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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Trader Joe's Outside-In Stuffed Gnocchi

Finally, it's officially fall. The afternoons are still quite warm here in the midwest, but it was nice and cool yesterday morning, so we were craving something hot and somewhat hearty for lunch. We'd normally do pierogies on that kind of day, but lacking those, we opted for gnocchi. Similar, right? Heated in the skillet with butter and/or oil, potatoes, cheese... I mean, they're not exactly the same, but a pierogi craving could certainly be curbed with gnocchi, no?

I fired up the stove top, took a couple product pics for the blog, and tore open the bag. And then...I followed the heating instructions exactly.

What resulted was nothing resembling pasta or dumplings, but little balls of mashed potatoes with bits of cheese and tomato sauce inside. I mean, "mushy" would be an understatement. The taste was perfectly fine. What's not to like about the taste of potatoes, mozzarella cheese, and something vaguely reminiscent of marinara sauce? Nothing. Delish.

The texture was another story. The gnocchi would often rupture or disintegrate as I stirred them. You can see one specimen in the pic is showing its tomatoey insides there where I accidentally punctured it during the heating process. I took a few bites, somewhat disappointed with the uber-soft squishiness of my gnocchi...but then I discovered a piece that had not been stirred properly. It had sat right in one spot for more than six minutes. It was a deep brown on its underside, nearly burnt. It was perfect! The outer shell was firm, chewy, nearly crispy. 

So...I simply heated the uneaten portion a bit longer. And by "a bit longer," I guess I mean a lot longer. I stopped looking at the clock and just watched the food. Once the gnocchi were all nicely browned, I turned off the burner. After that, these little guys made a great warm lunch on a cool day.

The gnocchi are super-filling and dense. They are indeed like pierogies, but still significantly softer, even when cooked extra long, and their shells are actually potato based, rather than pasta filled with potato. The cheese and sauce are pretty tasty, although there's not quite enough of either. One blurb on the bag states, "The sauce is on the inside!" Farther down in the heating instructions, it says to add your own favorite sauce. Smh. Which is it? Stop sending mixed messages, Mr. Joe.

We ate ours without extra sauce, and we liked them just fine, although Sonia would have preferred a lot more of the tomato-based topping and would have added more if we had it. 

Three and a half stars a piece on this one. $2.99 for a pound. Pretty darn good value if you ask me.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. I tried these when my local TJ's had them out for sampling, paired with a creamy marinara type sauce. It went well together, so I bought them both. Other frozen gnocchi I had found there had cooked up very rubbery, so I was thrilled to find these, which have exactly the right texture--soft and pillowy. But you have a good point about heating technique... letting them sit until they are nice and browned on one side and then giving them a gentle turn has worked for me. After buying them a few times in close succession, though, I need to take a break. They are so rich, especially with the sauce.

  2. I used the airfryer for this. It came out crispy and delish.

  3. Honestly, as lazy as it sounds, I've only ever microwaved them to perfect results!


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