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Trader Joe’s is filled with so many things that have brought immense joy to my life: Two-Buck Chuck, Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, the friendliest employees on the planet—the list goes on. But my all-time favorite Trader Joe’s product has to be the cauliflower gnocchi. I eat it at least once a week (in a myriad of different ways!) and it has truly changed my life. The pillowy nuggets are the perfect building block for a variety of meals and I’ve been inspired by so many Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi recipe ideas that I just had to share my favorites.
The frozen gnocchi pieces are ridiculously easy to cook, which makes them perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. But if you’ve never had cauliflower gnocchi before, the first thing to know is that you should not follow the directions on the package. It involves steaming them with water, making them far too mushy, in my opinion. Instead, I just sauté them in a non-stick pan for five to eight minutes, and voila! Dinner is served.
Plus, at 300 calories for the entire bag, I’m able to eat a lot more without feeling as stuffed as I would with traditional gnocchi—and your girl likes to eat. Trader Joe’s is also a magical place that’s filled with so many sauces and pre-cut foods that make spicing up my cauliflower gnocchi recipes a breeze. Trust me, you’ve got options!
Below, you’ll find my all-time favorite Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi recipes that deserve a place in your gnocci rotation. I don’t claim to be a great photographer, but I do know a thing or two about making good gnocci.
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1. Gnocchi with Oil & Parmesan
The simplest—but one of the tastiest—cauliflower gnocchi recipes I make requires simply smothering it with olive oil and a small mountain of parmesan cheese after it’s cooked. If I’m really feeling fancy I’ll use the truffle oil that I got at Home Goods and grate some fresh parm on there. It really elevates an otherwise simple meal.
2. Vegan Kale Pesto Gnocchi
Another Trader Joe’s item I can’t live without? The Vegan Kale Pesto. It’s light and lemony—and combined with the cauliflower gnocchi it’s *chef’s kiss.* I’ll usually sauté some mushrooms and spinach, heat up some frozen peas and mix it all together for the ultimate easy dinner. I have this on a weekly basis.
3. Air Fryer Cauliflower Gnocchi
While sautéing is my preferred method of cooking cauli gnocchi, air fryer fanatics will love that you can crisp them up in there instead. This recipe from Shuangy’s Kitchen Sink is super easy to follow and takes less than 15 minutes to yield crispy cauliflower potato nuggets. This creates a chewier texture compared to the stovetop method, which makes them ideal for dipping into marinara, cheese sauce, or hummus as a quick snack.
4. Cinnamon Swirl Cauliflower Gnocchi
While I tried Trader Joe’s chocolate gnocchi—and hated it—dessert gnocchi definitely should be more of a thing. The cauliflower gnocchi doesn’t have an especially strong flavor on its own, making it the perfect thing to dress up for a sweet treat. I present to you: cinnamon swirl gnocchi.
After cooking the cauliflower gnocchi, melt a tablespoon of butter into the pan. On the side, create a cinnamon sugar mixture of one tablespoon of cinnamon and three tablespoons of sugar. When the butter is melted, add your desired amount of topping and mix everything together until it’s gooey and caramelized. It’s delightfully sweet and will change the way you look at gnocchi.
5. Cauliflower Gnocchi Croutons
Trader Joe’s has a wide array of pre-made soups that I find myself reaching for as an easy lunch option (My current favorites are the tomato feta soup and the unexpected cheddar soup). But, the soup alone usually doesn’t fill me up, so I need to add a bit more substance to it. Instead of toasting a slice of sourdough, I’ve gotten into the habit of crisping up half a bag of cauliflower gnocchi and using them as croutons in my soup. Unconventional, perhaps, but I highly recommend it.
6. Cauliflower Gnocchi Sheet Pan Dinner
Another way you can cook the cauliflower gnocchi is by baking it. You can make your dinner even easier by streamlining it into a sheet pan dinner alongside peppers, onions, zucchini and mushrooms—or whatever veggies you’ve got in your fridge! Adding the vegetables really beefs up the meal and it couldn’t be simpler to throw together. This sheet pan recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron is my go-to.
7. Brown Butter Sage Cauliflower Gnocchi
When I want a more elevated meal, I take out the big guns and make a brown butter sage sauce and serve it on the gnocchi with some butternut squash. It’s actually really simple, but feels like something you would eat at a fancy restaurant.
Here’s how to do it: First, brown ½ stick of butter in a medium-sized skillet and melt it over medium heat until it becomes a toasted brown (about 5 minutes). Add in one cup of cubed butternut squash and reduce the heat to medium/low and cook until squash is soft enough to be pierced with a fork (usually about five minutes). Increase heat to medium and add in ¼ cup of fresh sage, along with a package of cauliflower gnocchi, cooking until the gnocchi is cooked through and slightly brown (about five more minutes). Simple right?
8. Cauliflower Gnocchi Mac & Cheese
For the ultimate comfort meal, I use TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi as a base for mac and cheese. It’s a slightly lighter version of the classic comfort dish, but still packed with ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. This recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain is insanely good. While it calls for four bags of cauliflower gnocchi, I just quarter the recipe for a single serving.