Gluten-Free Cauliflower Gnocchi (Vegan Option)

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This Cauliflower Gnocchi recipe can be baked, boiled, or cooked in the air fryer for gluten-free comfort food that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Pair it with your favorite sauce for an easy meal prep recipe or nourishing weeknight dinner! 

overhead image of skillet with homemade cauliflower gnocchi in sauce

Moving right along with pasta week, this is the 2nd recipe in our mini-series. Be sure to stay tuned for the 3rd, and take a look at my Healthy Fettuccine Pasta if you missed it. 

More than Your Average Vegetable

As I’m sure you know, cauliflower has been all the rage the last few years. Gone are the days of bland and mushy vegetables. Now, cauliflower is used to create slightly healthier twists on all your favorite recipes. From Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, to Paleo Cauliflower Pineapple Fried Rice, and even Baked Sweet Potato Cauliflower Patties, it can be found in pretty much everything you can think of! So, in honor of our pasta week, we decided to see if we could use it to make a tasty comfort food recipe that is also perfect for meal prep. Luckily, this cauliflower gnocchi turned out even better than we expected! With several cooking options and endless combinations, it’s a dish that just keeps on giving. 

Keep reading to learn all our cauliflower cooking secrets! 

How to Make Cauliflower Gnocchi

Given its unique shape and texture, creating a homemade gnocchi recipe might seem intimidating, but I promise it’s super easy if you follow the steps below! Or, if you’re in a pinch for time, you can always opt for a store-bought brand like DeLallo’s cauliflower gnocchi. 

overhead image of cauliflower in a bowl

To start, steam a head of cauliflower in the microwave or on a stovetop until it is tender, and remove any excess water using a cheesecloth to squeeze out any moisture. 

Pro Tip

Note:  To steam cauliflower on a stovetop, place it in a large saucepan with ¼ cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, and reduce the heat to a medium. Keeping the pan covered, let the cauliflower cook for 7-9 minutes. 

Then, place the cauliflower in a blender or food processor, and blend until it is riced. Add salt and oil, and blend again until a sort of mash or puree is formed. 

Next, combine the flours and garlic powder in a large bowl, whisking them together before adding to the mashed cauliflower in the food processor. Blend again ingredients until combined. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl and shape into a soft dough ball. Then place it in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.

Note: Don’t worry, the batter might be a little wet still but it should firm up in fridge!

Once chilled, roll the dough on a floured surface creating a gnocchi log by rolling it out to about 6 inches wide before cutting it into 1 inch by ¾ inch squares. 

To finish, bake the dough as squares. Or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, form ridges in the pieces by using the edge of a fork to make lines. 

Easy Cooking Methods (3 Options!)

Whether you choose to bake, air fry, or boil your pasta, this recipe is super adaptable and tastes great no matter how you prepare it! 

Baking

For a baked gnocchi recipe, all you have to do is preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, place the gnocchi pieces on a greased baking sheet, and let them cook for roughly 16 minutes. 

Pro Tip

Pro-Tip: To make sure both sides are evenly cooked, flip the gnocchi over after 8 minutes. 

Air Frying

To cook gnocchi in the air fryer, start by lightly spraying the bottom with a little bit of cooking oil, and place the pasta pieces on the bottom making sure they are spread in an even layer. Then, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook the gnocchi for 8-10 minutes. 

Close up image of air fryer cauliflower gnocchi

Pro-Tip: I like to flip my gnocchi over halfway through cooking and spray it with a bit more cooking spray to make it a little crisper. 

Boiling

Closer resembling more traditional pasta-making recipes, boiling cauliflower gnocchi starts by heating 6 cups of water with a teaspoon of salt until the water reaches a boil. Then, gently place the gnocchi in the water, and let them cook until they float to the top. This will take 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, gently remove the gnocchi from the water using a slotted spoon, and place them on a sheet pan or in a skillet to brown. 

Note: After baking, air frying, or boiling cauliflower gnocchi, place it in a deep skillet with sauce, and let it simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Or, immediately toss boiled pasta in sauce, soup, casseroles, and more! 

Overhead image of cauliflower gnocchi on a plate with sauce and topped with fresh basil.

Serving Suggestions

For this recipe, any sauce you have on hand will taste great! I like to use a Nomato Sauce for a weeknight pasta recipe, toss it with my Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, or even pair it with Easy Vegan Cheese sauce to create a cauliflower gnocchi mac n’ cheese. However, you can also toss it in a casserole, add it to  Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup, and more! I even placed the gnocchi back in the air fryer to create fun pasta chips! The options are endless. 

Common Questions About Gnocchi

Can I Freeze Homemade Gnocchi? 

Yes! Cauliflower gnocchi is perfect for meal prep, because it’s super easy to make ahead of time and just pop in the freezer for a quick meal. The key is just to freeze it before it is cooked. All you have to do is place the pieces in a sealable bag, and lay them flat in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

Can I cook Gnocchi from Frozen?

