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Skip the directions on the bag and try these 3 delicious methods for how to cook Trader Joe’s Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi instead. No thawing required!

Bag of Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

Unless you only follow dogs that dress better then you do on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen Trader Joe’s instant cult classic – frozen cauliflower gnocchi – being gushed about on social media sometime in the past year. The product launched last spring and immediately started flying off the shelves, or rather, out of the freezer. Stores couldn’t keep them in stock and I even saw limits on how many bags you could buy at one time! Not only are cauliflower gnocchi a low-carb, gluten-free version of regular potato gnocchi that taste faintly of roasted cauliflower, but they sell for under $3/bag at my local Trader Joe’s. The gluten-free potato gnocchi I currently buy at the regular grocery store costs $7.99. You know what we call that? An upgrade!

Gnocchi is one of my very favorite foods and traditionally it’s a soft dough made from potatoes, flour and eggs that’s cut into delicious little dumplings then boiled or pan-fried. Trader Joe’s version trades potatoes for cauliflower, all-purpose flour (not GF) for cassava flour (GF), and egg for, well, no egg. Do you know what that means? My current gluten, dairy, egg and peanut-free diet can accommodate ALL THE FROZEN CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI I CAN HANDLE – WHEE! Ahem. That is to say, I’ve been eating it like a crazy person lately, and you will too after reading this post.

So why the post? Well, for as many people who’ve shared their excitement over the cauliflower gnocchi is an equal amount of people warning against using the cooking instructions on the bag, which result in sticky, gooey gnocchi. Gross! The need for alternative cooking instructions is real, so today I’m sharing how to cook Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi in three different ways – pan fry, Air Fry, and roasting – that result in the most delicious little side dish or dinner. No thawing required. Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Oh my word, no matter which method you choose, you’re going to love these gnocchi!

(PS: need to share two, new-to-me Trader Joe finds: Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner, and Soft Batch Snickerdoodle Cookies. The shampoo and conditioner are laced with tea tree and peppermint and make my scalp wonderfully tingly, while the cookies are not only gluten-free and vegan, but some of the yummiest treats I’ve had in awhile!)

#1: Pan-Fry Method

The pan-fry method is the one I use most often – just pour a bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi into a skillet then let it sizzle with your favorite fat for a few minutes. Cam’s and my current favorite “recipe” is sauting the gnocchi in butter (been loving this vegan butter a reader recommended to me!) then finishing with fresh garlic, salt, and chives and serving as a side dish with dinner. Obsessed. The gnocchi can also be used in place of traditional potato gnocchi in these recipes:

Plate of pan fried Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

Method:

  • Heat 2 Tablespoons fat such as butter, vegan butter, extra virgin olive oil or bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen gnocchi then spread into an even layer in the skillet. Let gnocchi saute undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes, then flip using a large spatula and continue to saute, shaking the skillet every minute or so, until gnocchi are golden brown all over. Do not attempt to flip the gnocchi for the first time until they are seared and golden brown on the bottom. The gnocchi will “unstick” themselves from the skillet when they’re ready to be flipped.

Why I Like It:

  • Great texture – crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
  • Very versatile – serve as a main with sausage, greens, vegetables, etc., or as a side dish with dinner.
  • Quick and easy – 7-8 minutes start to finish.
  • Did I mention the texture?! Love that crunch!

How to pan fry Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

Here’s how I made the Pan-Fried Garlic-Herb-Butter Cauliflower Gnocchi dish in these photos:

  • Cook gnocchi per instructions above using butter then season with salt and add 3 cloves pressed or minced garlic to the skillet. Saute for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is very fragrant, then scoop onto plates and top with chopped fresh chives. MMM! These even reheat well.

Plate of pan fried Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

 

#2: Air Fryer Method

When Ben got me an Air Fryer a few years ago I admit to not being immediately thrilled. The thing takes up some serious space on the countertop and I didn’t think it’d get much use. So wrong! Yes, it takes up a corner of the kitchen but we use that bad boy at least 4 times a week, it heats up in just a couple minutes, and cooks food in half the time as an oven. For example, if I want to make sweet potato fries in the oven I have to wait 10 minutes for it to reach 425 degrees then another 20-30 minutes while the fries bake. The Air Fryer heats up in 2 minutes and cooks my homemade fries in 10. Boom.

Anyway, the Air Fryer also cooks these frozen cauliflower gnocchi so well! The gnocchi take on a nice, dry and sturdy (for lack of a better word) texture on the outside which makes them perfect for mixing with marinara, pesto, or cheese sauce, or even for picking up and eating like tater tots.

