In the Kitchen: Laura Lea Balanced Lemon Ricotta Spinach Gnudi

I make a lot of Laura Lea's recipes. A LOT. Maybe too many, but I just can't stop with these flavor bomb recipes she continues to churn out on her blog and in her cookbook. It is her easy approach to healthy eating (and maybe that black bean brownie recipe) that keep me trying new recipes. I got to know Laura Lea about a year ago when she was a guest on Episode 11 of my and Lindsay Lawler's podcast, Champagne and Queso. Give it a listen! She's is genuinely one of the nicest people, and her positive energy comes through in her daily InstaStories which give us a glimpse of her busy world as she's currently working on cookbook #2. Hooray for us! 

For today's "In the Kitchen," I wanted to share one of the easiest Laura Lea dishes I've ever made, her Lemon Ricotta Spinach Gnudi. Think of gnudi as ravioli filling without the pasta. They're also related to gnocchi since both are like dumplings, but gnocchi are much heavier because they're traditionally made with potato. I prefer gnudi to both ravioli and gnocchi since they tend to be much lighter. The ricotta contributes to that light, fluffiness which also explains why my Grandmother's homemade pasta and ravioli were always light as a feather. 

 The lemon zest in this recipe give these gnudi such a vibrant flavor. I made them for Easter dinner as a side dish, but they would hold up easily as an entree. Next time, I want to try them with a red sauce. 

This recipe is so quick and easy. It literally takes longer to squeeze the water out of the spinach than put the rest of the recipe together. I've copied the recipe below from Laura Lea's website, but for more details and more of her delicious recipes, visit here.

 Little balls of lemony, spinach, cheesy heaven

Little balls of lemony, spinach, cheesy heaven


LEMON SPINACH RICOTTA GNUDI FROM LLBALANCED.COM

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 13 gnudi. Total time: 70 minutes)

  • 5 cups frozen organic spinach, thawed (a little less than 1 16 oz bag. Laura Lea places the bag in the fridge the night before)
  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • 2-4 tablespoons coconut flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt (Laura Lea uses 3/4)
  • pinch black pepper
  • 3/4 cup full-fat ricotta cheese (approx. 8 oz. Laura Lea likes organic valley from pastured cows)
  • 1 packed teaspoon lemon zest (approximately 1 medium lemon)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (optional but recommended!)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line an 8x8 pyrex baking dish with non-stick parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place thawed spinach in a colander in the sink and squeeze out excess liquid. You really want the spinach as dry as possible. Add spinach to a large mixing bowl, along with eggs, 2 tablespoons coconut flour, salt, pepper, ricotta, lemon zest and half of your grated parmesan (it doesn’t need to be exact). Use clean hands to combine mixture evenly. *NOTE: 2 tbsp coconut flour will make a slighter looser, more traditional gnudi texture. I personally like to add 2 more tablespoons to make them into firmer balls, but it is totally up to you.
  2. Using dampened fingers or a dampened ice cream scoop, form 2” balls and roll them between your hands to form balls. Place them in your baking dish, trying to leave it a little space between each.
  3. Bake gnudi for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle on remaining grated parmesan, as well as melted butter, if using. Bake another 20 minutes, then allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

I had enough of this mixture to bake these in a 9x13 dish. I made a smaller batch the next day with the remaining spinach and half of the ricotta I had left. That batch fit in an 8x8 dish. I also used a medium size cookie scoop to scoop out the mixture and then I rolled it into a ball.

TOOLS I USED:

If you give these gnudi a whirl, take a picture and make sure you tag me! @StellaShops and #stellashops on the ol' Instagram.

Bon Appetit!

 Enjoy these little balls of joy!

Enjoy these little balls of joy!