Malfatti leader brand

With autumn almost behind us I’ve been on the look out for new nourishing winter recipes to try and found this gem published by LeaderBrand for spinach and ricotta dumplings served in a tasty Italian style tomato sauce. The recipe itself was created by The Messy Cheffy so we can be confident based on Ali’s previous creations that these will be amazing!

There’s no fiddly, time-consuming wrapping of mixture required with this style of dumplings, with just one hour to prepare and cook the malfatti balls and sauce and you’ll be ready to serve up this delicious plant-based meal.

Get inspired by more of Ali’s beautiful plant-based creations by following The Messy Cheffy on Instagram, or visit LeaderBrand on Instagram here.

Malfatti Italian Spinach Dumplings

Prep time: 40 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves: 4 people | Difficulty: Moderate


Tomato sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 x 400g tins crushed or cherry tomatoes

2 cloves garlic minced

½ brown onion diced

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp balsamic vinegar



1/4 cup basil leaves


2 x 120g bags LeaderBrand baby spinach

500g ricotta

80g grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

1 egg yolk

100g flour

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup torn basil leaves



Olive oil

To Serve:

Basil leaves

¼ cup grated parmesan

LeaderBrand Wild Rocket

Preheat oven at 180 degrees.


To make the tomato sauce:

Crush the garlic and finely dice the onion. Heat a large pan or pot with olive oil. Sweat the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes. stirring often. If the sauce is too thick add a splash of water. Transfer the sauce to a blender. Add the basil leaves and blitz till smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set-aside

To make the malfatti:

Drain the ricotta cheese: place the ricotta cheese into a sieve lined with a cheese cloth or clean tea towel & place the sieve over a bowl to drain out the excess liquid for 20 minutes. Bring together the sides of the cloth and gently squeeze the ricotta cheese over the bowl.

Wilt the spinach by placing it into a hot pan, add a splash of water, pinch of salt and cover with a lid for 30 seconds remove the lid and stir. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and allow to cool. Squeeze or press out the excess water from the spinach. Chop the spinach.

In a bowl add the ricotta, grated parmesan cheese, spinach, eggs, nutmeg, flour, basil leaves and salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 20 small balls and set aside. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Fill a large pot with water and season with salt. Bring the water to the boil. When the water is boiling carefully lower the malfatti into the pot. Cook the malfatti for 2-3 minutes, cooked malfatti will float. Cook the malfatti in batches, to avoid overcrowding the pot. Using a slotted spoon remove the malfatti from the pot and set aside to drain and steam.


Reheat the tomato sauce if necessary. Pour the tomato sauce into a large oven proof dish, place the malfatti on top of the tomato sauce. Drizzle the malfatti with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes till slightly golden brown on top. 

Best served immediately. Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese & crispy rocket salad.