Coming up with more plant-based, hearty dinners that leaves my Oklahoma meat-and-potatoes husband feeling like he “ate” something can be somewhat difficult.
With winter weather causing comfort-food cravings, (okay, it’s been in the 70’s for the last week!) this has been a challenge I am happy to accept.
Cauliflower does double duty in this take on eggplant parmesan. This hearty and filling cruciferous vegetable adds staying power to your meal while roasting the florets makes for delicious crispy bits. No breading necessary.
With simple ingredients and easy prep, you can use a store-bought pasta sauce of your choosing for an even quicker assembly. I recommend using a garlic pasta sauce, but if using one on hand that isn’t robustly garlic, add some minced garlic to the dish.
- 2 small to medium cauliflower heads, cut into florets
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups (about 25oz) garlic pasta sauce
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup torn fresh mozzarella (bite-sized pieces)
- fresh oregano for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Spread cauliflower florets in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for 30 minutes. Cauliflower should have charred, crispy bits on tips.
- Lower heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9x13 baking pan or 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread a ½ cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom. Layer a ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese on top. Add half of the roasted cauliflower in an even layer, followed by ⅓ cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with 1½ cups of pasta sauce, followed by ½ cup (minus a couple tablespoons for topping) of remaining Parmesan cheese. Add remaining cauliflower, then mozzarella cheese, followed by remaining ½ cup of pasta sauce. Sprinkle with reserved tablespoons of Parmesan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.