Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Pizza Bake

Check out a short interview I did for Richmond.com

You know when you get a craving that you just can’t shake? Well, I’ve had that sort of craving for pizza for weeks. Ever since I’ve had to eat much more low-carb, I’ve been craving carbs like nobody’s business. I’ve been scouring google and Pinterest trying to find a decent low-carb pizza crust but haven’t turned up anything terribly exciting. I did find a few recipes that used a cauliflower crust that caught my eye and since I love cauliflower, I made a quick mental note and tucked them away.

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While I was organizing my fridge after a shoot yesterday I noticed a lowly head of cauliflower tucked in my crisper drawer that looked a bit sad. It was getting close to the use or lose it stage so I set it on the counter and contemplated what to do with it. Cauliflower is such a humble little vegetable but it's one of my favorites. I usually eat it roasted with just a kiss of olive, salt, and fresh cracked pepper or smothered in curry.

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I continued putting away and organizing things, including a jar of marinara sauce. We never really buy marinara sauce since we aren’t eating much pasta these days and it’s so simple to make. I wondered what the hell I was going to do with half a jar of sauce and then quickly remembered the cauliflower and cauliflower pizza ideas I had seen floating around.

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I didn’t have the mental energy or will to make a crust so I simply decided to throw it in a cast iron skillet with some sauce, spinach, and cheese and hope for the best. The result was ah.mazing. It instantly kicked my pizza craving and it took serious self-control not to consume the entire piping-hot pan. I may or may not have burned my mouth since I just couldn’t wait for it to cool. It’s that good, trust me.

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Cauliflower Pizza Bake

Yields: 3-4 side dish servings

I ate this dish on it’s own but it would be equally delicious spooned over some quinoa or eaten with a few gluten-free toast points. Also, feel free to add whatever veggies you'd like - mushrooms and caramelized onions would be fantastic.

½-1 head of cauliflower (depending on size and how much you want) cut into small florets

2 heaping handfuls of spinach

1 ½ cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)

3 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into rounds

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan

salt + pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an oven proof baking dish or use a cast iron skillet.

2. Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 3 minutes until they are just lightly steamed. Drain and dry well.

3. Pour ½ cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of your baking dish or skillet and spread around in a thin layer.

4. Add cauliflower, spinach, and remaining sauce. Give it a small pinch of salt and a few pinches of fresh black pepper. Top with mozzarella and parmesan.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and heated through. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.