If you are remotely interested in cooking, healthy eating or even just Trader Joe’s, I am sure that you have heard about, tried or become addicted to their Cauliflower Gnocchi by now. The whole execution of the product is amazing. They are under $3 a bag each. As long as they are in stock at TJ’s, you can stock up and keep them frozen for months to come. Plus, Trader Joe’s of course have tons of other ingredients available that will help to elevate your cauliflower gnocchi. Since TJ’s is, in my opinion, the easiest place to shop for groceries as a college student, I have spent lots of time trying out different recipes of cauliflower gnocchi over the years. Today, I am going to share some with you. Disclaimer: I am in no way a chef/ these recipes are not meant to be followed exactly, but more for the general idea.
First things first- they is a lot of debate about the best way to make cauliflower gnocchi (even though there seems to be a general consensus that the instructions on the bag are the wrong way). I have gone through different waves of what I think is best, and these are my two favorite options. 1. Put some oil of your choice on the pan (I use avocado oil), let it heat up, then throw the bag in. Leave the gnocchi on one side then flip it once it seems like it is cooked halfway. 2. Start the same with with oil, then throw in the frozen bag. Start using a spatula and stir around the gnocchi constantly, allowing it to fry on all sides equally, until it is done. This is the method I am currently using!
The Classic: Red Sauce
This may be a given when you think of cauliflower gnocchi, or any pasta, but a classic crisp gnocchi with one of Trader Joe’s countless red sauce options is heavenly, and a super fast and easy meal. My favorite is their Arrabbiata sauce, and I add some extra red pepper flakes to make it even spicier. If I have more time, I like to make a version of my own red sauce. I get the fire roasted diced tomatoes which are canned, heat those up with some oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on a saucepan then add the gnocchi in later. This is a really easy way to act like you are a famous chef in front of your friends, and makes for a delicious meal.
Another Easy Dinner Fix- Pesto
This one, again, is less of a recipe and more of a suggestion. I personally love to have pesto pasta, and the Trader Joe’s vegan pesto has changed the way I view pesto. I am not vegan, but do like to avoid dairy when possible. Trader Joe’s has a Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto that tastes like the real thing, and in my opinion, even better. It is not as oily as regular pesto, and lasts longer in the fridge. Just add a scoop of this to your cooked cauliflower gnocchi, and you’re set for the night! Or, if you’re feeling like adding something to the dish, some chicken apple sausage and sliced cherry tomatoes are a great addition!
“Cacio e Pepe”
Now, this is not a real cacio e pepe dish, but it does the trick. For this, I use a big wad of Earth Balance, a splash of some type of milk (I use Oat, but regular is good t00), a lot of black pepper and a hefty addition of grated parmesan cheese into a sauce pan and let it become a thicker sauce. Add in the cook cauliflower gnocchi, a sprinkle of black pepper and parmesan on top, and voila! A fabulous, delicious dish that is fast and easy!
Pumpkin Mac n Cheese
I adapted this recipe from Rachl Mansfield from her “Crispy Cauliflower Gnocchi Mac And Cheese (Vegan + Nut Free)” recipe. Instead of using either sweet potato, carrot or butternut squash puree, I opted for the canned pumpkin from Trader Joe’s. I mixed it with the full fat coconut milk, nutritional yeast, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder and black pepper in a bowl since I do not have a blender or food processor in my dorm. I poured this sauce into the same pan as the cauliflower gnocchi as soon as it was ready, and let it simmer and latch onto the pieces. I added some red pepper flakes on top, too! My roommates were all confused while I was making this, but all agreed that it tasted amazing (and nothing like they expected). Definitely give this a try, even if you opt out of using pumpkin- you will not regret it!
Sweet Cauliflower Gnocchi
The newest trend of cauliflower gnocchi is definitely an unexpected one. I have heard of frying them to be tater-tot-like finger foods and baking them into dishes, but now we are onto a new fad: sweet gnocchi. I was extremely skeptical about this trend, but forced myself to try a very easy one: cinnamon sugar cauliflower gnocchi. I first saw this recipe on @lovelydelights Instagram page. She uses an air fryer to make her gnocchi, but since I do not have one I stuck to the good old saucepan but used coconut oil instead of avocado for this dish. I started to fry them, tossed them in a mix of 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cinnamon, then put them back on the pan. Once done, I sprinkled more of this mixture on top. Also, I made an icing drizzle from combining powdered sugar and oat milk. The result was incredibly delicious. It is a perfect sweet tooth craving fixer. It is not too sweet, but definitely gets the job done. I can’t wait to keep making these for me and my roommates as an easy dessert when we have run out of Ben & Jerrys and candy.
These are just some of my suggestions for easy dinners that usually cost under $10 for ingredients, and taste delicious without causing a huge mess. With cauliflower gnocchi as such a craze, there are countless recipes using the ingredient on google and Instagram. If you are as obsessed with it as I am, I would recommend following @cauliflowergnocchi on Instagram to gain everyday inspiration for you cauli dishes.