Cauliflower Gnocchi with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (Whole30)
Oh the glories of Trader Joe’s. By now, most of us are not strangers to their disappearing Cauliflower Gnocchi. But some of us are lost about the proper way to cook it.
The first time I made Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi, I didn’t read the directions and just got to work. As luck would have it, I warmed up a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and sautéd the little nuggets in a hot bed of oil. They crisped up and had a nice crunchy exterior and a soft pillowy interior. Considering these gnocchi are plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free and made with clean ingredients, they are magical.
Sure cauliflower gnocchi are delicious with a simple drizzle of Rao’s Marinara (which keeps their Whole30 status in tact), but they are out of this world with sun-dried tomato pesto. I was inspired to make the pesto after reading this post from Alexandra Cooks in December. Tangy sun-dried tomatoes have been calling my name ever since. I tweaked the recipe a bit to use up ingredients I had on hand (pine nuts and arugula), but it’s an infinitely adjustable recipe with almost any combination of greens and nuts.
How To Cook Cauliflower Gnocchi So It Doesn’t Turn To Mush
When you make the cauliflower gnocchi to accompany the tangy pesto, there are few tricks and tips to keep in mind. Here are my suggestions for better store-bought cauliflower gnocchi:
- Do NOT follow package directions
- Use a non-stick pan. I like to use my Da Terra Cucina 13″ skillet.
- Warm about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in the pan on medium heat until it’s shimmery and hot.
- Add gnocchi (frozen and straight from the bag) in a single layer.
- Do not try to flip the gnocchi or move it for a bit – wait for about 3-4 minutes until they are seared well on one side.
- Flip the gnocchi with a spatula or use tongs to flip them individually.
- Sprinkle the gnocchi with a little kosher salt while it’s cooking to enhance its flavor.
- Keep the heat on medium, don’t be tempted to lower it to a simmer. You want a nice crispy exterior.
- You may need to add a little more oil when you flip the gnocchi, but if you’re using a ceramic non-stick you should be fine! Allow them to cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Have your sauce ready to go because this whole process goes fast!
To serve the gnocchi with the pesto, place it on a platter or in a serving bowl and top with about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the finished pesto. Garnish with some parsley leaves or a chiffonade of basil.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Any Greens Pesto
- 1/4 cup unsalted nuts pecans, almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts
- 1/2 cup tightly packed sun-dried tomatoes drained if packed in olive oil
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (omit for Whole30)
- 3 cups greens, packed basil, spinach, arugula, kale or a combination of any of the above
- 1 clove garlic peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon plus more to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- In the bowl of a food processor, place the nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, greens, garlic, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but not completely puréed, about 15-20 times. Scrape down the processor and pulse again if necessary.
- In the feed tube in the top of the food processor, add the olive oil and combine, being careful not to over process. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about a week; add a thin layer of olive oil on top of the presto to keep it from oxidizing.