This cauliflower baked ziti is creamy, cheesy, zesty, and absolutely delicious. And despite how decadent it looks and tastes, it’s super easy to throw together. You won’t miss pasta for a second as you sneak in an extra serving of veggies. Here’s how!
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This cauliflower baked ziti is so easy to love. Here are a few reasons why I know it’ll be a fast favorite:
- Everything you love about classic ziti with an extra serving of vegetables.
- It’s low carb, gluten free, and keto.
- Keto casseroles make for delicious meal prep–easy to reheat low carb dinners and lunches.
Cauliflower Baked Ziti Ingredients
Everything in classic baked ziti, but hold the pasta, please! Here’s what you’ll need for this flavor packed dish:
- Store bought vs. homemade spaghetti sauce – If you’re watching your carbs, check labels carefully or make your own keto spaghetti sauce, as most products are loaded with carbs.
- Whole cauliflower vs. florets – You can use either here, just be sure to weigh your cauliflower and use 24 ounces of florets for the proper sauce-to-cauliflower ratio.
- Whole milk vs. skim ricotta – Either will work, although whole milk ricotta with add much more creamy flavor.
How to Modify This Keto Baked Ziti
This cauliflower ziti is delicious as is but easy to modify to accommodate your personal taste. Here are a few ways to switch things up:
- Use a different kind of meat. Simply sub in ground beef or ground chicken (for a ground chicken casserole). If you use something other than Italian sausage, you’ll want to add more Italian seasoning.
- Add more cheese. Take a lesson from my spaghetti squash casserole, more cheese is always a good thing.
- Make a vegetarian baked ziti by skipping the sausage–just add more Italian seasoning.
- Make it spicy by using hot Italian sausage and adding red pepper flakes.
- Use different noodles. Check out my favorite veggie swaps, such as zucchini noodles, butternut squash noodles, or spaghetti squash. Skip shirataki noodles here as they’re best used in stir-fries.
Swapping roasted cauliflower for pasta makes this baked ziti even easier, and requires fewer dishes:
1. Bake cauliflower until fork tender.
2. Make the sauce by cooking the sausage, sauteing the onion and garlic, then return the sausage to the pan with the spaghetti sauce and heavy cream. Add cauliflower and stir to combine.
3. Make the white sauce by combining all ingredients together.
4. Layer everything in the casserole dish, ending with a sprinkle of parmesan.
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes, you can! I like to store individual portions for easy-to-reheat freezer meals–toss a little extra cheese on top before reheating, and sprinkle your warm slice with freshly chopped basil.
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Cauliflower Baked ZitiPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 24 Ounces Cauliflower florets
- 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil divided
- 1 Pound Italian Sausage
- 1 Teaspoons Salt divided
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper divided
- 3/4 Cups Onion chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 3 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning divided
- 3 Cups Keto Spaghetti Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 8 Ounces Ricotta
- 1 Large Egg lightly beaten
- 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan grated
- 1 Cup Mozzarella shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Toss cauliflower florets (24 ounces) in olive oil (2 tablespoons), salt, and pepper. Bake in a 9×13 casserole dish in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil (1 tablespoon). Once simmering, add the Italian sausage (1 pound). Crumble the meat into small pieces with the back of your spoon, as it cooks.
- Once cooked through (no longer pink), transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of grease in the pan (if there isn't that much grease left, make up the difference in olive oil).
- Add the chopped onion (3/4 cup), minced garlic (2 cloves), and Italian seasoning. Saute until the onion is soft — about 5-7 minutes.
- Return sausage to the pan, along with spaghetti sauce (3 cups), and heavy cream (1/4 cup).
- Bring sauce to a simmer, and cook on low as the sauce thickens slightly.
- Once cauliflower has finished cooking, toss the cauliflower in the red meat sauce.
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta (8 ounces), lightly beaten egg (1 large in size), nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon), and the remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
- Layer the ingredients in your 9×13 casserole dish, starting with half the cauliflower and red meat sauce, followed by 1/2 the ricotta mixture, then 1/2 the mozzarella and 1/2 the parmesan. Repeat, ending with parmesan on top.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden. Allow it to cool slightly before slicing, and enjoy!
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- Nutritional information is based on 1 serving if you divide this recipe into 12: