This week, I’ve been testing out some recipes from the Meat Free Monday Cookbook. If you haven’t already heard of the Meat Free Monday initiative, it’s led by the McCartney family and works on the simple premise of encouraging meat-eaters to take just one meat free day a week. There’s no hard sell into full-time vegetarianism, it simply explains the benefits that taking a weekly break from meat can have to your health, finances and of course, to animals and the planet. A small lifestyle change that can make a big difference.
The cookbook is divided into 52 daily meal plans, each covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The meal plans are themselves organised by season, so you really could use this book as your Monday food bible for a year and never run out of wonderfully creative, family friendly meat-free dish ideas.
Sweet potato gnocchi with rocket (arugula) pesto
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is truly a scrummy dish that would work at lunch or dinner: potato gnocchi with rocket (arugula) pesto.
Gnocchi are little dumplings that are so light that they float to the surface when cooked. In fact, this is how you know they are done. They are usually made with regular potatoes but basing them on the sweet variety is a delicious alternative. This recipe is surprisingly quick to make, and very filling.
I was really impressed with how easy this recipe is to follow and how truly delicious the result is. It’s filling, packed with flavour and a warm, comforting texture. As an extra treat, I topped ours off with a few sliced lemon stuffed Spanish olives, which added a perfectly balancing zing to the peppery pesto.
Here’s what to do, reproduced from the Meat Free Monday Cookbook with kind permission from the publishers.
For the gnocchi
- 625g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 15g butter
- 75g plain flour
- 100g semolina
- freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pesto
- 50g rocket
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 100ml olive oil
- Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until just tender.
- Drain and leave to cool.
- Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a food-processor or pound with a pestle and mortar to make a coarse paste.
- Mash the potatoes in a bowl until smooth. Add the butter, flour, semolina, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix to a dough.
- Divide the dough into four pieces and shape each piece into a long roll about 2cm in diameter. Cut each roll across into equal-size rounds.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water in batches and cook for 3–5 minutes until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you cook the rest.
- Once all the gnocchi are cooked, stir in the pesto and serve.
This recipe is reproduced with permission from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook by The Meat Free Monday Campaign (Foreword by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney), published by Kyle Books, priced £19.99.