We gave these veggie-packed pasta pillows a try. See how they compare from a nutrition and taste perspective.

Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.
January 08, 2020
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First cauliflower, now kale. What will they think of next at Trader Joe's to replace the potato in their frozen gnocchi? When I first saw the bag, I wasn't sure if it was a joke or real. My second thought was, whoah—that's some really green gnocchi. But I love kale and I love gnocchi, so I scooped some up, took a look at the nutrition and made the EatingWell team give it a try.

Kale Gnocchi Nutrition

One bag of kale gnocchi is 2.5 servings. Per 1-cup serving you get:

  • 190 calories
  • 3g fat
  • 0.5g saturated fat
  • 480mg sodium
  • 32g carbohydrate
  • 5g fiber
  • 0g sugar
  • 7g protein

The ingredients are: kale, potato starch, chickpea flour, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.

From a nutrition standpoint these are pretty decent numbers. The sodium is a little high, but there is a good amount of fiber and protein. And to see kale as the first ingredient is impressive (and a bit surprising). That means there is actually kale in this pasta, not just a sprinkling of kale powder. It's also gluten-free and vegan.

I think it's worth pointing out that just because they use kale, this isn't carb-free gnocchi. There are 55g of carbs in regular potato gnocchi, so you do save 23g of carbs per serving. That's significant, especially if you are watching your carb intake or have diabetes. TJ's popular cauliflower gnocchi has 22g of carbs per serving and clocks in slightly lower than this new kale version. Kale beats cauliflower when it comes to protein—with 7g compared to 2g—likely coming from the chickpea flour (regular potato gnocchi also delivers 7g protein per serving).

But, How Did It Taste?

We followed the stovetop sauté method on the bag. They browned on the outside, held their shape well and stayed pillowy.

We tasted the gnocchi plain first, then topped it with a little pesto.

It tastes like sautéed kale mixed with potato. The kale flavor is very strong—there's no pretending you don't notice it. But we all enjoyed the taste and texture. Even more so once we added pesto because the kale doesn't come off quite as intensely with a sauce to mellow it out.

We cooked up the cauliflower gnocchi as well to see how these two veggie-packed pastas compared. The kale gnocchi cooks up a bit more straightforward (there's no adding water and waiting for it to cook off) and looked much less gummy than the cauliflower gnocchi. The texture on the kale gnocchi is much better, and we all picked it over the cauliflower from a flavor perspective.

Would I Buy It Again?

For a few extra carbs and calories, cooking up regular gnocchi with some sautéed kale (similar to this recipe) would get my vote 9 times out of 10, but I have a feeling this new addition to TJ's gnocchi lineup is going to be getting some love.