Fish & Seafood

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopefully some relaxing time off! I’m diving right into this recipe because I can’t wait any longer. This is one of those recipes that didn’t really start as a recipe. It was just something I threw together for Matt and I for dinner and it was so outrageously delicious that I decided it needed to be shared on Lemon & Mocha as soon as possible. And by as soon as possible I mean a couple months later because I’m working with a schedule here! This is my Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto. We also have some seared asparagus, sweet peas and sautéed shallots tossed in there.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before we go much further though, we need to discuss the product this whole dish centers around – Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Have you tried this yet? They are frozen gnocchi that have cauliflower as the bulk ingredient and have only 140 calories per serving! They are high in sodium since they are a frozen food after all, but the low calories and fat are pretty hard to beat. When I first saw people posting these gnocchi on Instagram, a lot of people were complaining about them being mushy when cooked according to the stove-top instructions on the back of the bag. The ultimate question seemed to be how to cook Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

I thought about how much I love roasted cauliflower and how there’s no way they could get mushy if baked so I thought I would give it a shot. It worked! The gnocchi came out tender and perfectly crispy! Now, if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you there’s plenty of different cauliflower gnocchi recipes posted online if you search and you should be able to bake homemade gnocchi. I will probably test some of the recipes out in the coming months since I like making gnocchi, but in the meantime I’m sticking with these time-saver frozen ones.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, back to this dish. The gnocchi are great on their own or with marinara sauce, but then you would miss out on these crispy shrimp coated in garlic, shallot and pesto. There are not a ton of gnocchi in the bag so I made sure to add in lots of green veggies so the dish would be plenty for the two of us for dinner. I highly recommend the asparagus and peas, but feel free to substitute in whichever vegetables you have on hand that would pair well with the shrimp and pesto. Maybe some spinach and pan-seared cherry tomatoes? Yum! Okay, I hope you all enjoyed this post because on Wednesday we’re going full-blown Christmas dishes and treats!

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ to ¾ pound asparagus, trimmed then cut into thirds
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas
  • 10 raw shrimp
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread the gnocchi out on a baking sheet. Lightly spray them with cooking spray then bake for 40 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden, tossing/flipping 1 or 2 times during cooking.
  3. When the gnocchi are almost done, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the frozen peas.
  4. Push the veggies to the edges of the skillet and add a very little bit more olive oil. Add the shrimp so they are each directly touching the pan and sauté for 3 minutes on each side, or until pink and curled. Lightly season the shrimp with salt and pepper when you put them in the pan. Reduce heat to low. Add in the cooked crispy gnocchi and the pesto. Toss to combine and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Add more pesto or olive oil as needed. Top with grated Parmesan if desired.

 

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Look at this salmon! It is so tender and sticky and sweet and I’m drooling all over my keyboard just writing about it.

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Salmon lovers and salmon haters alike, rejoice! Even the pickiest fish eater will love this meal and I have proof. I’ve been trying to incorporate more fish into my diet over the last couple months. Now I love salmon and plenty of other fish, but Matt usually does not share my sentiments unless it’s sushi. He agreed to try salmon once a week for dinner with me so I set out gathering some recipes to try.

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

The first week I tried this honey mustard baked salmon and it was a big hit for both the salmon lover (me) and the salmon somewhat dis-liker (Matt). The next week when salmon night rolled around Matt requested the honey mustard salmon again instead of a few other recipes I had found. The next week it happened again and soon enough we were having this recipe every week. And let me tell you, I am not mad about this one bit and still can’t get enough of this dish! Every time I get another taste of it I start craving it all over again.

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

The salmon filet is baked in a foil semi-packet, which traps the steam and keeps the salmon incredibly moist and tender.

