Trader Joe’s Cauliflower, Kale & Sweet Potato Gnocchi Product Review

Trader Joe's Cauliflower, Kale and Sweet Potato Gnocchi product reviews ♥ A Veggie Venture.
Which frozen vegetables from Trader Joe's taste good? are worth eating? and worth the money? Let's look at a trio of vegetable gnocchi, bags of cauliflower gnocchi, kale gnocchi and sweet potato gnocchi from the freezer section. They're getting a lot of attention. Is it deserved?

This Is Not a Sponsored Review, it's just me, Alanna and your long-time veggie evangelist, sharing my view about a Trader Joe's vegetable product that my fellow vegetable lovers might find useful.


The Short Answer

Ugh. These gnocchi are plain gummy, the texture is so unappealing. More than that, the gnocchi have lost connection to the vegetables in their names. Should cauliflower gnocchi taste like cauliflower? kale gnocchi like kale? sweet potato gnocchi like sweet potatoes? We say yes. Wouldn't ya think?!

We did eat them, it's not that they're inedible. And we kept thinking they might grow on us. But there was zero pleasure. These are definitely not to our taste, especially the cauliflower and the kale. Trader Joe's touts the Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Kale Gnocchi as "imported from Italy" and no doubt they are but that suggestion of European-sourced quality falls short.

Target Market?

But then again, maybe we aren't Trader Joe's target market. We devour real vegetables every single day, nearly every single meal including breakfast. And we're also all about real food, not processed food. And these gnocchi definitely count in the "processed food" category at Trader Joe's. I wanted to like these vegetable gnocchi. We just didn't.

And readers, give me some feedback. Would you rather only hear about the Trader Joe's products that we do recommend? Or is it helpful to know about the no-go products too, especially when they're getting tons of hype. I definitely skew to the former, less to the latter but it would be easy to ignore the not-great products if that's your preference. Do say!

How to Pronounce Gnocchi

“NYO-kee” is the pronunciation, blending the N and Y and O sounds into a single syllable. My husband likes to tease that gnocchi rhymes with Okie from Musko(k)ee.

What Are the Ingredients In Trader Joe's Gnocchi?

CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI Cauliflower, cassava flour, potato starch, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt.

KALE GNOCCHI Kale, potato starch, chickpea flour, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil.

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI Sweet potatoes, wheat flour, potatoes, water, butter (cream [milk], eggs, sunflower seed oil, grana padano cheese (milk, salt, animal rennet, lysozome (enzyme from egg whites), sugar, salt, sage. (Not Gluten Free. Not Dairy Free. Not Egg Free. Not Even Vegetarian.)

Note that all three gnocchi products are very high in sodium, 460mg for the cauliflower, 480g for the kale and 360mg for the sweet potato. Even so, they are very very bland, so muh so that the cooking instructions specify "season to taste".

How to Cook (the "Preferred Methods" According to Trader Joe's)

CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI Cook in a covered skillet on a stove over medium heat with 1/4 cup water until the water evaporates, about 6-8 minutes. Uncover and add 1-2 tablespoons butter and cook until the gnocchi turn brown, about 5 minutes. (I never could get these guys to brown ...) "Season to taste."

The bag also includes boiling and microwave instructions.

KALE GNOCCHI Cook in a skillet on the stove on medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons butter or ghee for 7-10 minutes. "Season to taste." (Hmm, yes, these definitely needed salt too.)

The bag also includes microwave instructions.

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI (Trader Joe's doesn't specify a preference here.)
To cook in the microwave, place in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and heat at 50% power for 5-6 minutes.

To cook on the stove, cook in a covered non-stick skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons water for 2-3 minutes; then lower the heat and cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes until a sauce forms. These did have a really pretty aroma when the sauce formed, it smelled like both brown butter and sage!

Taste & Texture

CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI Ugh. The taste here is not cauliflower but an odd skunky starchiness which I must presume is the cassava flour. Most of all, the Cauliflower Gnocchi are particularly gummy. In fact, yeah, if gummi bears came in cauliflower? That would be the texture.

KALE GNOCCHI Double Ugh. These were the most disappointing because I thought that the bitterness of kale would work so well in contrast to the floury ingredients. And the color is so pretty! But instead, the taste is very faintly grassy and once again, the texture is super gummy. These are h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e cold, pure garbage.

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI Of the three, we liked these best and would even consider trying again – except that the taste was soooo processed and dripping with buttery-ness. There's sugar here too, the skillet turned almost syrupy with the sauce (that starts off as gross white frozen bits) that formed with heat.

How Many Servings?

This depends, of course, on other things (among them appetite and other dishes on the table) but most especially if it's a main dish serving or a side dish serving. I think each of these make up 4 generous side-dish servings but 2 skimpy main dish servings.

CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI Trader Joe's says a 12-ounce (340g) bag is 2.5 servings.

KALE GNOCCHI Trader Joe's says a 12-ounce (340g) bag is 2.5 servings.

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI Trader Joe's says a 14.1-ounce (400g) is 3 servings.

Make It Homemade?

Believe it or not, my very first Kitchen Parade column back in 2002 was for something called "Cheese Gnocchi Pie". Its form is different than the usual small dumpling bites we think of as gnocchi, instead it's spread in a pie pan to serve in wedges and baked in the oven. The real difference compared to Trader Joe's vegetable gnocchi? It's delicious! And since it only takes 15 minutes to mix, it's definitely weeknight friendly.

One year, I made Spinach Gnocchi for a big group and oh! they were so good and definitely worth the production. Here's that recipe, Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi with Creamy Tomato Sauce.

Trader Joe's Cauliflower, Kale and Sweet Potato Gnocchi: NOT Recommended

These are not worth the money, the calories, the time. Do know, I set a high bar for convenience foods. I like only a few and love even fewer. But will I keep a bag in the freezer? No way.

Trader Joe's Fans

If you love Trader Joe's, look for more product reviews here, Trader Joe's Product Reviews. Enjoy! There are products I really like!




The Bottom Line

Usually, this is where you'd see the recipe for cooking, including nutrition information and Weight Watchers points. But these gnocchi are so bad, frankly, I'm just not willing to invest more time in not just one but three different products. I hope you'll understand!

But I'm truly interested. Are others loving the vegetable gnocchi? Am I missing something?



Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2020


Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. How did you cook them? They are absolute rubbish when you cook them in water but I LOVE them when you saute them frozen. I've only had the cauli ones.

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    1. I followed Trader Joe’s stated preferred cooking method which yes, was sautéing them from the frozen state. It’s cool that you love the cauliflower ones, you might well like the sweet potato too! Thanks for chiming in!

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  2. Alanna, Thank you for posting this. We would have very likely tried these - and now we won't bother. We appreciate your honesty!

    Bobbi Dwyer

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    Replies
    1. Bobbi ~ Thanks so much, that feedback helps! Luckily there are a few good products in the pipeline!

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  3. Thanks for this review. The nearest Trader Joe's is over 75 miles away, so I wasn't likely to buy this. But I always appreciate the forthrightness of your reviews (and love your recipes!).

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    1. EK ~ Thank you, that’s so nice of you to say! (And it totally made my day!) For awhile, we intended to build a house in the country and would have been not 75 miles but 75 minutes from Trader Joe’s and Sam’s Club and any grocery except Walmart. So I was already strategizing how to safely do huge grocery runs every 10 days or so. LOL it was probably a pipe dream to think that I’d keep that up. But I sure would miss them ... just not the gnocchi. Thanks for your kind words!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. (So sorry, as of 4/23/22, I’ve had to turn comments off to prevent hundreds of spam comments a day. Stupid Spammers.) ~ Alanna