how to cook trader joe's cauliflower gnocchi

You’ve seen the memes and they’re not far from the truth: “Use cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes, rice, and any joy in your life. You have no friends now, there is only cauliflower.” 

Cauliflower has been having a big moment over the last few years — for a vegetable. We wouldn’t quite call it ‘the new kale’, but even Oprah is in on the trend with her ‘O’ cauliflower crust frozen pizzas. So, yeah – it’s a thing.

The latest form of this cruciferous obsession comes to us as Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Low-carb and gluten-free, the gnocchi are made with cauliflower, cassava flour, a little salt and little else. Wildly popular for the grocer, healthy as can be — but incredibly difficult to make correctly, according to the internet.

Caitlin Lee, the healthy foodie blogger behind Public Lives Secret Recipes and PLSR editor Rob Lee teamed up for a tutorial on how to make Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi to perfection and we knew you’d need to know…

It’s likely you’ve experienced it: You’re waiting anxiously for the Trader Joe’s employee to come out of the back because you asked if they had any more cauliflower gnocchi in stock. If he comes back empty-handed, you’ll be crushed. If he comes back with the box, amazing. Wait, but then what? You bring it home, follow the instructions on the bag telling you to cook it like you would regular pasta and end up with a dish closer to mashed potatoes than gnocchi. Devastating.

Yes, the cauliflower gnocchi craze is all the hype right now and the hype is real — if it’s cooked right, that is. Leave it to the people to find a way to make this work (after all, it tastes just like gnocchi but is mostly cauliflower. We need this to work). Turns out, you can cook it stovetop with a splash of EVOO over medium-high heat until crispy on both sides and get a delicious result. But that means watching the pan constantly to make sure each side gets cooked through without burning — it’s a tight window. And if you’re trying to sauté veggies at the same time to go along with it, well, we just don’t need that kind of multitasking stress in our lives.

Try this oven-baked route instead! By baking the gnocchi instead of prepping it in a pan, you get the same result with far less effort and headache. Pair it with the simple sage butter parmesan sauce and then pretend you’re in Italy for an evening…

Serves 2-3


1 bag cauliflower gnocchi
2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp sage, chopped
parmesan, freshly grated
freshly ground pepper, optional


Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place gnocchi onto tray one inch apart. Bake for 30 minutes, flip and bake another 20 minutes.

When gnocchi has about 5 minutes left, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. As butter starts to simmer, add in chopped sage leaves and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove gnocchi from oven and immediately plate. Pour butter sage sauce over each plate and top with fresh parmesan. Serve and enjoy!

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