Cauliflower gnocchi is one of my favorites. They are hearty and comforting, yet so healthful. Swapping out most of the flour with cauliflower makes this fluffier and lighter than traditional gnocchi.
If you’re in America, you know Trader Joe’s has one of the best versions of this frozen pasta and it’s vegan. After several iterations and trying cooking techniques, I recommend ignoring the cooking directions on the Trader joe’s packaging :) Why? Because I found that this delicate pasta requires little to no water at all, especially if you’re like me and love a crispy exterior. Read along below for my fool proof method for perfect pasta every time!
Now for the sauce; it’s definitely the highlight of this dish. It requires 5 ingredients, tastes phenomenal, and so easy to make. Fresh tomatoes simmered with garlic, finished with vegan parmesan for that ultimate cheesy sauce.
This vegan meal is everything good for that week day indulgence. Let’s get cooking!
1 package frozen cauliflower gnocchi (I buy Trader Joe’s vegan Gnocchi)
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp red chilli flakes (use lesser, or how much ever heat you can handle)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup vegan grated parmesan cheese (I use ‘follow your heart’ brand)
3 tbsp +1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Cooking the gnocchi:
Spread a tsp of oil in a non stick pan. Heat for a minute over medium heat. Place the frozen gnocchi separated and in one even layer.
Note: Do not thaw the pasta, make sure you add them directly from the bag frozen.
Cover and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat. Flip the gnocchi over for an even crisp on the other side. Cover and cook for 3 more minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking for 6-8 more minutes turning them around gently every couple of minutes. The longer they stay in the pan, the crispier they get.
In the end, sprinkle 1 tbsp water and let them be absorbed completely and you’re done! Set aside the gnocchi on a plate.
Making the sauce:
In the same pan, add the remaining measured olive oil. Add red chilli flakes and garlic. Saute on medium heat for a minute .
Now add the tomatoes, spinach, and 1 tsp coarse salt. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until the tomatoes soften, the spinach cooks down, and the mixture becomes a sauce.
Add measured vegan grated parmesan and mix together. Let this continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. The cheese will melt completely and make a creamy, smooth, beautiful looking sauce!
Toss in the crispy, fluffy cooked cauliflower gnocchi into the sauce. Mix gently and heat the pasta + sauce for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with more grated parmesan on top!