Plate of Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi made in the air fryer

Method:

  • Preheat Air Fryer to 390 degrees (or whatever temperature your Air Fryer suggests for cooking frozen foods.) Spray the basket with nonstick spray (I use an avocado oil mister from Costco,) add the frozen gnocchi into the basket in a single layer, then spray with more cooking spray and cook for 10 minutes, or until golden brown, shaking the basket halfway through to avoid sticking.

How to cook Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi using the Air Fryer

Why I Like It:

  • Cooks quickly in just 10 minutes with zero fuss or extra dishes.
  • Cooked gnocchi holds up well to being covered in sauces – marinara, pesto, cheese, etc.
  • Cooked gnocchi are sturdy and can be eaten like tater tots! Dip in ketchup, ranch, bbq sauce, etc.

Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi cooked in the air fryer

If your kids are tired of the same old spaghetti, try stirring the cooked gnocchi into warmed marinara sauce then topping with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if you please. This is a fun and easy way to get Lincoln to eat his vegetables.

Plate of Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi Marinara

 

#3: Roasting Method

The roasting method is great because, like Air Frying, it’s almost completely hands off. Roast the frozen gnocchi on a sheet pan alongside meat and other vegetables, or by itself before tossing with butter, marinara, pesto, etc. Super easy!

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Pour frozen gnocchi onto the pan then spread into an even layer and mist with nonstick spray. Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.

Why I Like It:

  • Simple + low fuss.
  • Very versatile – roast alongside any protein and/or vegetables you like.
  • Gnocchi get nice and crispy on the outside, while staying soft on the inside.

How to roast Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

Here’s how I made the Sheet-Pan Italian Sausage and Peppers with Cauliflower Gnocchi dish in these photos:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Add 1 each sliced onion (yellow or sweet), green bell pepper and red bell pepper to the center of the pan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season generously with garlic salt, and then toss to coat. Spread into an even layer then roast for 10 minutes. Add 4 sweet Italian sausages cut into fifths plus a bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi then stir and spread back into an even layer. Roast for 20 more minutes, or until gnocchi are golden brown and sausages and vegetables are cooked through, stirring halfway through.

This dish is good. I mean, so, so, SO GOOD!!

Roasted Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

3 Ways to Cook Trader Joe’s Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi

Description

Skip the directions on the bag and try these 3 delicious methods for how to cook Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi instead. No thawing required!

Ingredients

  • 12oz package frozen Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

Directions

  • Pan-fry method: Heat 2 Tablespoons fat such as butter, vegan butter, extra virgin olive oil, or bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen gnocchi then spread into an even layer in the skillet. Let gnocchi saute undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes, then flip using a large spatula and continue to saute, shaking the skillet every minute or so, until gnocchi are golden brown all over. Do not attempt to flip the gnocchi for the first time until they are seared and golden brown on the bottom. The gnocchi will "unstick" themselves from the skillet when they're ready to be flipped.
  • Air Fryer method: Preheat Air Fryer to 390 degrees (or whatever temperature your model suggests for cooking frozen foods.) Spray the basket with nonstick spray then add frozen gnocchi to basket in a single layer, spray with nonstick spray, then cook for 10 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping/stirring the gnocchi halfway through.
  • Roasting method: Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Pour frozen gnocchi onto the pan then spread into an even layer and spray with nonstick spray. Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.

Notes

Recipe ideas:

  • Pan-Fried Garlic-Herb-Butter Cauliflower Gnocchi: cook gnocchi per pan-fry instructions above using butter then season with salt and add 3 cloves pressed or minced garlic to the skillet. Saute for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is very fragrant, then scoop onto plates and top with chopped fresh chives.
  • Air-Fried Cauliflower Gnocchi Marinara: Cook gnocchi per Air Fryer instructions above then add gnocchi to a small pot with warmed marinara sauce. Stir to coat then scoop into bowls and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
  • Sheet-Pan Italian Sausage and Peppers with Cauliflower Gnocchi: Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Add 1 each sliced onion, green bell pepper and red bell pepper to the center of the pan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season generously with garlic salt, and then toss to coat. Spread into an even layer then roast for 10 minutes. Add 4 sweet Italian sausages cut into fifths plus a bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi then spread back into an even layer. Roast for 20 more minutes, or until gnocchi are golden brown and sausages and vegetables are cooked through, stirring halfway through.
  • Read post text for more recipe ideas.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Photo collage of how to cook Trader Joe's Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi