Trader Joe's debuted its new cauliflower gnocchi this spring, and people went nuts. It seemed like everyone who tried the gnocchi raved about it. I love vegetables and healthful substitutes for everyday foods as much as anyone, but I wondered if these could really live up to all the hype. This week I finally tried them, and I'd absolutely do it again.
What the Heck Is Cauliflower Gnocchi?
Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi are about 75 percent cauliflower, and the rest of the ingredients are cassava flour, potato starch, extra-virgin olive oil, and sea salt. A one-cup serving has 140 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 22 grams of carbohydrates.
I Finally Tried the Cauliflower Gnocchi from Trader Joe's and Here's How It Went
The first time I went to Trader Joe's, they were sold out of the cauliflower gnocchi for the next two weeks. (This stuff is really popular.) This week, however, I finally got my hands on a package — although there were only a few packages left in the freezer when I got there. Next time I see it, I will be sure to stock up.
I prepared it according to the "preferred" directions on the back of the package, which meant putting the whole contents in a nonstick skillet with a quarter-cup of water, covering it, and cooking it for eight to 10 minutes, or until they were soft and hot all the way through. Then the instructions said to uncover the skillet, add one or two tablespoons of olive oil or butter, and sauté the gnocchi until they were golden-brown on the outside.
The sauté step seems to be a crucial part of the preparation. When I first lifted the lid on my gnocchi, I was distressed by just how much they smelled like cauliflower. It was very strong, and cauliflower's distinctive aroma is one of the first things that tips people off if you're doing the whole "hide cauliflower in food so someone in this house will eat a dang vegetable for once" thing. The gnocchi were also slippery and sticky.
But once I added the butter, and cooked the gnocchi until they were golden and a bit crisp, they looked perfect and not at all sticky. The cauliflower aroma went away, and all I could smell was butter.
They look just like regular potato gnocchi, and the texture is the same too. They're soft and pillowy, and they were very good with all the butter. I served mine plain with Parmesan on the side, and with Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce. They held their shape in the sauce.
The Final Verdict: Worth the Hype
The cauliflower taste is perceptible, but it's not unpleasant. My husband loves cauliflower and ate a whole bowl with just a bit of Parmesan on top of it. Under a flavorful sauce, the cauliflower flavor is very mild. I had mine with tomato sauce, and I'd do it again happily.
The cauliflower gnocchi is very filling, too. Trader Joe's sells a 12-ounce bag for just $2.69, and when I poured the gnocchi into the pan it did not look like much, and I got very anxious that I did not have enough food for dinner. I started making random side dishes and coming up with backup plans for sandwiches afterwards. But the one bag of gnocchi was plenty for both me and my husband, and he's a pretty big eater.
In a blind taste-test, I would still know the difference between the cauliflower gnocchi and regular potato gnocchi. But the cauliflower gnocchi was very good, and it had about 100 fewer calories per serving than potato gnocchi and about 20 fewer grams of carbohydrates. I wouldn't entirely banish potato gnocchi from my life for these, but I think that's a pretty good trade-off, and I'd be happy to eat these again.
What do you think? Have you tried these cauliflower gnocchi?