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The Best Way to Cook Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi: Pan-fried Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe

Posted September 25, 2018 by Stephanie

Now that it’s fall, I’m all about the carbs. I have to work on my winter body, after all ;) Jokes aside, I really do find that the cooler weather makes me want to eat ALL the things, which makes me a much more fluffier person in the fall and winter months, compared to spring and summer. I try to combat this by going on super long walks and dragging my butt to the gym (very very occasionally), but the thing that I find works best for me is being aware of what I’m eating and kind of sort of calorie counting.

I actually love calorie counting but I rarely let myself do it because I tend to get kind of obsessive and Mike finds it incredibly annoying to wait for me to enter my calories before I start eating. To be fair to him, I find myself annoying when I do it too LOL. Anyway I’ve recently gotten obsessed (like everyone else on the Internet) with Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. I first read about it earlier this year – it came out in April – and since then we pretty much buy a bag whenever we’re at TJ’s. This isn’t sponsored by the way, I just really like Trader Joe’s because I’m basic like that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pan-fried Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Pan-fried Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Pan-fried Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Pan-fried Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

With much trial and error, I’ve found that the best way to cook cauliflower gnocchi is to straight up sauté it, frozen, right from the bag. The instructions tell you to add a bit of water to steam/boil it first, but I think they have much better texture when you just fry them. They get crispy on the outside and are soft and tender on the inside. They’re little fluffy pillows of goodness and they’re only 330 calories for the entire bag! That’s INSANE! I may have eaten a bag by myself in one sitting. Yup, maybe once or five times…

Usually though, what I like to do when I need a snack that is carb-y but not too calorie-full, I will make myself half a bag, which is the recommended serving size, fried in a bit of butter and pepper then tossed in parmesan. The gnocchi get kind of a cacio e pepe feel and hit all the right notes: salty, cheesy, peppery, and carb-y without being full of carbs. And the best part? One serving is just about 300 calories. Perfect for those cozy fall eating vibes without loading up on calories. Seriously so good!

Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe
serves 1

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 package cauliflower gnocchi (I got this at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground parmesan
  • salt, to taste

In a non-stick skillet, heat up the butter and pepper over medium high heat. The warm butter will warm up the pepper and become more fragrant and pepper-y. Add the gnocchi, frozen from the bag, and fry until golden brown and crispy, flipping once, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and toss quickly with the parmesan. Taste and season with salt and extra pepper if needed. Enjoy immediately!


  1. Ok this sounds amazing and only 330 calories for an entire bag is mad!! (but great!!)

    Rebecca | http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  2. Marianna Florczyk says:

    where does that beautiful plate come from?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi marianna,
      it’s by cathy terepocki :) we found it at anthropologie!

    2. federica says:

      cacio and pepe pasta (that has nothing to do with this plate) comes from Italy (my country).

  3. Anna says:

    This was absolutely delicious. I tossed in some spinach and chicken. The spinach was excellent, the chicken was unnecessary. I am so glad I followed your recipe.

  4. Angelina Spear says:

    I work at TJs and have had it both ways from the back of the bag, then tried this for dinner tonight. We were amazzzzed. Now everyone buying it from me is going to be sent to this blog! So much better than the boil and fry- and easier too!

  5. Blu says:

    It’s always hit or miss when I follow TJ’s directions. But I will try your way! I LOVE how it tastes when I use ghee!!

    http://Www.liveloveblu.com | wellness & healthy living

  6. CiCi says:

    Made this easy, no-fuss concoction tonight. Absolutely delicious and I could’ve easily ate the whole bag to myself! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Kelly says:

    omg I wish I would have read this before I added the water. these gnocchi are gooey af! (not in a good way) :/ I might re-buy and try your way but I’m scared that they are going to taste so bad that I won’t have the courage

    1. Stephanie says:

      oh no!! i hope you try them again because i love them! so low cal too :)

  8. Cat Arata says:

    This is genius! Cannot believe how delicious these gnocchi are when prepared in this way.

  9. Serena says:

    this method of preparation makes the gnocchi SO much better than the original package directions. I used made half the package using half a tbspn of butter, and generous amounts of both pecorino and ground black pepper. Exceptional. I needed far more than two minutes to get them brown though, so just be patient. Thanks for this!

  10. sassygirl says:

    this was a great recipe!
    TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi has been so
    much in demand that there were wait lists in Chicago! it is one of the best foods they have. left out the cheese (vegan) and used Miyoko’s vegan butter. absolutely fab!

    1. Stephanie says:

      woah, wait lists?! that’s insane…
      nice to know it works without cheese and with vegan butter! :)

  11. John says:

    I have found that air frying these puppies works great. So easy to throw them in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 360 degrees, and out comes a nice low calorie crispy hot snack that taste great and is very satisfying. It is hard to believe that the entire bag is only 330 calories, and I can get nearly three servings per bag. So any snack that is only around 100 calories is awesome. I just ate a little high protein cookie which was 230 calories. So why not throw a little butter and Parmesan cheese into the mix and indulge? And for myself, I have found that a daily serving of these keep the innards working perfectly. I think I’ll air fry a small batch up now. I am just waiting for these things to disappear from TJ’s as items come and go there often, and then I’ll have to spend a lot more time making them from scratch.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This is life-changing.

  13. janice says:

    The gnocchi stuck to the pan really badly when I tried this method with1tbs of ghee – I lost a lot of gnocchi goodness! What may have I done wrong? Any ideas?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi janice,
      did you use a non stick pan?

  14. Alexia says:

    With Keto being so popular, this is a great idea. This looks like a delicious presentation.

  15. easystrt says:

    This was outrageously good! First time I’ve liked the cauli gnocchi. Thanks for a great recipe!

  16. Alicia says:

    This recipe is amazing!! I added spinach, leftover chicken from earlier in the week and some backing. ??

  17. Amy says:

    So flipping good. thank you! I don’t have a nonstick pan, but had good success with my well seasoned cast iron pan. Gave them a good brown, and lots of pepper. I really had my doubts about this, but you’ve sold me!

  18. Gerri Taylor says:

    My son served these to us when visiting him in Chicago. He sauteed them in Olive oil and served them with garlic, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil! Caprese cauliflower gnocchi. Quite delicious!

  19. AD says:

    salted or unsalted butter?

    1. Stephanie says:

      either is fine – just make sure you season to taste!

  20. Jenny says:

    Just have to echo the other comments and say how great this was!! Adding the pepper to the butter really made a difference and I just gobbled it up. I tossed in some spinach right at the end to make it a full meal. Used a nonstick pan and it browned well and didn’t stick. Definitely adding this to the meal rotation!

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