Millet gnocchi with white bean sauce: gluten-free and nutrient-dense recipe
Time: prep. 20 mins
cook. millet 15-30 mins
cook. gnocchi 3-5 mins
Yields: 2 portions
Do you like millet? Did you know that it is a cereal with several positive characteristics for both the body and the planet? I don’t want to repeat all the praise given to millet in the specific article but some things should be reiterated without hesitation:
– it is both resilient and sustainable, as it does not require excessive irrigation or artificial fertilizers;
– it is gluten-free, making it suitable for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity;
– contains no lectins, so is also suitable for people suffering from chronic inflammation;
– it is the ally of hair and nails, which is why it is used as bird feed (beautiful, shiny feathers);
– despite its high carbohydrate content, it has significant hypoglycemic effects, making it an important aid for diabetics and people with insulin disorders.
Moreover, the millet gnocchi recipe is ideal for highlighting the versatility of this cereal, unjustly considered to be ‘minor’ for too long.
This versatility proves that it has nothing to envy to other “noble” cereals; it convinces and surprises both in sweet recipes (as in the citrus-flavored millet cake) and in this savory version.
for millet gnocchi or dumplings
150 g millet
400 ml vegetable stock or simple water
50 ml tomato puree
rice flour (or, if you do not suffer from celiac disease, wheat flour) enough to make a non-sticking dough – approx. 80 g
a pinch of turmeric (optional)
a pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
30 g of flour for preparation of gnocchi
for the white bean sauce
250 g cooked beans and a little cooking water
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic, crushed 10 minutes before cooking (find out why in the “Extra tip” section)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sage, bay leaves or rosemary (optional)
Wash the millet well, until the drainage water is clear. I prefer to let it soak for at least an hour to reduce the concentration of its anti-nutrients and make it easier to cook. Rinse it one last time.
Then bring 400 ml of vegetable stock and tomato puree to a boil and cook the millet for about 15 minutes in a pressure cooker, or 25-30 minutes in a normal pot, until it has absorbed all the water (be sure to add more hot vegetable stock if it dries out too much).
Garlic is a must in sustainable diets with few animal foods, as it makes any recipe tasty and it is very economical.
This pungent food is rich in antioxidants, also known as polyphenols, which protect the body from free radicals.
In addition, thanks to its allicin content, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-thrombotic properties, it is a true natural antibiotic.
Allicin is activated from alliin by its enzyme, alliinase, which is released when we crush garlic and thus break down the cell walls that store it.
Alliin itself is resistant to high cooking temperatures, only the activating enzyme deteriorates after just one minute of cooking!
So to make the most of the properties of garlic, first crush it, wait about 10 minutes for the enzyme to allow the allicin to form and only then cook to your heart’s content
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In the meantime, in a frying pan, brown the garlic, crushed 10 minutes earlier, and the diced onion in the oil over a low heat together with two sage or bay leaves.
Then add the cooked beans, with about 50-70 ml of cooking water; wait about ten minutes for the beans to absorb the flavors.
When the millet has absorbed all the water, wait until it cools down so that you don’t burn yourself by touching it with your hands; then transfer it on a pastry board or in a bowl and mix it together with the rice flour, salt and pepper, nutmeg (you can also use a food processor, but it shouldn’t become a puree); mix well with your hands and form the millet gnocchi by making first some “ropes” from the dough as it has been explained here or by doing simply small dumplings.
This time I wanted to try “big gnocchi“, creating some balls as big as a walnut, but you are free to make beautiful and traditional little gnocchi.
Finally, boil some water in a large pot in which to cook your millet gnocchi.
While you’re waiting, puree some of the beans with a food processor; leave the rest whole. This is just a gastronomic suggestion – it makes no difference whether you choose homogenized beans or whole beans.
Finally heat up your sauce.
It takes about 4-5 minutes to cook “my” gnocchi; otherwise 3-4 minutes will be more than enough.
I’m sure you all know the golden rule: the gnocchi are ready when they come to the surface.
Take them out with a skimmer and serve them hot on top of the bean cream and a drizzle of raw olive oil.
A satiating dish, rich in fiber, slow-digesting carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals that combines taste with affordability and without feeling ‘guilty’.
However, a salad lover like me is never satisfied with the fiber and prebiotics of the main meal! So if you share my opinion, I suggest you take a look at these 5 salads, one more succulent and original than the other, to reinforce the pleasure, increasing even more the sense of satiety and an effective absorption of iron*, essential for well-being.
Enjoy your meal and good revolution to you all
(*) Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419