Fettuccine w/ Cauliflower Pesto

One of my favorite memories when I was little would have to be when my Mom would let my sister Melissa and I put food coloring in our mashed potatoes.  We could choose any color and do it ourselves.  Any of you  who know my mom probably don’t find this surprising.  Mom LOVES color.  She even has a Pinterest Board called “Rainbow” which I just love.  It’s obvious where I come from.

Directly from the Rainbow Pinterest page... don't you wish these existed, I do!

Directly from the Rainbow Pinterest page… don’t you wish these existed, I do!

Remember how gross these were??

Remember how gross these were??

Some fake colored food looks gross like the ketcup, but this Ice Cream is calling my name!

Some fake colored food looks gross like the ketcup, but this Ice Cream is calling my name!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom didn’t let us color our taters because it was more fun of course, she did it because it made us eat our dinner!  Another favorite trick for this was Mom’s veggie dipping sauce.  The magical sauce made from fat free sour cream, a little bit of mayo, parm, garlic, salt and pepper made my sister and I eat all of our green veggies every night.

What kind of tricks do you use to get your kids to eat right?  What do you remember your mom doing?

Today’s trick is my new favorite way to get Cauliflower into the mix… and it’s not cauliflower mash- that’s just so 5 years ago.

Fettuccine w/ Cauliflower Pesto

Ingredients:

1 small head or 1/2 large head Cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into chunks

3 cloves Garlic

1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (large pinch)

1/2 cup Almonds, toasted and cooled

2oz Parmesan Cheese (plus more for serving)

1/2 jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped (I used trader joe’s which are strips, packed in oil.  Make sure you rinse the oil off very well)

1 Tablespoon Drained Capers

3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley

1/3 cup Olive Oil

1/2 – 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar

1lb box of Fettuccine (I used whole wheat)

Directions:

1.  Prepare pesto.  Pulse 1/2 the cauliflower chunks in a food processor until it looks like couscous.  Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the second batch adding to the bowl when done.  You should have 3.5 cups of fluffy cauliflower bits.  

2.  Pulse the garlic, pepper flakes, almonds, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parsley in the food processor until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.  You may have to stop a few times and stir.  Add to the bowl with the cauliflower.  Add the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar, a few pinches of salt, and stir until combined.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding vinegar if necessary.  I had to add salt and some black pepper.  

3.  Cook the pasta.  Heat a very large pot of highly salted water and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente (check box for timing).  When you drain the pasta, reserve a cup or so of the cooking water.  

4.  Assemble the dish!  Toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower pesto and half of your reserved pasta water.  If the pesto looks too thick, add more pasta water.  Top with some additional Parmesan cheese when serving.  Enjoy!

Recipe barely adapted from:  Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

This is what your cauliflower should look like after you pulse it in the food processor.

This is what your cauliflower should look like after you pulse it in the food processor.

Now it's time to mix the rest of the ingredients.

Now it’s time to mix the rest of the ingredients.

Not going to win any awards for being the prettiest, but here is the pesto mixed together and ready to be added to my hot pasta or some crusty bread.

Not going to win any awards for being the prettiest, but here is the pesto mixed together and ready to be added to my hot pasta or some crusty bread.

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Cauliflower Pesto

This pasta had so many tasty flavors and textures.  I just loved the crunch from the bigger pieces of almonds that wouldn’t pulse any smaller.  Along with the nutty taste from the almonds and olive oil, the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parm cheese left little room for the pasta to taste like cauliflower.  It all just worked so well together that you would never know there was a whole head of cauliflower in there!

While I rarely cook for enough people to make an entire box of pasta, I did cook enough to have some leftovers.  Dave and I enjoyed this pasta without reheating it the next day for lunch.  We also took Deb’s advice and saved some of our large batch of Cauliflower Pesto and spread it on top of some cut up crusty bread the next day.  What a great use of leftovers!

I’m so loving Deb’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  Here are a few more of her recipes that I’ve tried out so far…

Sweet and Sour Brisket

Sweet and Sour Brisket

Shaved Asparagus Pizza w/ a Cauliflower Crust

Shaved Asparagus Pizza w/ a Cauliflower Crust

Berry Coconut Macaroons

Berry Coconut Macaroons

 

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust & Shaved Asparagus Pizza

And just like that, we’re back to another Meatless Monday.

I feel like the cloudy skies of Philadelphia just opened up and delivered this pizza to me directly  from heaven.  I’m telling you… this is so good you’ll not only feel the same way but you’ll be SO impressed with yourself when you make it too.

Because that’s exactly what you’re going to do.  Go home and try it yourself.  TRUST ME.

