Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach

Did you know that during the early 30's when Popeye was becoming popular, spinach consumption was up 33%? Just watching Popeye get his superhero strength from canned spinach made kids want to eat spinach themselves. Didn't you? It was pretty amazing what that spinach could do. I remember the first time I watched something with Popeye in it and wondering if I could get my mom to buy that stuff in a can that he's always eating. I'm sure I would have been pretty disappointed the first time I tried to squeeze the can and make the spinach pop out, not to mention that canned spinach is not what I would call spinach's finest form. Still, it's amazing that a TV show could make people eat a food that is so often on the "yuck" list. It makes me think that if Michelle Obama wants American youth to eat better, maybe she should have someone make a cartoon character that fights bad guys with foods high in fiber and antioxidants.

(I'm only partially kidding. E-mail me, Michelle, if you want some story ideas.)

Despite the fact that spinach can't make you dodge bullets and give you superhero strength, it still is pretty amazing stuff, and even though it is on a lot of people's "yuck" list, it really doesn't deserve to be there. There are so many ways to prepare it that I'm sure there has to be some way that is acceptable to pickier eaters. Even if you have to blend it into one of those green monster shakes. My favorite way to eat spinach is tied between eaten fresh in a salad with strawberries and poppyseed dressing and cooked down with butter and garlic. I had a lot of spinach salads this summer, and now that it's fall I'm leaning more toward the cooked option. 

I love this dish because it turns that cooked spinach into a full meal and it takes little to no time to get together. The browned butter, garlic and Parmesan add great flavor and the pine nuts give the dish a nice crunch. If you are feeling ambitious and want to make your own gnocchi, feel free. Since this is usually a quick weeknight meal I tend to buy the packaged stuff that takes all of three minutes to cook. In all, it's a fast, easy, tasty meal that will get you out of the kitchen quickly and on your way to fighting bad guys, saving Olive Oyl, and using your superhero strength to make the world a better place. 

Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach


  • 1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts to pan; cook 3 minutes or until butter and nuts are lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute.
  3. Add gnocchi and spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Prep Time: 1 min Cook Time: 10 min Ready in: 11 min Yield: 4 servings (one cup each)

Recipe Source: Jackie Mills, MS, RD on myrecipes.com

22 Click For Comments:

You had me at brown butter :)  Seriously, though, I love the addition of spinach.  My husband wouldn't touch the dish, but that's ok, more for me!

I've been wanting to try gnocchi, but I don't think I ever have...you have inspired me...I MUST try it! Love the addition of spinach too!

Oh, and I have a giveaway going on right now if you're interested!

I can honestly say I have never tried canned spinach!  But I love spinach...raw or cooked.  It's one of my favorite things  ( I also like to use zucchini alot ) to throw in to bulk up higher calorie things and make them more diet friendly.  I even like to put raw spinach at the bottom of my pasta dish, letting the heat from the pasta and sauce just wilt it ever so slightly!   Chopped up fine enough, it can even pass for parsley!  I think I would adore this dish! 

I'm so happy to hear so many great ways to use spinach!

Thanks for the heads up, Charissa! Heading over there now.

This was definitely made on night when my husband already had dinner plans.:)

What a beautiful dish! I've never made gnocchi before... but I always think they look awesome. 

That idea about the cartoon is...probably the only way that's ever going to be effective in getting kids to eat veggies.  Not even joking...you should email Michelle Obama.

I really love spinach. It has calcium and iron and so many minerals that I desperately need in my life!  And butter and gnocchi...come on...HEAVEN.

Thanks, Amy. I am extremely spoiled to have Photoshop, which means I can adjust color levels and get the photos to look (hopefully) like they did in real life. Of course, it can also be a curse because sometimes I'm touching things up my laptop on a dark bus and when I see the pictures on a real computer they are neon bright. Whoops. The goal is naturalism, not the 80's. :) If you get your hands on a copy of Photoshop I'd be happy to give you some tips on the few things I know how to do.

I actually have photoshop and while I'm really good at using it to do certain things, editing photos is not one of my fortes. I would love if you could give me a few tips :) Also, do take your photos in daylight?

I do take them in daylight as much as I can. With winter coming that might not always be possible. I'll e-mail you soon with some quick tips.

Love this.  I make something similar with broccoli rabe.  Always looking for new ways to prepare gnocchi - we love it!

This looks wonderful.  Spinach is a favoritwe of mine and it's great to see new ways to cook it.

Ooh yum! I love spinach and this looks delicious. The plating and photo are also gorgeous, as always. Well done! I can't wait to try it. 

I love spinach! What a great post, and beautiful photos. I would love to see a pull-back sometime of the set-up you use to take your pictures. It looks like you have a lot of natural light coming through! Keep up the good work. I love your blog.

Mmm brown butter!!!!  This looks fantastic Nicole! I adore spinach and am always adding it to recipes as I love the flavour and touch of green it adds.

That just looks terrific.   I bet even my picky eaters would love it. 

Wow this is a perfect meal for a nice fall evening.  I also love that it's a simple dish for the middle of the week.  Can't wait to make this.

Looks delicious.  Your pictures are always soo beautiful - keep up the good work!

I really need to try browned butter! This sounds delicious as usual. How do you get the colors in your pics so bright and vibrant! I can't seem to do that...

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover