So, this one time (last Sunday), I tried to make gnocchi.
It did not work.
I think - on account of not using a gluten-y flour, or enough binding - my little potato-almond butter pasta bits weren't sturdy enough to hold up to the trials of boiling water. They dissolved. I would show you a picture, but it was pretty gross. Think "soggy cereal in milk" + "sewage water". Guys. It was yucky.
BUT! If I've learned one thing in my many kitchen (mis)adventures, it's that you should always try a test batch of something before throwing the whole thing in, which is why I only dropped 6 of my 30 gnocchi orbs into the water, rather than doing them all at once. When this went horribly wrong, I still had a pile of batter to put to good use [eating], which means less wasted time, less wasted food, and a little less disappointment.
The good news is that the batter made a PERFECT base for these veggie burgers, and although we were a little bummed they weren't bite-size little blobs of goodness, they made for an excellent dinner.
Stress-free cooking is the best. It fits nicely with this practice I've been engaging with recently: not being too overwhelmed or too stressed out or too busy to remember to be grateful. My moments of gratitude in this dinner gone wrong:
i. I have time on a Sunday to play in the kitchen.
ii. I have wholesome, nourishing, organic, local food at my fingertips. We are not going to go hungry.
iii. I am able to eat almond butter (trust me on this one).
iv. I have a fabulous life partner with whom I get to share a meal.
Have you played with perspective on things before? What usually helps you? I am playing with a one-word mantra -- a little grounding reminder, if you will -- of 'grateful' to keep me in check. I am so grateful for these burgers. You should try them. ;)
I think on my next go, I will play with making these into more gnocchi like shapes. I might even experiment with adding more binding (flaxmeal? guar gum? cornstarch?) to see what happens in the boiling process. Traditionally, gnocchi is boiled, cooled + set, and then sautéed... so if we just omit the boiling + setting, we could skip right to sautee, as we did here, just with smaller bites. I imagine it would create a similar texture to these burgers, but in a form that could double as gnocchi. Hmmm... adding it to the to-make list.
There's a definitely a messy component to this recipe, but if you can embrace a little cutting board scrubbing afterwards (and perhaps remember to remove any rings before you dive into this), it'll be great!
I dusted the cutting board with some chickpea flour before diving in, and used a combination of brown rice flour + chickpea flour to bind the potatoes, squash and almond butter.
The result was a nice, crispy patty (thanks, brown rice flour!) with a smooth center. Think 'pumpkin pie', but crispy, savory and as an entree. SO good.
Bonus nutrition info? Sure!
- Sweet potatoes and squash are super high in Vitamin A/ beta-carotene [which is what gives them their bright orange beauty]
- Almond butter is packed with protein and filling healthy unsaturated fat, along with Vitamin E [great for the skin!]
- The complex carbohydrates from the veggies provide lasting fuel - as opposed to a refined grain - and because we're using simple flours that have not been refined apart from blending (dried chickpeas, blended; brown rice, blended), their nutrients are intact and their starches are whole. This means the body won't crash after consuming them: it will stay satiated. Nourishment!!
How will you use these little patties? Do you think the combination of sweet potato, squash and almond butter is a weird one?
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 1/2 cups sweet potato, skins on, cubed
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp coconut oil + extra for drizzling
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour, plus an additional 3/4 cup for kneading/ dusting
- 1. Preheat oven to 375F while you peel and cube your veggies.
- 2. Spread squash and sweet potato on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes or until tender.
- 3. Remove from the oven and toss in the food processor with spices and oil. Process until smooth.
- 4. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add chickpea flour and 1/2 cup brown rice flour. Combine.
- 5. Dust a cutting board or counter top with additional flour. Turn your batter out onto your work surface and knead 2-3 minutes, slowly adding a little more flour until the batter is thick and feels a little like playdoh.
- 6. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add a little coconut oil. Form your batter into 3-4 patties and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until browned. Flip and repeat.
- 7. Remove from heat and serve.
- While I wouldn't recommend serving this regular-burger style on a bun (it's pretty carb-dense and would be like bread on bread on bread), this would go amazingly in a salad, with any non-starchy veggies (peppers, greens, onions, etc) or simply on its own for a super-nourishing after-workout refuel or midafternoon top up.