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

I turned the dish into a sheet pan supper by roasting the broccoli along with the salmon so I could make our side dish at the same time without any extra steps. Also, because this honey mustard sauce is so good I wanted to smother everything in it. The honey brings sweetness while the Dijon and apple cider vinegar help balance it out so it’s not overly sweet. I love the pop of crunch the whole mustard seeds give so definitely don’t skip those! I hope you all try this salmon soon and love it as much as we do!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon & Broccoli
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ pound salmon filet, skinless and boneless
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil, with enough overhang on one short side that you will be able to fold it up and over the salmon (the salmon will be on one half of the baking sheet, the broccoli will be on the other). Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, garlic, apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the salmon filet on the half of the baking sheet with the overhang. Place the broccoli florets on the other. Spoon ½ of the honey mustard mixture over the broccoli florets and toss well so they are fully coated. I usually rub the tops of the florets into the sauce to make sure they get really well coated. Spoon the remaining half of the honey mustard sauce over the salmon filet and brush/spoon so the whole filet is coated, including the sides. Take the overhang of foil and fold it over the salmon like you are making a foil packet that just won’t be sealed on all sides.
  4. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily. Be careful when you pull back the foil because there will be a lot of steam. My salmon filet was about an 1½ inches thick so adjust your time accordingly based on the thickness of your filet. I have found that wild salmon tends to cook much quicker than farm raised (I used farm raised), mostly because wild salmon tends to be thinner. Fold back the foil and broil the salmon and broccoli for 1-2 minutes. Make sure the sauce and broccoli doesn’t burn, but gets slightly browned. Serve as is or alongside some rice or quinoa.

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven.

Sweet & Salty Salmon

Sweet & Salty Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

I don’t cook salmon often so when I finally do I want it to taste unbelievably good. The main reason we don’t have salmon in our regular rotation is because Matt is not a fan. So anything that can mask the “salmony-ness” as Matt puts it is an instant winner in our house.

Sweet & Salty Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

Both Matt and I devoured this Sweet and Salty Salmon. The salmon is marinated and then baked in the marinade, which keeps the fish super moist and tender. The sweet and salty marinade also imparts a ton of flavor on the salmon. The marinade is mostly brown sugar, soy sauce and lime juice. Add in the ginger, jalapeño and cilantro (or parsley if you’re like us and don’t like cilantro), and you have a total Asian-Mexican fusion happening in your kitchen.

Sweet & Salty Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

I found this recipe in one of my absolute favorite cookbooks – Pati’s Mexican Table. I bought it on a whim and made seven recipes out of it for Matt’s Mexican food themed birthday weekend last year. You would think with seven recipes there would be at least a couple that were just okay, but every single one was so amazingly delicious. After that, I am fully confident to cook anything from the book and know the dish will be a winner, and this salmon proved that even more for me the other week. I was nervous about buying a Mexican cookbook since I am so intolerant to spicy food, but I have not had any issues. If you are looking for some delicious meals that have a totally different flavor profile than what you are used to cooking I very highly recommend this cookbook. Just like the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad, if you remove the seeds and pith from the jalapeño it will not make the marinade spicy. However, still be careful with how you cut the jalapeño or any chili pepper!

Sweet & Salty Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

I had an unfortunate incident while making this dish. On photo shoot days I’m so busy cooking and photographing that I don’t have time to sit down and eat so I was multitasking by eating a piece of toast while preparing this marinade. I thought I was being careful about not using my hand that had touched the jalapeño seeds, but I must have switched hands and used my jalapeño hand for the toast. Instant searing pain on the outside of my lip ensued, forcing me to guzzle milk and frantically Google hot pepper burn remedies. This resulted in one so-so solution, which was very carefully washing the outside of my lip with dish soap, and one fantastic solution – peanut butter! I smeared it on my lip and felt instant relief. I also ate some for good measure. I let it sit on my lip for about an hour just to make sure I was in the clear and I was completely pain-free! So, the point of all the dramatics is to be careful when you are using hot peppers, even a mild one like jalapeño. And if you do get a burn, grab that jar of Jif!