It is best to cook gnocchi once thawed, but it can be boiled from frozen. You’ll just want to make sure to use plenty of water, and split the pasta pieces into two different batches to prevent them from sticking together. 

Can I use a Different Type of Flour?

Yes, I’ve tested this recipe with both cassava flour, chickpea flour, and oat flour, and they all turn out great! Oat flour has a slightly grittier texture but holds the sauce much better than gnocchi made with chickpea flour. Chickpea flour gnocchi still tastes great! It’s just better used in soups and casseroles rather than pasta recipes. 

Can I use Pre-Frozen Riced Cauliflower?

I don’t recommend it. The bagged riced cauliflower you find in the freezer section of your local grocer is just going to have too much liquid in it. If you try it anyhow, be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as you can and increase the starch and flour.

What if My Batter is Too Moist to Roll? How Can I Make the Batter Hold Together?

If you find your dough is too moist and won’t stick together, thoroughly mix in 1 more Tablespoon of starch, and roll the dough back into a ball. You might need to let it chill a bit longer in order to become sticky. Keep in mind the texture of the gnocchi will vary depending on how much extra starch you use. However, the taste is still delish! 

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Cauliflower Gnocchi (Gluten-Free, Vegan)



  • Author:
    Lindsay Cotter

  • Prep Time:
    10

  • Chill Time:
    20

  • Cook Time:
    10

  • Total Time:
    40 minutes

  • Yield:
    3

  • Diet:
    Gluten Free

Description

This Cauliflower Gnocchi recipe can be baked, boiled, or cooked in the air fryer for gluten-free comfort food that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds.


Ingredients


Units

  • 460 grams (about 1 medium head) cauliflower florets (3-1/2 cups to 4 cups) 360 g after cooked and water strained.
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) gluten free oat flour or chickpea flour (see notes)
  • 34 Tablespoons (30 grams) tapioca starch or potato starch
  • Optional – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
 


Instructions

  1. Cook the cauliflower by steaming in the microwave for 3 or 4 minutes or on the stovetop. To steam, place cauliflower and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stir occasionally. 
  2. Remove excess water by squeezing cauliflower with a cheesecloth or a thin towel.
  3. Place cauliflower in a blender or food processor.  Blend until riced.  Then add salt and oil. Blend again until cauliflower puree/mash is formed.  Set aside.
  4. Combine flour, starch, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Add to the mashed cauliflower in the food processor. Blend again ingredients until combined.
  5. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl and shape into a soft dough ball. Then place it in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill and harden. 
  6. With well floured hands, roll dough on a floured surface creating a gnocchi log by rolling it out to about 6 inches wide. Once rolled, cut the dough into 1 inch by 3/4 inch squares. 
  7. Make ridges in the dough by rolling the dough down the edge of the fork to make the signature gnocchi lines. Bake using one of the three methods below.
  8. After baking, air frying, or boiling place cauliflower gnocchi in a deep skillet with choice of sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese.  

Baking Methods for Gnocchi

BAKE –  Preheat oven to 400F. Bake gnocchi for 8 minutes, place on a greased baking sheet. Flip it and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes until golden. 

AIR FRYER – Spray Air Fryer with a little bit of cooking oil and place gnocchi on the grate-lined bottom.  Preheat Air Fryer to 400F degrees and air fry for about 8 to 10 minutes. Flip the gnocchi halfway and spray it with cooking spray to get a little more crispy. 

BOILING –  Boil 6 cups of salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt). Gently place the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook until they float to the top of the water, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently scoop out the gnocchi and place on a sheet pan or in a skillet to brown. Once boiled, the gnocchi can immediately be tossed in a sauce, soup, or cooked in a casserole, etc. 

Notes

Oat flour, chickpea flour, or Cassava flour:  You can find cassava flour on amazon or through Bob’s Redmill.  All these flours work well with the potato starch but I found that oat flour is the easiest to make/find. The chickpea flour air fries well but keep in mind it absorbs a lot of the sauce fast! They all will work but do keep in mind the texture slightly varies.

Potato starch or tapioca starch is used as a binder to bind the cauliflower puree together. Tapioca starch works best with oat/chickpea flour. 

 
Once cooked, the gnocchi can be kept for 5 days in an airtight container. Reheat in a microwave-safe dish or in an oiled sauté pan until warmed through.

  • Category: main dish
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: gnocchi, gluten free gnocchi, gluten free pasta, air fried gnocchi

Whether you’re looking for a sneak way to add more veggies to your kids’ diet, need a gluten-free gnocchi alternative, or just want to try something new, this recipe is for you! The only thing left to do is decide how you’re going to use it. Let me know in the comments below! 

Cheers,

LC

 

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