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Cauliflower Gnocchi alla Norma

I’ve always known I wanted to make a quick and easy norma sauce using store bought marinara, and here it finally is - in gnocchi bake form! After making the sauce, you stir the frozen gnocchi right in, throw cheese on top, and bake it until bubbly and perfect. Takes about 45 minutes total, and is so freaking delicious.
Servings 4 to 6 people


  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • 10-inch ovenproof skillet


  • 1 large globe eggplant (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 24- ounce jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I like the Tomato Basil from TJs!)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 bags Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (or Kale Gnocchi!)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (I used fresh in my photos but I prefer shredded)
  • Optional: fresh basil, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Peel the eggplant, then cut it into 1-inch cubes.
  • Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubed eggplant and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cook until VERY tender, like, so tender that you can squish it with the back of the spatula or spoon you’re cooking with, 8 to 10 minutes. If it starts sticking to the skillet, add a tiny splash of oil.
  • Stir in 4 minced garlic cloves for the last 1 minute of cooking the eggplant.
  • Stir in 1 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce! What does it need? More salt? More garlicky flavor? It’ll depend on the sauce you bought! Remove skillet from heat.
  • Stir in 2 bags Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi and smooth the pasta and sauce down into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella over top and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh basil if you’ve got it, and enjoy!


  • Don’t have a TJ’s closeby? Boil 1 pound of rigatoni or penne or rotini pasta and use that instead of the cauliflower gnocchi!
  • You can use fresh mozzarella on top, but it tends to get a little watery!
  • Want to add greens? Stir in 3 cups of spinach just before you stir in the gnocchi. Add the gnocchi after the spinach is completely wilted.