Spinach Pesto Cauliflower Gnocchi

I have a bookshelf of cookbooks, but I hardly use them!

Let me clarify, I use them for inspiration and to read the stories of the chefs and cooks who create such deliciousness, but it’s rare that I follow most of the recipes to a “T”.

Cooking without a recipe can be so freeing and allows you to customize recipes according to your tastes, budget, and the time to you have prepare. I used to get a lot of gripes from my husband about “not following the recipe” if something came out a little “off” but I looked at this as part of the process of trial and error in the kitchen and finding flavors and ingredients we love. Plus, who’s to say that every detailed, written recipe would be a slam-dunk anyway?

So, I know it’s ironic that I’m talking about cooking without a recipe, but am here posting you a “recipe” for one of my latest creations. Many of you asked questions about the main ingredient, so I figured a post to describe how to cook the infamous cauliflower gnocchi could be helpful. So, whether you follow all the steps to this recipe, or only the gnocchi cooking method, I hope you enjoy!


Spinach Pesto Cauliflower Gnocchi- serves 2


  • 1 cup potato gnocchi

  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi

  • 1 large yellow summer squash, sliced into thin half moons

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes

  • Half pound ground sweet chicken sausage

  • 3 tbsp spinach pesto from Jar of Lemons

  • Olive oil and salt as needed


  1. Preheat oven to broil. In a small bowl, mix cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil, toss, and lay on half sheet baking tray. Slide tray into oven and broil for 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to burst. Remove and let cool.

  2. Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Dump in potato gnocchi and cook until gnocchi rise to the top and appear fluffy. Strain gently and set aside.

  3. In a large saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and add chicken sausage. Break apart with a wooden spoon and cook until no pink remains. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl on the side.

  4. To the same heated saute pan, add sliced yellow squash and a touch of water. Cook squash until tender and to your liking. Turn off heat.

  5. Place cauliflower gnocchi in a glass bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes. Once finished, transfer cauliflower gnocchi to saute pan with reserved squash. Turn on heat and gently move items around to continue to heat cauliflower gnocchi through. It’s ideal if the gnocchi starts to brown a little too.

  6. Then add the cooled potato gnocchi, cooked sausage, and grape tomatoes. Give everything a big stir and mix together. Turn off the heat and add spoonfuls of spinach pesto- you be the judge of how saucy you’d like this dish to be.

Greek Pasta Salad

When I’m needing to carb-load for a running race I always turn to pasta. Now, when I say “carbo-load” whose mind goes straight to Michael Scott shoving fettucini alfredo into his mouth minutes before the Dunder Mifflin 5k? This is a practice I do not advise, but I’m hoping you already figured that one out for yourself.

If you do find yourself training for a long distance running or sporting event, I recommend increasing your carbohydrate intake for the few days prior to race day. Our muscles can hold large stores of glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates), which will get broken down into glucose (a fast energy source) for your muscles to use for your event, and so we want those reserves nice and full. Carbohydrate sources that I recommend would be pasta, bread, potatoes, and fruits and vegetables.


So, with the Newport Liberty Half Marathon days away, I pulled together a four veggie pasta salad to enjoy for lunch during the week. I used a mixture of Banza, a chickpea based pasta, and regular white flour pasta for this dish, but feel free to use all white or whole wheat pasta if you prefer. The thing I love about pasta salads is that the add-ins are really up to you! I usually like to pick a “theme” and base my vegetables and other bits by this idea. For this recipe I was feeling Mediterranean and created a Greek-style dish that used up some summer produce from my fridge.

Ready, set, carb!

Greek Pasta Salad- serves 2


  • 2 cups cooked pasta- Banza, white, or whole wheat

  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced small

  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 10 pitted kalamata olives, halved

  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons

  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flake

  • Juice from half of a lemon

  • Feta cheese and hemp seeds, for topping

  • Olive oil


  1. Cook pasta according to instructions until al dente. Drain and reserve.

  2. Into a large mixing bowl, add chopped cucumber, diced bell pepper, halved tomatoes, and olives. Once pasta is cooled, add to bowl.

  3. In a heated saute pan, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add prepared kale and crushed red pepper to pan and saute until kale becomes soft. Immediately transfer cooked kale to pasta and veggie mixture while warm, mix well.

  4. To pasta mixture, add lemon juice and 2 teaspoons more of olive oil. Mix everything until well combined. To serve, top with 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds and desired amount of crumbled feta cheese.