Cauliflower Gnocchi with Creamy Tomato Meat Sauce is heaven on earth. It’s a light and healthy version of a traditionally carb-heavy, Italian meal. While it may lack carbs, it doesn’t lack flavor!
Having been raised in an Italian family, I grew up on traditional, homemade potato gnocchi. I’m talking about the real good stuff with butter, flour, and a lot parmesan cheese. Every year around the holidays, my mom’s large Italian family would gather to make a traditional, home-cooked Italian meal: gnocchi and meatballs. I can still smell the meatballs sizzling on the stove and feel the soft gnocchi dough in my hands.
After the potatoes were boiled and soft, we set up gnocchi stations. Each with it’s own very important job:
- Combine the potato, flour, and cheese.
- Roll the dough into long snake-like shapes.
- Cut each long batch into 1″ pieces.
- “Fork” each piece by lightly rolling a fork over the top.
I’m sure this probably makes no sense to anyone reading it. But, to me, it makes perfect sense. I spent year after year fighting my brother and cousins for the job of forking because… who wants to just cut the dough anyways?
What is Cauliflower Gnocchi?
The answer to all your dreams… Just kidding. Well, kind of. A few years ago, when Trader Joe’s announced their new product, Cauliflower Gnocchi, I was so stoked. This gnocchi is made with potato and cauliflower, but no gluten or dairy. Score! After listening to people rave about how delicious it really was, I made the 45 minute trek to Trader Joe’s to try it. And although I have to admit it’s not the same as traditional, homemade gnocchi, it’s a pretty darn good alternative.
This Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi is paleo-approved and super easy to make, which is another win in my book!
How to Make Cauliflower Gnocchi
You can easily follow the package’s instructions for cooking. But, to be honest, it’s hard to not create a goopy, soggy gnocchi mess. If you do follow this method, I always recommend sautéing the gnocchi in a skillet with plenty of cooking fat, like ghee or coconut oil, and stirring often to prevent sticking.
Alternatively, as this recipe calls for, I would recommend using an air fryer. I can’t even explain how ridiculously good air fried gnocchi is! You can say goodbye to soggy gnocchi and hello to soft, pillowy bites of heaven! Seriously, it’s that good. To make gnocchi in the air fryer, simply add the gnocchi to the frying basket with 1 tbs cooking fat. Air fry for 8 minutes. And, that’s it. Easy peasy!
How to Make the Dairy Free Creamy Tomato Meat Sauce
Although it’s a mouthful to say, this dairy free creamy tomato meat sauce really is quite easy. Start by cooking your ground beef in a large skillet. When it’s no longer pink in color, add sliced mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. The, add your vegetable broth, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Stir until well blended. Finally, add the chopped garlic, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and seasonings to the skillet. Serve with gnocchi!
What You Need to Make this Recipe
Ninja Air Fryer
This is the air fryer I got for Christmas and I love it. For my every day use, it’s the perfect size. But, if you host dinner parties often or have a large family to feed, I would opt for a larger size to cook more food at once.
If you have an air fryer, you have to try my Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings!
You can’t make this recipe without gnocchi! However, if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can opt for a different gnocchi recipe or packaged product.
Tomato paste is key for the creamy tomato sauce. It makes for a thick and flavorful combo. Always opt for organic tomato paste, too!
Substitutions for this Recipe
I obviously don’t recommend replacing the gnocchi, but if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, make a road trip. Lol just kidding! You can serve this creamy tomato meat sauce with another pasta alternative. Try zucchini noodles or Banza pasta!
Instead of ground beef, you can use ground turkey or chicken.
Replace vegetable broth with chicken or beef stock.
The creaminess of canned full-fat coconut milk really adds to texture and flavor of the creamy tomato sauce. However, you can opt for nut milk instead and cut down on the vegetable broth/water.
Use chopped spinach or collard greens instead of kale.
- 1 bag Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 1 tbs cooking fat, plus 1 tsp (coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (the thick part at the top of the can)
- 4 tbs organic tomato paste
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped kale (frozen or fresh)
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
- Optional, but highly recommend: raw parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Preheat your air fryer according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Heat the cooking fat in a large skillet and add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink in color.
- Meanwhile, add gnocchi and 1 tsp cooking fat to the air fryer. "Air fry" for 8 minutes.
- Add sliced mushrooms to the skillet and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Stir until well blended and reduce heat to low.
- Add the chopped garlic, kale, sundried tomatoes, basil, and seasonings to the skillet. Stir.
- When the gnocchi is done in the air fryer, add to the skillet.
- Serve with freshly grated raw parmesan cheese.