This low carb cauliflower casserole recipe has been on my list of things to work on for months but I kept putting it off in favor of more Summer friendly recipes. I finally tested it out the other day because I had all of the ingredients, but didn’t plan on posting it until this fall when comfort food reigns supreme again.
After the first bite it was so amazing that I immediately bumped it to the top of my calendar because I simply couldn’t wait to share it with you! Once you taste it you’ll know why!
If you’re making your vodka sauce from scratch (this is my favorite recipe), it’s the perfect way to use up some of those ripe, summer tomatoes – but you can also use a good quality store bought sauce like I did for expediency (read: get it into your face faster!)
Mr. Hungry and I have always been huge fans of Penne alla Vodka and have eaten it in some of the best restaurants in New York, including the very exclusive Rao’s in Harlem thanks to a friend who works for someone with a table there (everything we ate that night was amazing by the way.)
After going low carb and gluten free, Penne alla Vodka is one of the things I miss most when we eat out at Italian restaurants now. Mr. Hungry orders it often still and it’s hard for me to resist every time – if I’m being honest sometimes I don’t, but I usually regret it the next day.
Though if I ever get a chance to eat at Rao’s again, I will definitely be chowing down on some of their Penne alla Vodka (without regret!) along with their amazing meatballs and seafood salad! Aaaaaaand now I’m starving.
Anyway, this low carb penne alla vodka casserole recipe using cauliflower to stand in for the pasta is a surprisingly good substitute – just as hearty and satisfying as the real thing in my opinion. I added loads of Parmesan cheese and I think it really makes it, so don’t skimp there and use a good quality cheese for the best flavor.
Another important note is to make sure your cauliflower is very well drained before adding it to the casserole or you’ll end up with a bland, watery sauce. I microwaved my cauliflower, which dries it out nicely, but even then I could have let it drain in a colander after cooking for a bit.
In fact I wish I had, because the next day I had to drain some liquid out of the casserole that had leached out of the cauliflower overnight. Still delicious, just diluted a little – so be sure to dry out your cauliflower as much as possible before mixing it with the sauce.
This is the perfect low carb vegetarian main meal or side dish, but you could also add cooked chicken or shrimp to this recipe to make it even more hearty and turn it into a delicious one pot meal the whole family will love.
Even Mr. Hungry was surprised at how good it smelled – he made the statement “you can’t smell the cauliflower at all” which is high praise because the man really detests cauliflower in all forms and can’t even stand the smell of it when I cook it for myself.
If I could actually get him to eat it then I’d really be celebrating, but…baby steps.
This is definitely one of my best low carb cauliflower recipes to date, and that’s saying something because the Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole and Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole recipes are both really popular here on IBIH.
I expect this amazing cauliflower recipe to jump to the front of the pack pretty quickly though and I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback in the comments if you try it!
- 8 cups cooked cauliflower florets, well drained
- 2 cups vodka sauce
- 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 6 slices Provolone cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Combine the cauliflower, vodka sauce, heavy whipping cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat well.
- Transfer into a 9 x 13 baking dish (or equivalent) and top with slices of Provolone (or mozzarella) cheese.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree (F) oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is completely melted.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Top with chopped fresh basil and serve.
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