Creamy Cauliflower Gnocchi
Gnocchi = nature’s pillow.
I don’t think gnocchi gets enough credit. It’s not on enough restaurant menus in my opinion! It could be because it’s a hard one to master. It’s very difficult not to over-harden the gnocchi by overworking the dough or over-baking. I’m no chef, and it’s taken me 5 or 6 trials and different recipes to feel confident posting one. I think the truly wonderful thing to remember about gnocchi is that you can use different vegetables - not just potato. Cauliflower gnocchi seems to be the new trend, and it’s about time!
For starters, cauliflower is so nutrient dense, and lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. Cauliflower is low in starch and a lot higher in vitamin C than potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love potatoes. They contain just a little bit more fibre than cauliflower, and they’re a delicious whole food, but cauliflower works so equally well in a gnocchi that I usually opt for it over potato now.
This recipe may take a bit of trial and error, and it definitely takes a good read through the entire recipe to digest the process, but it’s not at all daunting, and not too complicated, I promise.
Cauliflower Gnocchi & Creamy Pesto Sauce
Gluten free, dairy free
Makes: about 40 gnocchi & 1 cup sauce (serves 4)
1 cauliflower, cut in florets and steamed
2 cups cassava flour* + extra for forming dough
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax powder + 3 tbsp filtered water, whisked)
A few basil leaves
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
10 cracks of pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzle
Cauliflower is finished steaming when a fork easily penetrates the florets. Remove from steamer and use a potato ricer to rice cauliflower*. When all florets are riced, use a strainer to strain excess liquid. Discard.
In a large food processor, add cauliflower rice, egg, and basil leaves. Pulse to combine, then slowly start adding the flour about 1/3 cup at a time. Blend for about 30 seconds each time you add more, because depending on the consistency of cauliflower/ moisture in the air, you will need more or less flour. Your dough is finished when it is still quite sticky, but can be worked with. This is a good time to add salt and pepper, and taste.
Transfer the sticky dough to a floured surface and coat with flour so it’s easier to work with. Separate dough into two equal pieces.
Try not to work the dough too much. This will produce tougher gnocchi Simply roll it out into a long strip, about 1.5 inches wide, and begin to cut 1 inch pieces. Do the same to the second half of the dough. Optional: roll a fork over the gnocchi pieces for the textured surface.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Bring a large pot filled halfway with water to a rolling boil. Add about 8 pieces of gnocchi at a time to the pot and wait for them to rise to the surface (about 4 minutes). When they rise, remove them and transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the gnocchi and bake for 5 minutes on each side. Gnocchi should be golden and crispy on the outside, and soft inside.
Split gnocchi into 4 equal portions.
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp tapioca flour*
3 cups arugula
Generous salt and pepper to taste
Add coconut milk, salt, pepper, pesto and tapioca flour to a medium pot over low heat. Whisk consistently, as the tapioca flour will thicken the sauce.
Taste as you whisk and adjust salt, pepper, or pesto. Once the sauce begins to thicken (5-7 minutes) add arugula and turn off heat. You don’t want to sauce to thicken too much. The arugula will wilt in the heat of the sauce in about 1 minute.
Spoon a generous amount of sauce over each portion of gnocchi, and serve.
Cassava flour can be replaced with spelt flour, or organic all purpose flour, although all purpose flour lacks the fibre of spelt or cassava. Spelt is not gluten free.
If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can use a food processor to achieve the cauliflower rice consistency. However, I have heard a few chefs swear by the potato ricer for gnocchi because it achieves a fluffiness tat a food processor won’t.
Tapioca flour can be substituted with 1.5 tbsp corn starch.