Say what? What on earth is mechagnocchi? Well, it’s short for Meat, Swiss Chard and Cauliflower Gnocchi – [me-cha-no-key] – because really, what else would you call that combo?
My doctor recommended that I get at least 1 cup a day of cruciferous vegetables to support hormone balance so I do my best to work them into lunch and dinner somehow. Cruciferous veggies are powerhouses with all sorts of other great benefits so it may be a good idea to put those on your grocery list regularly too. This recipe, topped with brussels sprouts to boot, most definitely crushed my daily goal.
I’d like to tell you that this was a well-planned meal, but it was actually a, “so what grain-free, dairy-free, veg-heavy ingredients do I have in my refrigerator that I can make in less than 25 minutes?” And for the record, I don’t always eat with these constraints, but I do make sure that if I’ve hit my quota in one particular food-group area at another meal (ex/ perhaps an extra serving of grain at lunch), I do my best to make up for it elsewhere. Fortunately, restrictions aside, this experiment turned out so well that my husband polished off 3 bowls and even my 4-year-old ate it. Yay! The crispy, nutty-flavor you’ll get from the roasted brussels sprout leaves on top really make the dish so be sure you don’t skip that part. The rest is very customizable to your own preferences if you’d rather substitute the meat or any spices, in particular, go for it. If you’d like to add a sauce, sauce-it-up! The base of this recipe leaves a lot of room to play around based on what YOU have in the ‘fridge in a time-pressed evening.
Mechagnocchi Super Cruciferous Bowl
Time: 5-10 minute prep, approximately 25 minute cooking
- 1 bag organic brussels sprouts, stems removed and cut in half. Keep any leaves that fall off.
- 1 bunch chard (any kind), chopped
- 1 bag frozen Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi
- 1 lb. ground organic grass-fed bison, beef, turkey or any protein of choice
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- A few tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- Spices of choice (salt and pepper at a minimum, but feel free to get crazy). I also added some chopped fresh sage during the gnocchi cooking process.
- Set oven to roast (or bake) at 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (optional), place sprouts and any of their loose leaves in an even layer, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
- Roast for approximately 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté a minute or two until fragrant but garlic isn’t burning. Add the protein of your choice (in my case, it was ground grass-fed bison) and cook until fully browned. Set aside in a bowl.
- Pour out any left-over fat and return the same sauté pan to the heat. Drizzle a little more olive oil if necessary and add the chopped chard. Sauté until wilted. Add any more spices you may like. Add wilted chard to the protein bowl and set-aside.
- After removing the chard, drizzle a little more olive oil in pan if necessary and add entire bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi. Cook for a couple minutes to start the gnocchi browning on 1 side. Then, pour in 1/4 cup water and cover pan for approximately 3-5 minutes to steam.
- Remove lid and turn gnocchi. Cook for another few minutes. Try to stir as little as possible to help the browning process.
- Add the meat and chard to the pan to combine all elements. Add sauce of choice, if desired. Taste for any other seasoning adjustment.
- By this time the brussels sprouts should be just about done. Remove from oven.
- Spoon each portion of mechagnocchi into bowls and top with a good helping of the roasted brussel sprouts and their crispy leaves.
Enjoy your quick, very green and healthy meal!
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