RecipeCauliflower Gnocchi with Garlicky Marinara

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Total Fat: 2 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 2 g
    • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 36 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7 g
  • Total Sugar: 9 g
    • Natural Sugar: 9 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 590 mg

I’m a regular at Trader Joe’s (some women crave purses or shoes; for me, it’s groceries, haha). From my frequent visits, I happen to know that one of the chain’s most popular items is their cauliflower gnocchi. So of course, I had to take on the challenge of creating my own version. I even titled my quest “Mission Cauli Gnocchi.” I tried countless renditions and even hosted tasting parties until I got a thumbs-up from all my guests. I experimented with omitting flour and going gluten-free, but while I loved the idea of a no-flour gnocchi, it came out too gummy and inauthentic. This recipe, by far, wins the gold. It’s delish topped with garlicky marinara, but you can also go green and toss with pleasing pesto.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes about 9 cups

• 12 heaping cups cauliflower florets (2 medium heads)
• 2 cups white whole wheat flour*
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
• 1 jar marinara sauce
• Grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

* If you can’t find white whole wheat flour, use 1 cup standard whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose.


Place the cauliflower in a large pot, cover with water (make sure veggies are submerged), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is very soft. Drain and set aside to cool. Once cooled, put ⅓ to ½ of the cauliflower in a dish towel or layered paper towels, squeeze out as much excess water as possible and place in a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower until all of it is well-drained and squashed.

Add the flour and salt into the bowl with the mashed cauliflower and mix with a fork at first, then using your hands to fold and squeeze everything together into a sticky dough. Place the bowl in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to firm (this will make it easier to form the gnocchi).

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set them near your workstation. Remove the dough from the freezer. One at a time, roll a handful of dough into a 1-inch-thick rope and set on the prepared baking sheets. Continue until all the dough is used up. Then, make classic gnocchi ridges by gently pressing the back of a fork along each of the ropes repeatedly. Next, cut each rope into 1-inch-long (gnocchi-like) pieces, slightly nudging the pieces apart so they’re not touching. You should get about 160 pieces total. If at any point the dough becomes too sticky to work with, dampen your hands with cold water.

Liberally mist a large skillet with nonstick oil spray and warm over medium heat. Using a spatula, carefully lift the gnocchi off the baking sheets, one row at a time, and place them on the hot skillet (if the pieces stick together, just slice them apart in the skillet using the spatula). Do not overcrowd the pan; you’ll need to cook the gnocchi in several batches. Let the gnocchi sit in the hot pan undisturbed for two minutes, then gently flip using a spoon or tongs, being careful not to squish them. Sprinkle salt over the tops and continue to cook for another two to four minutes or until desired doneness. Serve topped with warm marinara sauce and optional grated cheese.

TO FREEZE: Allow your gnocchi to completely cool, then transfer to a sealed container and store in the freezer for up to a month.

A serving is 1 cup gnocchi and ½ cup sauce.