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  • Writer's pictureLindsey, EDRD

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Updated: Aug 29, 2019

We did a fun experiment at home over the weekend.

I made a 30 pound “empathy belly” for my husband to wear! So I guess fun for me- not so fun for him. That is not a genuine smile on his face. 

I strapped him in and he mistakenly thought it was “just for a minute to see how it feels.” Nah, I figured he could wear it for at least an hour.

I kept reassuring him that the purpose is not for me to get revenge, but more to enliiiiiiiighten him on it feels.

Ah, fun social experiments aside, I hopped on the cauliflower train this weekend. You’ve probably noticed how cauliflower is having quite the moment. Cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower crust pizza, etc. It’s become the go-to sub for carbs. I should explain that carbs are not inherently bad- our brains rely on glucose (what you get when you break down carbs) for a primary source of fuel. I do endorse a food choice that’s not going to leave you feeling that carb-coma after effect- you know what I’m talking about- the glorious plate of hot pasta that tasted so good doing into your mouth but leaves you feeling like you ate a bowling ball. Not fun. Let’s check it out- Italian Baked Cauliflower.

Italian Baked Cauliflower

For sauce

-1 lb 93% or 96% lean ground beef

-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

-1/3 cup red wine vinegar or actual red wine

-1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

-1 28-oz can diced tomatoes

-1 tablespoon dried basil (I used basil paste)

-1 tablespoon dried oregano

-2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (or you could sub dried here too)

-2 teaspoons ground black pepper

-2 teaspoons salt

-1 tablespoon sugar

-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a Dutch oven saute beef until no longer pink. Add minced garlic. Stir around for a minute or two. Add red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan- scraping up any bits of meat that may have stuck. Reduce heat to low and add remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer at least 20 minutes.

I personally love making homemade marinara sauce, however if you’re in a pinch, you could absolutely sub in ~32 oz jarred tomato sauce. Just saute the meat, add the garlic, then add the sauce. Continue from there.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Ricotta Filling

-1 cup part skim ricotta cheese

-1 block frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to eliminate excess water

-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients. Set aside.


-3 heads raw cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped (we want more the outer florets/”trees”)

-1 8 oz ball fresh mozzarella, cut into ~8 slices

Stir cauliflower florets into the simmering meat sauce. Using a large spoon, create ~6-8 pockets of space and drop a dollop of the spinach-ricotta mix. Cover back with cauliflower. Layer mozzarella slices on top of cauliflower mixture. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender but not mushy. I then cranked up my oven to broil for just a few minutes to get the mozzarella a smidge roasty browned and bubbling. Serve!

(Embarrassingly low quality photo alert!)

Makes six generous servings. Per serving: 390 calories, 32 grams carbs, 14 grams fat, 36 grams protein, and 10 grams fiber. Compare that with a box of pasta, which would bump it up to 580 calories and 73 grams carbs per serving.

When the noodle is simply the vehicle for delicious cheesy meaty sauce, might as well use cauliflower as a swap!

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