It’s definitely a bare bonestime in PGEW land. Since I no longer qualify for food stamp assistance because of the temp job, I don’t have the food cushion I was able to fall back on the past couple of months. And I’m still trying to catch up on rent and other bills from December’s pneumonia and last month’s bronchitis (the life of a temp is hard if you’re sick: no sick time to cover days lost and no health insurance)! Needless to say, I’m glad I stocked up on a lot of my bare bones essentials now that I’m out of “fun” ingredients, because the next few weeks are going to be extremely tight.
But there’s no need to start panicking! You all know I’m a resourceful gal and I know I can do wonders with what I have left until my next shopping trip. Today I came across a package of gnocchi I’d forgotten I had, but much to my chagrin, I had already finished the last of my heirloom tomato mix so my favorite garlicky-tomatoey gnocchi dish was not gonna happen. Poked around in the fridge & freezer to see how I could make the best out of this dilemma and decided to go a completely different route and use gnocchi in a salad. I’d never done this before but it seemed like a good idea, and with a few random frozen veggies and a killer creamy dressing idea, I got to work.
This dish is pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few things to note to make sure it comes out well. First, be sure not to overcook your gnocchi. I know this is a given, but sometimes one can get distracted and things get a little overdone. You want to make sure the gnocchi retains its slightly chewy texture rather than being soft & mushy for this salad, so be sure to follow the package instructions to a tee. In terms of the dressing, be sure to add your salt & pepper AFTER you mix the main ingredients together. Depending on the type of feta you use (sheep’s milk v. cow; low fat v. regular), the saltiness & natural brininess of the feta will vary significantly. If you season too soon you’re likely to end up with an extremely salty or an extremely bland dressing, neither of which is bueno. Lastly, be sure to add your dressing to the gnocchi when it’s still warm, so it will really absorb the flavor of the dressing!
Okay, enough with the cook’s notes; let’s check out the recipe!
Gnocchi Salad with Feta-Garlic Dressing (makes 3 side servings; total cost per serving: $2.80)
3/4 c small broccoli florets
3/4 c frozen green peas (thawed)
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c finely crumbled feta
1/2 c non-fat yogurt
1/4 c non-fat milk
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 T lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Prepare the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients except for the salt & pepper until completely combined. Check for flavoring and adjust accordingly with salt & pepper (though you may only need the pepper). Set aside.
Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions; drain and set aside. In a large bowl combine the gnocchi, broccoli, peas, onions and about half the dressing (you will have leftover dressing, but that’s okay!). Toss together until everything is completely combined, cover and refrigerate (or set aside if you like your salads at room temperature). Serve on a bed of fresh baby spinach or on its own, garnish with extra ground black pepper and enjoy!