Easy Cauliflower Gnocchi Nachos (Low Carb Friendly)

Easy Cauliflower Gnocchi Nachos in a cast iron skillet

A lower carb, healthy approach to making smoked nachos on the Big Green Egg using a cauliflower style gnocchi in place of classic tortilla chips for a delicious game day snack!

Whether it’s a Taco Tuesday or a game day weekend treat you’re looking for, these cauliflower gnocchi nachos are my new easy go-to for a quick recipe that never disappoints (and is a little lower carb than the standard nacho platter).

I was inspired to make this recipe from the fun “tachos” (tater tot nachos) I’ve see out in the world and wondered if subbing a crispy crunchy tater tot with a crispy cauliflower gnocchi instead. Fun fact, it worked and now I’m obsessed!

Easy Cauliflower Gnocchi Nachos in a cast iron skillet on a brown board.

Grab the recipe for this below, read through for a fun take on this recipe by smoking these nachos or “gnocchos” on my Big Green Egg, and learn the best strategies for cooking methods for Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi.

“School” Supplies:

  • Cast Iron Skillet or Baking Sheet
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Knife & Cutting Board
  • Oven Mitts

“Class” Notes:

Below I’ve broken down the different cooking tips and methods for preparing this recipe and a break down of ingredients as well!

What is cauliflower gnocchi? What does it taste like?

Cauliflower gnocchi is a different take on a classic potato gnocchi. Gnocchi is a popular Italian dumpling style pasta like dish often found in Italian cooking. Over the last few years, you can find healthier alternatives like this cauliflower based substitute that can be paired with traditional pasta sauces or in this case, a base for nachos.

So what does cauliflower gnocchi taste like? Well, a bit like cauliflower to be honest (but not in a bad way). It’s a mild flavor that comes through but it is easy to mask with things like seasonings and sauces (or in this case all the nacho toppings you can think of).

A bag of trader joe's cauliflower gnocchi

The real standout in this dish is the texture. It has a nice crispy outside and a somewhat chewier dough like inside that makes it taste pretty awesome in my opinion. Texture plays as much of a role as flavor does in this dish.

While you can make a cauliflower gnocchi from scratch, this is definitely one of those recipes that I find it’s best to whip up a batch by pulling out a bag of pre-made cauliflower style gnocchi from my freezer. I have found cauliflower gnocchi in the freezer section most commonly at Trader Joe’s or Aldi. A quick google search may show where you can find it near you as well.

Is Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi keto friendly?

In short, not really. Why? Well, while I’m a firm believe in “ketosis is a metabolic state and not a food” this one is definitely going to put you more into the “cleaner eating” and “low carb” recipes category over something that is truly keto friendly.

A one cup serving is 16 net carbs, making this difficult for someone who is strict on a 20 net carb diet. This is due to the gluten free starches that are present in this recipe such as potato starch and cassava flour.

While it might not fit a strict keto diet, there are no crazy ingredients (cauliflower, potato starch, cassava flour, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil) that you can’t pronounce as well as a good serving of vegetables in this dish!

A bowl of seasoned cauliflower gnocchi

How do I get cauliflower gnocchi crispy and not soggy?

There are a few methods I like to use to get the gnocchi to be crispy before adding any of my nacho toppings. Because it comes frozen, you need to defrost and cook it completely and this can sometimes lead to a soggy mushy mess if not done correctly. Here are a few methods to use:

Baking: Bake them on a preheated parchment paper covered baking sheet in the oven (I even sometimes place a cooling rack down so they are elevated) and cook them through at 425 F. for about 15 minutes or so.

Air Fryer: Season them up and toss them in the air fryer at 400 F for about 10-12 minutes or until your desired level of crispiness!

Grill: Preheat your grill or smoker and a cast iron pan together at 425 F. and let them cook in the pan until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Cauliflower gnocchi being crisped on a cast iron on the big green egg grill.

How to make your “Gnocchos”:

  1. Start by seasoning your cauliflower gnocchi with a little avocado oil spray or a little olive oil and add some Mexican seasonings like cumin, chile powder, smoky paprika, cayenne, and a little sea salt. Toss it all together so it’s nice and coated.

2. If you plan on adding any protein (meat/poultry/pork) and it’s not already cooked, then cook this first and set it aside. This recipe shows some cooked and browned ground pork chorizo I had but any meat works great!

3. Prep all your other toppings so you’re ready to assemble the gnocchos easily.

A platter of all the nacho toppings for the cauliflower gnocchi nachos

4. Smoke the gnocchi first in a cast iron skillet on the grill at 425 F (ore preheat the oven in making this indoors) for 15 minutes, flip halfway through if needed. Then add in your meat/protein and your cheese of choice. Let it cook another 10-15 minutes as needed to melt and get smoky and delicious.

5. Remove from the grill and add on your toppings! I mixed in some spicy BBQ sauce or hot sauce, fresh pico de gallo, some black olives, green onions, and of course my go-to guacamole recipe.

A plate of Cauliflower Gnocchi Nachos

Serve this up as an appetizer or side dish and pair with this delicious low carb margarita and enjoy!

Yield: 4-6

Easy Cauliflower Gnocchi Nachos (Low Carb Friendly)

Easy Cauliflower Gnocchi Nachos in a cast iron skillet

A lower carb, healthy approach to making smoked nachos on the Big Green Egg using a cauliflower style gnocchi in place of classic tortilla chips for a delicious game day snack!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag Cauliflower Gnocchi
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Taco Seasoning
  • 1 cup Seasoned Meat (Chorizo, Ground Beef, Shredded Chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Toppings:
  • Salsa/ Pico De Gallo
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Sliced Black Olives
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven or grill to 425 F. If using an air fryer set it to 375 F.
  2. Take your frozen cauliflower gnocchi out of the package and toss it in a little olive oil and the taco seasoning. Crisp or cook it separately to start before adding the nacho toppings. You can do this in the over in on the grill or is the air fryer.
  3. Grill & Oven: Place the seasoned gnocchi in a cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes or until browned. If air frying, place the gnocchi into the basket and cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the grill/oven/air fryer and add your protein (if using) and then cover in the cheese and place back into your oven or grill (I would not air fry at this point). Continue to cook/ smoke for 10-15 minutes until everything is heated through, the cheese has melted and start to brown a bit.
  5. Remove from your heat source and top with your favorite nacho toppings (salsa, jalapenos, balk olives, green onion, guacamole, sour cream, and hot sauce). Serve straight from the pan and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 319mgCarbohydrates: 14gNet Carbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g