Homemade Grain Free Cauliflower Gnocchi with Parmesan, is crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Enjoy this Italian classic without all the gluten and starch!
I have seen a number of Paleo, sweet potato gnocchi recipes out there, but they are all pretty high in carbs. Also, many of them contain almond flour, which is out for me because of a nut allergy.
I started to think about how I could make a nut-free gnocchi with fewer carbs. I already knew that cauliflower is a great way to reduce the carb load in mashed potatoes, from my Paleo Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
So I thought, maybe I could replace some of the potatoes with cauliflower! However, I worried that cauliflower gnocchi would fall apart when I boiled it, because it would not have enough starch (glue) to hold it together.
Then I saw a recipe on Popular Paleo , where the gnocchi is baked instead of boiled. Eurika! Once I realized that I didn’t have to boil the gnocchi, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. It took several tries to get the proportions right, but I finally found a winner!!
This Gnocchi recipe is not actually Paleo, it’s Primal because it does contain some parmesan cheese. If you don’t tolerate dairy, you should keep looking, but if you do incorporate some organic dairy into your diet, like this wonderful raw parmesan from Whole Foods:
...then this is a great way to enjoy the Italian classic, without all the carbs. This recipe has fewer than half of the carbohydrates and calories than both traditional gnocchi and most Paleo gnocchi recipes out there.
This gnocchi is slightly crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. My family calls it “Gnocchi Fries”. I have to stand guard when this comes out of the oven, because everyone snitches off of the baking sheet.
Like traditional gnocchi, this freezes well, so you can make it ahead of time and serve at a later date. To freeze, spread out the cooked gnocchi (so that they are not touching each other) onto a baking sheet, making sure the gnocchi is cooled to at least room temperature first. Cover with foil and place in the freezer. When the gnocchi is frozen solid, transfer to a plastic Ziploc bag with the air removed. You could also wrap it tightly in foil and then place in a plastic bag. Defrost the gnocchi in the refrigerator, and then reheat with whatever sauce you want to use.
I like gnocchi with a simple sauce, like sautéed garlic and herbs in olive oil, or even just some heated Grass Fed Herb Butter.
I recommend some special equipment for this recipe.
You will need a food processor (or a blender), and a steamer insert for your pot.
I use a potato ricer, both to squeeze out excess moisture from the steamed cauliflower, and to rice the baked potato. I definitely recommend baking your potato, not boiling it, as this helps reduce excess moisture. If you plan ahead, you can bake something else in the oven at the same time. I like to make sweet potatoes for the week and then I can just reheat them in the microwave later.
If you don’t have a ricer, you could try to wring out the cauliflower (really well) with a clean kitchen cloth, like I do for my Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe.
You could also mash the potatoes (being careful to get out the lumps), just don’t put the potatoes in the food processor or they will turn into glue.
I like to use my Misto sprayer for this recipe; it’s a lot quicker than brushing on the oil. A pastry brush will get the job done too; just use a light hand.
You will need either parchment paper, or silicone baking mats to line your baking sheets.
Step-by step instructions with photos:
Bake one medium size russet potato in a 350-degree oven, until skin is crisp but inside feels soft, about 1 hour.
Cut cauliflower into florets (about 4 cups), and steam until very soft, about 25 minutes. Strain well.
If not already grated, you can add your parmesan cheese to a food processor and and process with the blade attachment, until it is the texture of coffee grounds. Remove grated cheese and reserve.
Working in batches, use a potato ricer to squeeze/wring the water out of the cauliflower, but don’t push the cauliflower through.
Place the squeezed cauliflower into the food processor bowl. Add egg, egg yolk, salt, and parmesan cheese. Process with the blade attachment to form a smooth purée. Add tapioca flour and process until just incorporated. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
When potato is done cooking, remove it from the oven, and turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees.
Cut the potato in half and scoop half of the flesh into the potato ricer. If the potato is to hot to handle, you can let it cool or use clean kitchen gloves.
Press the potato flesh through the ricer over the cauliflower mixture. Repeat with the other half of the potato.
Stir mixture together with a fork. Do NOT process the potato with a food processor; it will make the potatoes gummy.
Line three baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely coat the parchment paper with olive oil using a Misto Sprayer or a pastry brush.
Scoop half of the cauliflower/potato mixture into a Ziploc bag (I found it easier to work in two batches). Cut one corner of the bag, about the width of a pinky finger, or approximately ½”.
Pipe rows of the gnocchi onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
To make little groves in your gnocchi, lightly drag a fork across the top if each gnocchi. Although they are not critical, the groves are traditional and they create more surface area to grab up sauce.
Spray/brush the gnocchi with olive oil.
Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on this. The gnocchi should be golden with some dark spots, but not brown.
Dress the gnocchi to your liking. I like to melt some Grass Fed Herb Butter in a pan, toss the gnocchi with it, and season to taste with some salt and pepper.
I love adding a whole, unprocessed and healthy twist to classic recipes. My food is often grain-free, usually gluten-free, and always unprocessed.