cauliflower gnocchi bake in casserole dish with dollops of ricotta and basil garnish on top

Easy and Healthy Cauliflower Gnocchi Bake

This simple and healthy cauliflower gnocchi bake is a perfect easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love. Vegetarian and gluten-free!

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This may be a bold statement, but this cauliflower gnocchi bake is the best weeknight dinner. It is packed with flavor and tastes decadent, but at the end of the day it’s a straightforward and healthy recipe. It is absolutely perfect for those first few weeks after going back to school when you don’t want to think too hard about what’s for dinner. You can easily double it for a larger crowd as well.

Ingredients for Cauliflower Gnocchi Bake

Cauliflower Gnocchi: I love Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi. It’s so easy, and packs in some veggies too! Plenty of other brands make cauliflower gnocchi now, so choose whatever is easiest for you. You could also go with traditional potato gnocchi, which I’m sure would be delicious. Just make sure to cook it according to package directions prior to adding it to the other casserole ingredients.

Sea Salt: Just a dash to bring out the flavor of the gnocchi.

Olive Oil: A splash to make sure the gnocchi and spinach cook properly.

Baby Spinach: We will cook down an entire container of spinach to add to the bake. See? Healthy!

Garlic: Don’t skimp on the garlic! Garlicky sautéed spinach is one of life’s great joys.

Marinara Sauce: This one is my favorite (I usually get it at Costco where it’s more affordable), but any jarred sauce will do. You can also make your own if you’re feeling ambitious.

Capers: There are one of my favorite little ingredients for adding a burst of flavor. They are actually the immature flower buds from a caper bush and are generally pickled in some kind of brine. They are totally optional in this dish, as you may not be a fan. If you decided to go for it, capers can generally be found in the same aisle as canned or jarred olives.

Ricotta Cheese: Just a few dollops on top to add some creaminess to the dish.

Mozzarella: Because what’s a gnocchi bake without some melty golden brown cheese on top?

close up of cauliflower gnocchi bake in casserole dish with basil garnish

Keys for Success

  • Make sure you bake the cauliflower gnocchi separately before adding it to the rest of the dish. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but because the cauliflower gnocchi is frozen we want to make sure any extra water evaporates before being added to the bake.
  • Turn down the oven temperature as soon as you remove the gnocchi from the oven and before you assemble the bake in the casserole dish. This will give your oven time to reach the proper temperature. No one likes an overcooked casserole!

If you make this cauliflower gnocchi bake, be sure to leave a rating and review! This helps Google discover my little blog and encourages others to give it a try.

Other Easy Dinner Ideas:

cauliflower gnocchi bake in casserole dish next to a bowl with one serving

Easy and Healthy Cauliflower Gnocchi Bake

This simple and healthy cauliflower gnocchi bake is a perfect easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love. Makes great leftovers too!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 12 oz bags cauliflower gnocchi
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 5 oz package of baby spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • cups marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup capers (optional)
  • 4 small dollops of full-fat ricotta cheese (about half a cup total)
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • fresh basil for serving (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Toss gnocchi with sea salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil and bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and baby spinach and sauté until spinach is wilted.
  • Lower oven temperature to 375°F. In an 8×8 baking dish, combine baked gnocchi, wilted spinach, optional capers, and marinara sauce and stir with a large spoon until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Top with 4 small dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the mozzarella is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. If you want, you can carefully broil the bake for a minute or 2 at the end to make sure the cheese is extra golden. Just make sure you keep a close eye on it!
  • Let sit and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • To make vegan: use plant-based mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
Keyword baked gnocchi, baked pasta, cauliflower gnocchi, easy, gluten free, gnocchi, healthy, nut-free, pasta bake, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti

cauliflower gnocchi bake in casserole dish next to blue cloth towel

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