I mentioned, the blue cheese croutons are everything.  They add a richness to the soup and a wonderful depth of flavor.  And, they’re super simple to make.  Give it a try and tell me what you think.

 

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Simple Tomato Soup w/ Blue Cheese Croutons//serves 4

soup
3 ½ pounds Roma tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup packed basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup vegetable stock, add if you want a thinner soup (optional)

blue cheese croutons
½ loaf fresh bread, cut into cubes
5 tablespoons butter
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

For the croutons, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.  Place bread cubes in a bowl and drizzle butter over the top.  Sprinkle about 1/3 of the blue cheese over the top and stir until bread is coated.  Sprinkle another 1/3 of the cheese over the top and stir to coat again.  Spread bread cubes onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Set aside to cool.

For the soup, adjust oven to 400 degrees F.   Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place halved tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Once tomatoes, garlic and onions are roasted, allow them to cool for 10 minutes, then add to blender or food processor with basil.  Blend on high until smooth.   After blending, transfer the soup back to the pot, add vegetarian broth, if using, and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes before serving.  To serve, garnish with the blue cheese croutons and basil leaf. 

 

Vegetarian Paella w/ Roasted Tomatoes & Lima Beans

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Paella is a dish that brings about family and friends.  It is convivial and a feast for the eyes and your taste buds.  The most popular paella recipes are made with seafood but originally, it was made with rabbit, chicken and three types of beans.  This version is inspired by Food Network’s Kitchen Vegetable Paella.  It combines a mélange of vegetables including roasted tomatoes, fennel, haricots verts and artichokes.  I added zucchini, omitted the shitake and included lima beans for the protein kick.  The dish was perfect.  For the artichokes, I purchased Monterey Farms ArtiHearts from Whole Foods or you could use jarred artichokes.  One of the keys to great paella is the rice. The rice should be medium grain such as Arborio rice.  Traditionally, bomba rice, also called Valencia rice is used and if you can source it in your area, go for it.  However, any short grain medium rice will work.  The rice is important in paella as it absorbs the liquid that you add to the dish.  Also, also, also.   Well-cooked paella develops that crispy bottom layer that is well appreciated.  By no means am I a paella expert, just an enthusiast, but this part of the dish is extra yummy.  Paella is one of those dishes that has a WOW! factor.  You will definitely impress your guests with it.  

Serve this with a great bottle of wine.  Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Paella w/ Roasted Tomatoes & Lima Beans//makes 6-8 servings
Inspired by Food Network Kitchen

8 vine-ripened plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
6-8 sprigs thyme
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 large bulb fennel, cut into 8 wedges
2-packages artichoke hearts (I used Monterey Farms Natural ArtiHearts) or 2-16oz jars
1-15 oz can lima beans
2 large zucchini, cut into cubes
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups vegetable stock
2 ½ cups short-grain paella rice
4 ounces haricots verts or string beans, halved if large
½ cup Kalamata olives
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and arrange on a baking sheet.  Season tomatoes with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and place thyme sprigs atop of the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to caramelize. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the paella, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or a paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, smoked paprika, and saffron and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.

Add the fennel wedges and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the fennel and add the artichoke hearts, zucchini, lima beans and eggplant to the skillet; cook until slightly tender, about 4 more minutes.  Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by about one-third. Stir in the rice and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt; add the vegetable stock.  Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Scatter the haricots verts over the rice. Remove the pan from the heat.

Transfer the paella to the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the paella inside to continue cooking until the rice is tender, 15 to 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven and place the roasted tomatoes on top, along with the Kalamata olives.  Garnish with parsley, if desired