Cauliflower gnocchi with tomato and courgette ragout

Week one of the Cape Town Vegan Challenge officially done. It started well (with this dish) and ended pretty darn deliciously with this dish. The week has gone well and quickly – I can’t believe we’re a third of the way in already.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is finding a milk to use with my coffee – talk about first world problems. Almond and soy milk have gone down with less rapturous applause – next on the hit list is rice or oat milk.

Meals have been (mostly) good – with only one less-than-fantastic-meal – we’re feeling good and eating well. We delved into the Fry’s range for the first time this weekend – trying their braai grillers (fantastic) and pepper steak pie (average). In general, we’re trying to keep away from meat-replacers, and simply eat more vegetables.

We are feeling healthier, losing weight (YAY! I know eating vegan is not a weight-loss aim, but with 2.4kg down since we’ve started, I’m pretty thrilled) and running faster. Healthy things happening in the Bresler home. I feel I need to give our ‘boosters’ their due for this – we’ve been religiously taking our pills each morning – I think they’re also to thank for leaving me the only one un-touched by the sickness that’s make its way around my office. The culprits : Wellness High Potency Vitamin B ComplexWellness Essential Multi Vitamins and Wellness Super Green Foods. Healthy from the inside, out, it seems.

Back to this recipe – let’s be honest – there’s no need to make your gnocchi from anything other than potatoes, but cauliflower makes an interesting change and increases your vegetable quota for the day. Worth trying.

Ingredients:

For the cauliflower gnocchi:
1 head of cauliflower, steamed or boiled until very tender
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of flour- of enough to make a soft dough
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil to fry

For the ragout:
1 tin whole tomatoes
5 courgettes, thickly sliced
1/2 onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
6 large black mushrooms, thickly sliced
300ml vegetable stock
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil to serve

Method:

Place the cauliflower and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a little water, if needed, to make a smooth paste. Add the salt and flour – 1/4 cup at a time – and continue to process until a soft dough is formed. Add a little more water, if needed.

Turn out on a floured surface and knead briefly until dough is smooth and soft. Cut dough into four pieces. Take one and cover the remaining three with a damp tea towel. Roll dough out into a rope approximately 3 cm, then cut into 3cm pieces. Press each piece down with a fork, then set aside and repeat with remaining dough. When ready to use, place the olive oil or coconut oil in a non stick pan or pot, and fry the gnocchi until lightly browned on both sides.

For the ragout, place the olive or coconut oil in a non-stick pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and courgettes and fry until starting to colour and soften. Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock and sugar, reduce to a medium heat and allow to gently simmer for 15 minutes – until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste.

Serve the ragout with the warm cauliflower gnocchi on top, scattered with basil leaves.

Thanks to Wellness Warehouse for helping us be healthier – and making the challenge easier.

Images taken with a Canon EOS 600D from Loot.co.za

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