Baked Cauliflower Ziti

I used to think Broccoli was underrated, but I changed my mind. A lot of people don’t know what they are missing out on with Cauliflower. In the last year I’ve started using Cauli for things like rice or pizza crust, until this weekend when I used it for a pasta dish. You read that right, pasta, friends!

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I came across this recipe from Eating Bird Food and I knew it was the perfect meal for a Sunday Night Dinner! Brittany adapted this recipe from another blogger but the EBF version included a protein so that was the variation I chose to make.

A lot of people ask me if I miss eating pasta and to be honest, I don’t really miss it all that much. I was never a huge pasta person to begin with, but now I actually don’t have a reason to miss it. I’ll just whip up a batch of this instead!  This dish was super filling and really did taste just like I was eating baked mostaccioli. This will definitely be a repeat dish in my kitchen!

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Before this recipe I had never heard of Goat Cheddar cheese and I had a hard time finding it because I was looking by the shredded oranges cheeses. I ended up finding this in a block at Trader Joe’s and I just grated it myself (TJ’s has everything!).

I also love to make my food spicy, so I added crushed red pepper to the pizza sauce.  The other thing I would do differently next time, is add some chopped mushrooms in addition to the spinach.

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I prepped this meal in the morning and stored it in the fridge for the day before baking it but you can also freeze it for up to three months.  If you are freezing it you would just mix all of the raw ingredients (except the meat should be cooked) together and store it in a covered baking dish.  Brittany recommends that if you are freezing it, to let it thaw completely in the dish before baking so the dish doesn’t shatter and you would bake it longer (1 hour and 15 minutes).

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This recipe was super easy to make and yields multiple servings – I can’t wait to eat some leftovers for lunch today!

Baked Turkey and Cauliflower Ziti

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and chopped
  • 2½ cups Pizza Sauce (I used store bought Classico in the jar)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ TSP fine sea salt
  • 1 TSP crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheddar, shredded
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, combine the cauliflower, pizza sauce, crushed red pepper and stir well to coat. Bring the sauce to a boil over and once bubbling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot to let the cauliflower cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking, brown the ground turkey, drain and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, grated cheese, and salt. Set aside.
  5. After the cauliflower is tender, stir in the spinach and mushrooms and simmer to cook off any excess moisture in the pot, the final result shouldn’t be watery. This may take about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the turkey as well as the egg and cheese mixture.
  7. Transfer the complete mixture to an oven safe baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, until the eggs have set and the cheese is bubbly on top. Allow the dish to cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Eating Bird Food

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