This Baked Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe is easily the simplest dinner you’ll make all year. Cauliflower gnocchi is roasted alongside sun-dried tomato chicken sausage until super crispy and golden brown. When everything comes out of the oven, it’s drizzle with a little bit of store-bought pesto and sprinkled with parmesan. It’s the perfect healthy, delicious dinner that takes virtually no effort to prepare.
Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe
It’s been a while since I’ve made a dinner this easy.
I mean, there was this General Tso Shrimp and this Prosciutto-Wrapped chicken, but even those don’t compare to today’s Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe which is truly idiot-proof. And it only has five ingredients. (Five-Ingredient Friday what’s up?!)
Here’s what’s happening:
Trader Joe’s infamous cauliflower gnocchi is untraditionally roasted with a little bit of olive oil in the oven alongside sliced sun-dried tomato chicken sausage until they’re both super crispy and brown. Once they come out of the oven, both of them are tossed together and drizzled with a little bit of pesto and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
It’s so simple. So delicious. And actually pretty healthy, which I’m sure we can all appreciate.
Ingredients in this Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe
Ok, so unless you’ve been living under rock the past few years, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. It has practically a cult following, so even though I make mostly from-scratch meals in our house, I had to see what all the fuss was about.
I bought my first bag of cauliflower gnocchi about a year ago, cooked it according to the package, and it was awful. Like terrible. Mushy, off in flavor, and just not good. However, I came to realize that you actually aren’t supposed to cook it the way the instructions indicate. Who would have guessed?
So I researched other ways to cook it. The most popular method of browning it in a skillet, similar to the way I cook this Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi, was my next try and it went great! The gnocchi was super crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and had a lovely, subtle taste of cauliflower.
Then I roasted it. Oh my gosh. This is by far the easiest way to cook this cauliflower gnocchi recipe, it’s also the healthiest. Instead of browning the cauliflower gnocchi is a vat of butter, I just use a scant amount of olive oil. Just enough to very lightly coat the outside of the cauliflower gnocchi.
You could really use whatever sausage you want here. Italian sausage, turkey sausage, whatever. I was trying to keep things pretty healthy, so I went with a sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s. If you could find something similar, I’d recommend it because the combination of the tomato and roasted garlic with pesto and cauliflower gnocchi is really quite lovely.
I portioned out one single sausage per person, but if you have a heartier appetite, you may want to use six sausages (which is what usually comes in a package).
Olive oil. You only need a hint of olive oil. Just enough to VERY lightly coat the cauliflower gnocchi and the chicken sausage
If you’ve got the time and the ingredients, you could totally make your own pesto. Since it’s the dead of winter here, I do not really have that option, so store-bought it is. Plus it makes life so much easier. This brand, which is pretty universal, is my absolute favorite, but really, anything will work.
Parmesan cheese. This is actually kind of an optional ingredient. I will sprinkle parmesan on just about anything I can, so I like to use it here, but you do you.
How to make Baked Cauliflower Gnocchi
Roast the cauliflower gnocchi. It’s almost embarrassing how easy this cauliflower gnocchi recipe is to throw together. First, start off by tossing the gnocchi in a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the cauliflower gnocchi on to a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
You don’t want the cauliflower gnocchi to steam, so make sure they are evenly spread apart so they get super crispy. You also want to cook the gnocchi ahead of time because it takes a little bit longer than sausage to brown up.
Roast the chicken sausage. While the cauliflower gnocchi roasts, if you haven’t already, slice the sausage links into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss the sausage with the rest of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. (The chicken sausage already has quite a bit of salt in it, so you don’t need to go crazy with the salt here.)
Pull the sheet pan that has the cauliflower gnocchi on it out and gently move the cauliflower aside. Arrange the chicken sausage on the pan. Again, try to make sure everything is evenly spread out so both the cauliflower and the sausage get nice and crispy and don’t steam.
Assemble. Once the cauliflower and sausage are golden brown, pull them out of the oven. Drizzle with pesto or completely toss. I like for a few pieces of sausage and cauliflower to be free of the pesto, so that’s why I only drizzle the pesto over. Both ways are tasty!
Spoon the cauliflower gnocchi and sausage into bowls and sprinkle with grated or shredded parmesan cheese.
Can I make this in advance?
No. However, just like a lot of our recipe, this is quick and easy to make, you really don’t need to do anything in advance. If you want to save yourself from even pulling out your knife and cutting board, you can slice the sausage ahead of time. Up to a day in advance.
Do I have to use cauliflower gnocchi?
I have not tried this with regular potato gnocchi, but I image it may work. Potato gnocchi is much more dense, so it will probably take much longer to cook. Just keep that in mind.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- To make sure everything is perfectly crisp in the this cauliflower gnocchi recipe, be sure to flip the sausage and gnocchi halfway through cooking.
- If you want a vegetarian version of this cauliflower gnocchi recipe, then swap out the chicken sausage for a medley of bells peppers, onions or Brussels sprouts.
- This would also be lovely with a sun-dried tomato pesto or even a tahini sauce
- If you want to cut fat and calories even more leave out the olive oil altogether.
- Be sure to use parchment paper on your sheet pan, otherwise the cauliflower gnocchi WILL stick.
What to serve with Cauliflower Gnocchi
- This Everyday Kale Salad would be the perfect compliment to the gender gnocchi and salty chicken.
- This Green Bean Almondine is also really easy to throw together and delicious.
- Creamy Peas with Pancetta is one of my favorite sides. It’s fresh, bright, salty, and deceptively delicious.
If you love this Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe, then you’ll love these other easy recipes
- This Roasted Veggie and Chicken Sausage Pasta has a lot of the same ingredients we use in today’s cauliflower gnocchi recipe. It’s a little bit heartier with the addition of whole-wheat penne, but just as healthy.
- We LOVE this Baked BBQ Salmon with Brussels Sprout Slaw. It takes a little bit more effort, but minimally so.
- Baked Supreme Turkey Tacos are a healthier version of a classic taco. Instead of assembling them one by one, they all get baked together in one pan.
Baked Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe with Pesto (5 ingredients!)
- 2 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 package cauliflower gnocchi
- 4 sun-dried tomato chicken sausage links, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tbsp pesto
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- sheet pan
- Mixing bowl
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add frozen cauliflower to a medium bowl. Toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread gnocchi on the baking sheet, making sure none of the gnocchi are touching. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
- While the gnocchi roasts, add the sausage to the same medium bowl. Toss with the remaining olive oil. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Once the gnocchi have been in the oven 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Push the gnocchi to the side (but still spread apart) and add the sausage to the pan. Place back in the oven until the sausage and gnocchi are crisp and golden brown, another 15-20 minutes.
- Once the gnocchi and sausage are crisp, remove from oven and drizzle with pesto. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
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