I am always looking for new ways to use the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s, and I think this may be one of my most favorite recipes, yet! My husband loved it, too. I’m also helping you out with meal prep for the week by making a big batch of meatballs, but we only end up using half for the skillet bake! You can freeze the other half for a later date, or use them in other dishes throughout the week.

I used Trader Joe’s vegan cashew kale pesto in this recipe to save time, but you can also make your own using my homemade cashew pesto recipe!

You may have noticed that I ate this during my Whole30. I have decided this round that I am going to be more concerned with ingredients as opposed to being strict about SWYPO. I am comfortable with my relationship with food and boundaries, and I am using this round as more of an experiment to see how certain food groups/ingredients affect me. That being said, if this is your first round or you are trying to heal a troubled relationship with food, I might steer clear of these gnocchi! I’ll leave the decision up to you. For the record, the ingredients are compliant.

Skillet Pesto Meatball & Gnocchi Bake

An Italian One-dish meal that includes grain free pesto meatballs and cauliflower gnocchi in a delicious marinara sauce which is baked to perfection.
5 from 3 votes
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Pesto Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour
  • cup pesto, I used Trader Joe's - feel free to make your own!
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Remaining Ingredients

  • 1 package cauliflower gnocchi
  • 1 28 oz jar marinara sauce , I like Rao's
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil , for garnish
  • 2 tbsp cooking fat (olive oil, avocado oil, or ghee)


  • Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well using your hands. Roll into 1-2 inch balls (mine made about 20 meatballs) and place on the baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet) over medium heat. Add your cooking fat and let it get nice and hot. Add the gnocchi right from the frozen package. Cover the skillet and let them cook for 3-4 mins (without stirring). Stir/flip them, then cook for an additional 3-4 mins until crispy and browned on the outside. Remove the pan from heat and set aside until the meatballs are done.
  • When the meatballs are done, remove 1/2 of them (about 9-10 meatballs) and add them to the skillet with the gnocchi. Save the other 1/2 of the meatballs to use in other meals throughout the week. Turn the oven to broil. 
  • Add the entire jar of marinara on top of the meatballs and gnocchi. Use a spoon to roll them around and make sure everything is covered. Broil the skillet for 8-10 minutes until the meatballs are browned on top and the sauce is bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil and serve!


Calories: 530kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 132mg, Sodium: 1272mg, Potassium: 801mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 789IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 103mg, Iron: 4mg