Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pesto, Sausage & Cauliflower Casserole

This one reminds me of the spaghetti squash casseroles I've made, as the flavor resembles baked pasta without the grains. This time I used a cauliflower puree in lieu of the pasta, thanks to a delicious recipe I found on I Breathe, I'm Hungry.

I incorporated some crumbled Italian sausage and dairy-free pesto, as they are two favorites in our household. You could easily use different protein, sauces and flavors to create whatever flavor profile you'd like best. I think some sun-dried tomatoes (the kind packed in oil) mixed in with the cauliflower would be tasty as well.

Pesto, Sausage & Cauliflower Casserole
adapted from I Breathe, I’m Hungry

2 12 oz. bags cauliflower florets (or 2 heads cauliflower, cut into floret)
2 tbs. butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
salt, pepper & garlic powder (to taste)
12 oz. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/3 cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Combine cauliflower florets in a large bowl with butter and milk. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Stir to coat the cauliflower and then microwave for 6 minutes more.

While cauliflower is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook sausages until done. Remove from heat.

Put cooked cauliflower mixture in a blender (or use a stick blender right in the bowl) and process until smooth.

Add a generous amount of salt, pepper and garlic powder, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, a few tbs. of Parmesan and 3 tbs. pesto. Blend until smooth and taste for seasoning. Spread half of cauliflower mixture over the bottom of a greased casserole dish.

Spread 1/4 cup pizza sauce on top along with half of remaining pesto. Top with half of cooked sausage and half of the cheese. Repeat layers, ending with cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375 or until the cheese is melted and turning golden brown. Allow to cool a bit before serving.

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