How does an ooey gooey, piping hot pan of cheesy cauliflower pizza casserole sound to you?!
Let's make cheesy cauliflower pizza casserole
But seriously, though. Is there anything cauliflower can't do? It can be made into waffles, waffle sandwiches, muffins, biscuits, fried rice, tots, pizza crust, breadsticks, risotto, Alfredo sauce and the list goes on.
Cauliflower can be basically anything it wants to be, and I'm envious of that. But I'm also psyched because these days, there are endless ideas and possibilities for vegetables.
Vegetables are now considered really cool, and I dig it.
What a time to be alive.
Tell me more about this delightful casserole!
Our cauliflower recipe of the day happens to be a cheesy pizza casserole. I know you're already sold (I did say pizza and cheesy), but imma tell you a little bit about it.
It's roasted cauli layered with a homemade creamy beefy tomato sauce, loads of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, spicy pepperoni, fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes.
Anything else you need to know? I mean, YOU GUYS!
It's absolutely delicious, and once baked, the mozzarella and pepperoni layer becomes this cheesy crust that is to-die-for. Hooray for cheesy crust!
I just love all of the fun times we can have with vegetables these days, so I'm running with it.
P.S., speaking of pizza casseroles, I will be sharing my mom's recipe for spaghetti pizza style (the grown up version, sans vegetables) real soon. Real, real soon.
Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza Casserole
Cheesy pizza casserole made with roasted cauliflower, ground beef or Italian sausage, herbs and spices and plenty of cheese.
- Prep Time: 15-20 mins
- Cook Time: 40-45 mins
- Total Time: 55-65 mins
- Yield: Serves 8 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking, Stove-Top
- Cuisine: American, Italian
- 2 medium heads cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets (about 5 cups)*
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Pinch coarse salt and ground black pepper
Tomato Cream Sauce:
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1-pound ground beef or Italian sausage
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried fennel seeds (optional)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, thoroughly drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
- 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup pepperoni slices
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and basil, for garnish
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet. Coat with two tablespoons olive oil and toss with a generous pinch of coarse salt and black pepper. Roast cauliflower for 20-25 minutes, until just tender. Remove from the oven. If there is any moisture on the cauliflower, pat it dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
- In the meantime, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot to medium heat. Add onion and saute 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add ground turkey or Italian sausage and break it up with a spatula, cooking until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in garlic, basil, oregano and fennel. Add tomatoes, crushing with the spatula, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer at medium-high heat and allow to cook 15-20 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper and sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Stir in heavy cream. Optional: Use an immersion blender to puree, if desired.
- Grease a glass or ceramic casserole dish. Layer half of the cauliflower, tomato cream sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and Parmesan cheese. Repeat with remaining cauliflower, tomato cream sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees, until cheese is bubbly and brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve with parsley, basil and red pepper flakes.
Cooking Tips: If using frozen cauliflower florets, allow to thaw, then thoroughly dry with kitchen towels. Homemade tomato cream sauce can be substituted with 2 (24 ounce) jars marinara sauce.
- Serving Size: ⅛ of recipe
- Calories: 406
- Sugar: 12g
- Sodium: 650mg
- Fat: 24g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Unsaturated Fat: 15g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 28g
- Cholesterol: 78mg
Keywords: without pasta, pepperoni, baked, roasted, easy, healthy, comfort food, family friendly