I had seen this Cauliflower Pizza business around the blog world and on Pinterest before, but let’s be honest… how many hundreds of recipes have I saved from blogs vs how many I’ve made?!  (The Pinterest ratio is significantly worse I have to add)

When Dave’s sister Rachel texted me last week that she actually made something she found on Pinterest… I knew I had to do the same.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Makes 1 Crust

Ingredients:

1 Head Cauliflower, raw*

1 Egg

1 Cup Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (I used 3/4 cup Mozz, 1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan)

1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano

1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional) 

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 450.  Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.  *See note below*

2.  Chop Cauliflower into florets and chunks.  Place in a food processor RAW and let it go until the cauliflower becomes mealy or grainy.  Don’t let it go too long or it will puree, which you don’t want.  Remove 1 cup’s worth of grainy cauliflower and heat it in the microwave (in a micro-safe bowl) for 8 minutes.  Don’t add water.  

3.  Beat the egg in a small bowl.  Mix the cooked cauliflower with the cheese, garlic, seasonings, and pre-beaten egg in a medium-sized bowl.  

4.  Place the “dough” mixture in the middle of the foil covered baking sheet and press into a flat circle or whatever shape you’d like.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool for at least 10-15 minutes.  

Recipe adapted from: One Good Thing by Jillee

*Note* SO, I was all excited because I was going to make this TWICE this week (yes that’s how good it is).  I could not wait to show you two different pizzas with this crust and especially could not wait to let Mer try it out.  The first crust I baked on a silpat-covered baking sheet which came off the tray in one clean swoop but did not get crispy.  When I made the crust for Mer, I wanted to try aluminum foil but FORGOT to spray it.  The pizza crust cooked up perfectly but was stuck to the foil.  Fail!!! Learn from my mistakes and spray your foil.  If you need to make it crispier, carefully remove the crust from the baking sheet and slide onto the oven rack with nothing under it for 2-3 minutes.

*A whole head of cauliflower makes 2-3 cups of the grainy cauliflower.  You can use it in something else, freeze it, or make more than one dough 🙂 *

At first I was totally wow-ed at the way this crust turned out.  I thought I messed something up since the dough was so loose before I baked it.  But it really DOES work.  It’s crazy!!

This is what your 'flower should look like before the food processor.

This is what your ‘flower should look like before the food processor.

Crust is all done!

Crust is all done!

Then I realized that I had to make pizza with it… what to do, what to do, with this beautiful crust?!

I decided to try out a recipe from one of my very new cookbooks, from a blogger!  You may know her, she’s… ya know… sorta really famous now.  I’m talking about the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, from Deb (my copy is signed and addressed to ME! Thanks to my friend Lisa who got to meet her… how cool?!).

Does this make ME famous?!  lol

Does this make ME famous?! lol

How pretty is her pizza?!?!  I could not believe that mine looked so yummy too :)

How pretty is her pizza?!?! I could not believe that mine looked so yummy too 🙂

Deb’s recipe for Shaved Asparagus Pizza was intended to be baked on her basic pizza crust… but I figured, why not try it on a fancy schmancy Cauliflower Crust?!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza (on Cauliflower Pizza Crust)

Ingredients:

1 pre-baked Cauliflower Pizza Crust

1/2 bundle of Fresh Asparagus

1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan, 1 Tablespoon Grated Parm for later

1 teaspoon Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper

2 Green Onions, sliced

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to the highest setting (mine was 500).  Prepare a pizza stone, pan, or cookie sheet (use sprayed foil w/ the cookie sheet, remember!) and place the crust on top.

2.   Shave the asparagus by taking a spear, one at a time, and hold it by the thickest end (the bottom).  Hold the asparagus against a cutting board and shave from bottom to top using a vegegable peeler.  Don’t worry if it’s not even, it doesn’t matter.  Place shavings in a bowl.  Once you have about a cup, cup and a half’s worth… drizzle with Olive Oil, sprinkle w/ Sea Salt & Black Pepper.  Toss to combine.  

3.  Top pizza crust with cheeses (you don’t need that much cheese!) and then the asparagus mixture.  Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (mine was closer to 10) until the asparagus is just starting to get a little bit brown in spots… you don’t want to burn it so keep an eye.  Remove pizza from the oven and top with the tablespoon of Parmesan, the Green Onions, and a shake or two of crushed red pepper for good measure.

Recipe adapted from:  Deb @ Smitten Kitchen

Both of these recipes are really very easy.  I want you to try them both.   Dave and I were both going crazy over this pizza… we could not believe how good it tasted.  The asparagus was all toasty and tasted amazing with the mozzarella cheese without any sauce.

Although my second attempt at the crust was a fail, I’ll absolutely be making this again very soon for my friends, and well… maybe a crust just to eat on it’s own!  YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look how freakin' delicious this pizza is!!!!!!!

Look how freakin’ delicious this pizza is!!!!!!!

photo 2 (17)

Here are some other awesome Meatless Monday Recipes for you…

Sunflower Seed Purple Pesto Pasta

Sunflower Seed Purple Pesto Pasta

Veggie & Chickpea Curry

Veggie & Chickpea Curry

Red Lentil Dahl

Red Lentil Dahl