Cauliflower Gnocchi with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Kick your cauliflower gnocchi up a notch with this creamy, sun-dried tomato sauce. Topping with fresh herbs makes for a delicious, rustic dish! Regular gnocchi works great, too.

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Pasta Recipe
Jessica Gavin

Gnocchi is the ultimate Italian comfort food. These little bite-sized dumplings are relatively easier and faster to make by hand compared to traditional pasta. It’s a great option for when you’re craving homemade pasta, but don’t want to spend all day making it.

Instead of potato gnocchi in the recipe, I'm using homemade cauliflower gnocchi. It's easy to make and gluten-free! (Though, yes, you could use regular gnocchi, too!)

I toss the freshly boiled dumplings in a super creamy, sun-dried tomato sauce. The rich sauce, melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi, plus fresh herbs that bring everything together is a rustic feast for any day of the week.

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Gnocchi Recipe
Jessica Gavin

Why You Should Try Cauliflower Gnocchi

Cauliflower gnocchi has hit food superstar status, and it all seems to have started when Trader Joe's launched its version—those frozen bags of pasta are flying off the shelves!

After some test kitchen experimenting, I developed this homemade copycat cauliflower gnocchi recipe that rivals Trader Joe's in texture and flavor.

What makes this rendition so appealing is that it mimics traditional potato gnocchi, giving a tender chew that then dissolves with ease. It’s also gluten-free, packs in low-carb cruciferous produce, and is paleo- and Whole30-friendly.

This is done by combining steamed pureed cauliflower florets, cassava flour, potato starch, salt, and olive oil. The result is an easy dough with just a hint of cauliflower flavor in the finished gnocchi.

For this recipe, boil the gnocchi until they float, and if you’d like, pan fry for extra texture. If you’re skeptical, give it a try. If anything, you’ll have fun making the recipe.

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Gnocchi Recipe
Jessica Gavin

Creamy sun-dried tomato sauce

Now that people are eating cauliflower gnocchi and loving it, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Using sun-dried tomatoes, half-and-half, vegetable stock, and fresh herbs allow you to make a rich and creamy sauce in just a few minutes. It’s all about coaxing out the natural flavors in the ingredients.

The drying process concentrates the sweet and tart flavors of tomatoes at their peak ripeness. This means you just need a small amount to pack a lot of flavor.

I recommend using julienned sun-dried tomatoes that have been packed in oil. They can be used right away without rehydrating, and the texture is much plumper. Make sure to drain off the excess oil. If you’re feeling fancy, you can substitute it for the olive oil in the recipe.

Vegetable broth adds depth to the sauce and balances the creaminess of the milk and cream. When incorporating the half-and-half into the sauce, gradually ramp up the heat in the pan so that the liquid can reduce.

Avoid turning the heat up to a full boil, because this increases the chances for the dairy in the sauce to curdle. Maintain a simmer and stir until the sauce thickens. When ready, it should lightly coat the back of a spoon and cling to the gnocchi.

Gnocchi Recipe with Tomato Sauce
Jessica Gavin

Ways to Finish Your Dish

The two ways to put the finishing touches on an Italian dish are to add fresh herbs and, of course, cheese.

Here, oregano and basil add a hint of licorice, mint, and pepperiness to the sauce. If you only have dried herbs on hand, that’s not a problem! Simply substitute the fresh for dried by using about a 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil. Dried herbs are much more concentrated in flavor, so start with less and increase to taste.

You can never have enough cheese on a pasta plate. I often default to Parmesan, but Pecorino Romano is edging in. This is an aged sheep’s milk cheese with a hard, yet easy-to-grate texture. It adds an extra bit of saltiness, and sharp nutty flavor to finish off the dish.

What to serve alongside gnocchi

Besides a big glass of dry red wine, there are a lot of additional courses that pairs well with gnocchi. A Caesar salad made with a light and citrusy anchovy vinaigrette tops the list as a starter.

Sautéed chicken marsala or cacciatore is a nice main course to serve with the creamy gnocchi. For meat lovers, a seared piece of filet mignon or even rack of lamb also compliments the decadence of the pasta.

More Great Ways to Serve Gnocchi!

Can't get enough gnocchi? Swap gnocchi for the pasta in any of these great recipes:

Cauliflower Gnocchi with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 60 mins
Servings 2 servings

You can double this recipe! When making the cauliflower, be sure you squeeze out the water; you should get about 2-1/2 cups of squeezed cauliflower to turn into gnocchi. The rest of the ingredients should double easily.


  • 1 batch cauliflower gnocchi (or regular gnocchi), homemade or store-bought

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 2/3 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained, divided

  • 1/2 cup unsalted vegetable stock

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, plus more for garnish (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)

  • Black pepper, to taste, for garnish

  • 1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil:

    While you're waiting for the water to boil, make the sauce.

  2. Make the sauce:

    Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add in shallots and garlic, sauté until fragrant and shallots are softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, and sauté for 30 seconds. Pour in the vegetable stock, half-and-half, and sea salt. Stir to combine.

    Turn heat to medium-high. Simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce reduces and thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.

    Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Pasta Recipe make the sauce
    Jessica Gavin
    Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Gnocchi Recipe
    Jessica Gavin
  3. Cook the gnocchi:

    Your water should now be boiling. Carefully add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface, 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to drain the gnocchi and transfer directly to the skillet with the sauce.

    Stir the cooked gnocchi, oregano, and basil into the sauce. If needed, continue to simmer the sauce for a few additional minutes until it coats the gnocchi.

    Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Gnocchi Recipe boil and drain the gnocchi
    Jessica Gavin
    Gnocchi Recipe with Tomato Sauce add that gnocchi
    Jessica Gavin
  4. Serve topped with tomatoes, cheese, and herbs:

    Season the gnocchi with black pepper, and top with the remaining sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, basil, and Pecorino Romano cheese.

    Store the gnocchi in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between.

    Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Gnocchi Recipe
    Jessica Gavin
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
580 Calories
13g Fat
98g Carbs
22g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 580
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 1457mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 98g 36%
Dietary Fiber 13g 48%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 150mg 751%
Calcium 221mg 17%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 1585mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.