Gnocchi and Cauliflower, both Pan-Toasted, Doused with Intense Roasted Tomato Sauce

Last week, I extolled the virtues of my fave way to put up tomatoes. I’m picking a big bowlful of tomatoes every few days at my house, and I have developed my own routine. Early in the morning, before it gets hot, I roast them, then freeze them. I’ve also posted my method for freezing basil, and it’s my most popular You Tube video to date! Once you have those two essential meal prep items, you have invaluable flavor, concentrated and ready to go. One really fast and easy meal that you can make with your prep is this Roasted Tomato Sauce over Pan-Toasted Gnocchi.

The Roasted Tomato Sauce Practically Makes Itself

Just imagine, if you will, that it’s December, and there is snow on the ground. (Winter is coming!) You’ve had a long hard day and just walked in from the cold. You’re hungry. Then, you remember your meal prep and you break into a little dance of joy. That’s because you have the essence of summer, concentrated and frozen, ready to serve. It’s like sunshine in a bag. Roasted Tomato Sauce is simply your roasted tomatoes, cooked to reduce, with a hunk of your frozen basil puree stirred in.

Store Bought Gnocchi is Pretty Good

I’m a gnocchi snob. I’ve been teaching people how to make handmade gnocchi for 15 years or so, and have managed to put a homemade gnocchi recipe or two in a few of my cookbooks. Potato, Pumpkin, whole wheat, vegan, gluten free, I’ve done them all. But to be fair, vacuum packed, industrial gnocchi is a pretty decent food. It’s usually just made from potato and a few ingredients, and while it has none of the tender, delicate qualities that a freshly handmade gnocco has to offer, it has a chewy, starch-o-licious quality that is very enjoyable when you don’t have time to make your own.

Pan-Toasting The Gnocchi is the Secret

I’ve always just boiled the gnocchi from the package, in part because I was in a hurry, and it only takes a couple of minutes. But to really give those dumplings some presence and texture, try pan-toasting. It’s not hard, just fry them in olive oil over medium heat. The gnocchi form a crispy skin, and the centers become softer, and the whole affair tastes much fresher.

Once the gnocchi has been jazzed up, it’s a fitting place to display your tomato haul, in all its glory.

Bonus Cashew “Parm” Recipe

I know some of you may have a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano in the fridge, and if that is your thing, go for it. But I really think my cashew-breadcrumb “parm” is worth a try. It performs the same role, adding a boost of umami-rich nuttiness on top of the sweet tomatoes, and the cashews add richness and texture. The crumbs have that ability to make the sauce cling to the gnocchi, too, binding it all together.

So freeze now, feast later, with the ultimate summer meal prep!

Roasted Tomato Sauce over Pan-Toasted Gnocchi

Keyword meal prep
Author Robin Asbell


  • 3 cups roasted tomatoes see recipe
  • 1 pound prepared gnocchi vacuum sealed
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen basil puree see recipe

Cashew Parm

  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • For the sauce: thaw the tomatoes, if frozen, then place in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir until thick, taste for salt. Just before serving, stir in basil puree.
  • For the gnocchi, place a large saute pan over medium heat and drizzle in the olive oil. Add the gnocchi and cauliflower and stir for about 10-15 minutes, until the gnocchi is crisp on the outside, and the cauliflower is tender.
  • Serve gnocchi with sauce, and cashew parm, if desired.

Cashew Parm

  • In a food processor, pulse the cashews until minced finely. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to mix.
    Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for about 3-4 months.