Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pesto
This Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pesto shows you how to make the best crispy cauliflower gnocchi using Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi! This quick and easy lunch or dinner comes together in about 20 minutes and with just FOUR ingredients.
Oh, Trader Joe’s, how I love thee. The king of delicious snacks released this cauliflower gnocchi a few years ago, and it’s been a HIT. It spent a long time constantly out of stock, but these days I’m always able to find it, and I always stock up so I can make this meal when I’m hangry and need food ASAP.
The best part? Their cauliflower gnocchi is low-carb, Whole30-approved, gluten-free, and made with just five ingredients. You can cook it straight from frozen too, making it such a perfect quick vegan dinner.
It’s about time I shared this recipe for Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pesto with you – it’s been my go-to quick and easy dinner for at least a few years now. It comes together so quickly, but there are some tips you need to make this the BEST version of cauliflower gnocchi you’ve ever had.
The key is in the crispiness of the cauliflower gnocchi. Let’s get into my best cauliflower gnocchi cooking tips before we get into how to make this pesto cauliflower gnocchi dish.
How to make the crispiest cauliflower gnocchi
- DON’T follow the directions on the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi bag. I’m telling you this firmly. Just don’t do it. Pretend those instructions are not even there.
- Use a non-stick skillet so they don’t stick to the pan! I love my ScanPan and always use it to cook my cauliflower gnocchi.
- Heat oil in your skillet until it’s HOT and shimmering! I like using avocado oil here. A tablespoon or two will do the trick.
- Put the frozen gnocchi straight from the freezer into the hot, oiled skillet, and then don’t touch them.
- Cover with a lid and let them hang out for at least a few minutes to get the bottom nice and crispy, and the gnocchi softened all the way through.
- When the bottoms are browned, use a spatula or tongs to flip them over. You want to get all the sides of your gnocchi nice and crisp.
- Keep the heat on medium the whole time to make sure things get browned.
- Don’t add the sauce too soon, or it won’t crisp up. Wait until all the gnocchi are golden to your liking before adding the pesto (or whatever sauce you’re using).
Okay – now that we know how to make our gnocchi, let’s talk about the other goodness that goes into this dish!
What ingredients do we need for this Vegan Pesto Cauliflower Gnocchi?
- Cauliflower Gnocchi: the Trader Joe’s version is my go-to, but other brands have come out with a similar product, and there are tons of recipes for cauliflower gnocchi online. Pick your level of work!
- Vegan Pesto: I typically use my homemade vegan pesto, but when I want a super quick meal, I’ll grab the premade Kale Cashew Pesto from Trader Joe’s which makes this recipe really quick work.
- Broccoli: one of my favorite veggies, it always makes its way into this dish! I toss the broccoli with a bit of salt and oil and roast it while I make the gnocchi. Of course, if broccoli isn’t your jam, add whatever veggies you love. Mushrooms are another favorite of mine for this dish.
- Spinach, Baby Kale or Arugula: or really any other greens you love! I tend to have these on hand most often, but whichever greens you have/like/need to use up will work well here.
Once you’ve nailed the how-to-make-crispy-gnocchi part of the recipe, it’s easy peasy from there to make this vegan pesto cauliflower gnocchi. Just add in your greens and pesto to let it all wilt/heat together, toss in the broccoli, and serve immediately! YUM. I love garnishing with microgreens if I have them, and vegan parmesan.
This 20-minute vegan dinner simply cannot be beaten. Stock your freezer with cauliflower gnocchi (and maybe a container or two of the Trader Joe’s vegan pesto too) and you’ll be ready for a delicious dinner in no time. I hope you love this as much as I do!!
If you decide to try this recipe, please leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought! I’d also love to see your pictures – tag me on Instagram @bakeritablog and #bakerita so I see your delicious meal!
Want more easy dinners?
- Arugula Pesto Pasta with Roasted Broccoli (Gluten-Free & Vegan)
- Easy Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza with Mushrooms & Onions
- Vegan Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pesto
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 1–2 servings 1x
This Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pesto shows you how to make the best crispy cauliflower gnocchi using Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi! This quick and easy lunch or dinner comes together in less than 30 minutes and with just FOUR ingredients.
- 1 large head of broccoli, optional
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 bag Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi
~½ cup vegan pesto I use this homemade vegan pesto, or Trader Joe’s kale cashew vegan pesto
- 1–2 cups baby spinach, baby kale, or arugula
- If you’re making broccoli (or roasting another vegetable to add to the dish), cut into florets and toss it with two tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.
- To make the cauliflower gnocchi, heat two tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once hot, add in the frozen gnocchi (no need to thaw). Cover with a lid and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the lid and flip the gnocchi, cooking until golden brown.
- Once browned to your liking, toss in the greens and pesto and stir until the greens are wilted.
- Add the roasted broccoli and serve immediately.
Tried this cauliflower gnocchi recipe …third times a charm and now it’s a staple in the rotation (for family of 5 for 1 dinner meal)…I did 2 bags of trader joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi browned with 4 cups sauteed organic power greens from kroger and 1 1b of organic broccoli florets (I steamed this time) and 1 jar of classico traditional basil pesto and 1 sautéed red onion and 1/2 tsp garlic salt…mixed everything and served hot right out the pan…the kiddos and I love this and the hubby…very very very good recipe!
So thrilled you loved it, Ginny!!! Thank you so much for the feedback.
will be making this soon can i use potato gnocchi instead as i dont have cauliflower gnocchi and trader joe in Singapore perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya
Hi Ramya, yes any gnocchi will work well!! Enjoy :D
This is an amazing recipe, LOVE IT!
My Husband said it reminded him of shumai dumplings, just needs a little mustard sauce on the side….
So glad it was a hit!!! Thanks Kara :)
Apparently, my non-stick pan isn’t nonstick anymore, because even with the avocado oil, the gnocchi stuck mightily! In an attempt to salvage the meal, I put the gnocchi in my toaster oven and broiled them. They looked like the “potato puffs” of 80’s lunchtime fame and honestly, were quite delicious in their crispy, chewy state. Thank you! It was such a quick, delicious, and healthy meal that I was grateful to have at the ready. I am still open to any nonstick cooking coaching. : )
I’ve had this happen with an older pan too!! That sounds delicious after you figured out a better way to cook them :) thanks for the feedback! Unfortunately, the pan makes such a difference that it may just be time for a new nonstick pan.
I make this for dinner all the time!! Quick and easy for dinner when I’m lazy — especially if I use store bought pesto. I love adding whatever roasted veggies I have with the broccoli
Yes, same for me!! Glad you’re loving it :)