Sweet & Salty Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, in case you were wondering, these are the seven recipes I made from the cookbook for Matt’s birthday last year! I will be posting the green rice recipe on Wednesday, but let me know in the comments below if there’s another recipe you would like me to make again and post!
– Charred Tomato Salsa (salsa roja)
– Cooked Green Salsa (salsa verde)
– Creamless Cream of Zucchini Soup (crema de calabacita)
– Oaxaca-Style Mushrooms and Cheese Quesadillas
– Blissful Corn Torte
– Creamy Poblano Rajas (rajas con crema)
My Favorite Green Rice (arroz verde)

Sweet & Salty Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sweet & Salty Salmon
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and pith removed, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 salmon filets, 4-6 ounces each, skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, stems removed and sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, jalapeño, ginger, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes while stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. In a baking dish large enough for the salmon to be in a single layer, place the salmon then pour the marinade on top. Carefully flip the salmon to completely coat in the marinade before leaving the salmon skin-side down. Cover and refrigerate the salmon for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Several times while it’s marinating spoon the marinade over the salmon.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the salmon from the fridge 10 minutes before cooking. Bake the fish for 15-18 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. Carefully remove the skin before serving and garnish with the parsley and scallions.

Recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Smoked Salmon Salad

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

My brother and I are very different from one another, but there is definitely one thing we have in common: we both LOVE to eat. We also share a lot of favorite foods. I’m talking to you macaroni and cheese, sushi, and asparagus!

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another item high on the list is smoked salmon. Man, we can seriously chow down on smoked salmon. Toss us a platter with toast, hard boiled egg and some red onion and we are very, very happy campers. Or happy diners. I wouldn’t suggest bringing a smoked salmon platter camping, but that’s just me. When the two of us walk into a buffet we… oh you got the point already? Okay then, I promise all this raving about our cravings has a point.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

And it is this amazing smoked salmon salad. All the balanced flavors you love from a traditional smoked salmon platter with an added freshness. Refreshing leafy greens are piled with salty smoked salmon, fluffy hard boiled egg crumbles, crunchy mini pumpernickel croutons and red onion.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The whole salad is lightly drizzled with a lemon and shallot vinaigrette that brings an extra pop of acidity and brightness to the dish.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

So a special happy early birthday to my brother who inspired this outrageous dish! I hope you get to eat all your favorites on your birthday.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Salmon Salad
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
for the salad
  • ⅔ cup ½ inch cubes of pumpernickel bread
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon slices
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, crumbled with a fork
  • Thinly sliced red onion
for the dressing
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon capers, optional
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Very lightly toss the bread cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place evenly on a pan and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place the greens on a medium serving bowl or platter. Layer the smoked salmon, hard boiled egg crumbles and sliced red onion on top. Drizzle the salad dressing on top then serve.
for the dressing
  1. Combine the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, parsley and capers, if using, in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Lemon Dill Salmon

Lemon Dill Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just as a quick note before we get started here I would like to point out that all the photos in this post are of the uncooked salmon. I was serving this salmon at lunch quite a while back and didn’t get to photograph the finished product, but I didn’t want you to think this is what the salmon should look like when it is done. Not that you would think that, but you never know.

Lemon Dill Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

As much as I love grilled salmon there is no grilling salmon in my house. We live in an apartment and do not have the luxury of an outdoor grill so all our grilling is relegated to our single grill pan. No one enjoys the lingering smell of cooked fish in the kitchen and even an odor absorbing splatter screen can’t protect the kitchen from grill pan salmon. So oven-cooked salmon it is in my house. Which is fine by me when you have great simple oven-cooked fish recipes like this lemon dill salmon. Dinner can be on the table in twenty minutes with this quick, fresh and healthy salmon dish. I’ve tried other flavor combinations, but this is my favorite that I always keep making. It may seem weird, but don’t be afraid to eat the whole lemon slice on top of the salmon. You slice it so thin that it just adds the right amount of acidity to the fish. Enjoy!

Lemon Dill Salmon
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 4-ounce salmon filets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 4 very thin slices lemon
Directions
  1. Place the salmon filets in a small baking dish. Drizzle both sides of the salmon filets with the olive oil then season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dill evenly on top of the salmon filets then lay the slices of lemon on top. Cover the baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes for until the salmon flakes easily.