Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole

September 2, 2015

Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole
We all love cauliflower at this point, don’t we? It has come a long way. A very, very long way.
We’ve tried it as pizza crust, bread, tortillas, rice, noodles, soufflé, even hot pockets. We blend it into mashed “fauxtatoes” and roast it until it becomes perfectly caramelized, nutty, and sweet.
Mel even makes brownies with it, Lau uses it in cakes, while Synthia blends it to create a delicious rice pudding.
But friends, have you combined it with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil to make an awesomely delicious bake?
This is my not-so-humble addition to the cauliflower craze, and it has seriously become by far one of my favorite casseroles of all time. (It might become yours too.)

Cauliflower Mixture
I know, I know, not everyone is a fan of cauliflower. People all too often associate cauliflower with bland vegetable plates at family gatherings. There it would be, squished in between baby carrots and broccoli, waiting to be dipped in some not-so-fancy ranch. Bleh.
Nonetheless, even if you don’t think you’re not much of a cauliflower person (mom, I’m looking at you) you must try this casserole.

Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole
Caramelized cauliflower florets swim in a light tomato cream sauce. Gooey mozzarella melts in between pops of grape tomatoes and fresh basil. A golden crust forms on the top.
All you need to do is dig in.
The cauliflower makes this dish super low calorie and the servings are HUGE. You will absolutely be satisfied after eating this dish and be left with no regrets, as it is all vegetables and a tad of much-deserved melted cheese.
You need this.

Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole
Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole                                                        Print this recipe!
Inspired by HowSweetEats

Ingredients
Serves 6

1 medium cauliflower head, washed, trimmed, cored, and cut into florets
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
⅓ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
A handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle. Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of olive oil and set aside.
Spread cauliflower florets in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is lightly caramelized, turning once.
In the meantime heat tomato sauce and tomato paste in a large saucepan over low heat. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, Parmesan, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the cauliflower.
Fold in half of the mozzarella, half of the tomatoes, and a pinch of the chopped basil.
Pour the entire cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Top with remaining mozzarella and remaining tomatoes.
Lower oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining basil leaves, and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 178 calories, 10 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of protein.

36 comments:

  1. So yum! I love all your cauli recipeS and this one looks just amazing! Pinning !

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  2. I think you must be secretly living in my brain, because I have been recently pondering making a cauliflower casserole, since cauliflower is my most favorite thing ever. Well, except anything Caprese. So, this? I NEED> Pinned!

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  3. This looks really tasty! Funny, I just (last night) made a cauliflower and mushroom gratin (pix on my instagram - garlicandzest) When I saw yours, it looked so much like mine, I thought, jinx! They're completely different recipes though!

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    1. Oh, that's awesome. I need to check your recipe then! :D

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  4. Pinned too... I'm definitely making this very soon!

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  5. This looks amazing ... and I just saw it's inspired by How Sweet Eats, one of my favorites!!!!! (and Jessica is a fellow Pittsburgher!!) :)

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  6. You had me at "caramelized cauliflower florets"... and then I re-committed at "the servings are huge!" BIG volume eater right here! This casserole looks riiiidiculously amazing! Bring on that cheese!

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    1. I know right? Cheese and huge servings, is there anything better?

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  7. "Caramelized cauliflower florets swimming in a light tomato cream sauce" sounds awesmazing, my friend! But imagine if that cream was replaced with pureed cauliflower - ooh now that sounds even more yum as that will ensure that I don't clear the room! ;)

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    1. That's a great idea my friend, I need to try that asap!

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  8. I could live on this dish Mike......all the favorites!

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  9. It's 9pm EST and I'm currently starving. This recipe is making me extra hungry!! Looks so so delicious. If I had those ingredients I'd bake that right now. Next week, I shall!

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  10. Yup, the combo of cauliflower, tomatoes, and cheese really is hearty and delicious! Sometimes I sprinkle the top with some pumpkin seeds - they're a good addition!

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    1. Pumpkin seeds are a great addition, thanks for the idea!

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  11. Your casserole pictures are the best. :)

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  12. I think you just made me a convert. :) This looks a-mazing Mike. Pinned.

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  13. I'm crazy about anything related to caprese, so I can't wait to try this out with some heirloom tomatoes from Farmer's Market next week!

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  14. I love your recipes (this is beautiful and going on my list!), but I wish you would direct link the inspirational recipe.

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  15. Just made this for dinner and it is unbelievable! Thank you thank you!

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  16. Can you sub evaporated milk instead of using heavy cream?

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  17. Does this taste like a faux vodka sauce b/c of the cream? Looks delicious. Will save it.

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  18. Just made this on the weekend and it was sooo delicious! I couldn't resist adding spicy Italian sausage and Kalamata olives, so I guess my version wasn't quite as healthy...

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  19. We made this tonight and it was very good! Husband and teen ate it, too, and they aren't cauliflower fans. Thank you!

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  20. this dish is a hit and even for my non-veggie loving better half. I sliced the cauliflower so it got a bit caramelized as it roasted. really great depth and flavor. thanks so much!

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  21. I'm making this right now, and I can't stop stealing spoonfuls of that amazing tomato sauce while I wait for the cauliflower to finish caramelizing! Delicious! I added a little garlic, since I love it :)

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  22. Looks wonderful, and I'm making it for a dinner party. Question... can I make it ahead? Perhaps construct the dish and set aside, then bake for the final 30 minutes + broiling?

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    1. Absolutely, I do it all the time!

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    2. Thanks, Mike. Delighted to discover your blog.

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