Cauliflower Antipasto Two Ways

antipasto

If you’re searching for a salad that pleases a crowd, one that you can serve at any get together you might have, this cauliflower antipasto salad is the one for you.

This salad has all the mix of a traditional antipasto, it includes cheese, meat, marinated veggies, olives and other goodies. Quite a few antipasto salads include a pasta of some sort, but in this salad the star ingredient is cauliflower!

antipasto platter

This salad can be served cold or at room temp, it’s easy to pull together, it can be made ahead of time  and there’s no cooking of any kind.  Each bite is filled with hearty and zippy ingredients that have a nice crunchy texture.

Fioretto cauliflower

The cauliflower that I used in this recipe was a variety called Fioretto, it means little flower in Italian. It has a dense head with flowering tiny buds along with a pale green stem, it’s delicate and fluffy like a pretty bouquet.

Fioretto is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, it is not GMO, it’s a hybrid. Of course you don’t have to use this variety to make this salad a regular head of cauliflower will be just as good, I was just lucky enough to come across this big beautiful head and couldn’t wait to use. it.

raw cauliflower

If you don’t see it in your grocery stores ask the produce manager if they can get it for you, you’ll love the sweet and tender florets it produces.

cauliflower antipasto

I blanched the cauliflower for 1 minute then ran some cold water on it to cool down, it was the perfect texture for this salad and you would do exactly the same with a regular head of cauliflower, there’s no difference.

What I like about cauliflower in general is that you can prepare it so many ways, you can steam it, stir fry, grill, saute and roast it as I did in the recipe below.

Italian roasted cauliflower

Here’s another way to prepare a nice, hearty antipasto dish. Roasted cauliflower with pecorino and parmesan which is served with a lemon aioli dipping sauce.

roasted cauliflower

Again you can use your favorite variety of cauliflower to make this, here’s how you do it.

Break up the florets from a head of  cauliflower and place them on a rimmed baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Heat oven to 425.

In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup mix of pecorino and parmesan.

Drizzle the tops of the cauliflower all over with olive oil, then sprinkle the crumb and cheese mixture covering each floret. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and a good handful of chopped parsley and black pepper.

Place sheet pan into the oven and roast the florets until tender and the cheese mixture is deep golden brown, tossing in between roasting to coat each side.

I like to serve this with an easy lemon aioli that I make by mixing mayo with lemon juice to thin it out, 1 small grated garlic clove, salt and pepper, that’s it!

roasted Fioretto

Two fun ways to serve up and eat a beautiful head of cauliflower, such a yummy and versatile vegetable!

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Cauliflower Antipasto Two Ways
 
Ingredient amounts can vary to your liking, this is a rough estimate, feel free to add more or less to your salad.
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Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets I used the Fioretto variety but any variety will due.
  • a mix of green and black olives, 1 cup
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup of sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
  • a small jar of drained artichoke hearts in oil
  • 1 cup of sliced salami, pepperoni, or spicy sopressata, medium chunks
  • ¾ cup of sharp provolone, medium chunks
  • ½ of a red and yellow pepper diced into medium chunks
  • ½ can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup of sliced pepperoncini strips
  • a hearty handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • DRESSING
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • 1 small grated garlic clove
  • 1 dollop of Dijon
  • salt and pepper
  • whisk together
Instructions
  1. Blanch the cauliflower first into boiling water for 1 minute, then remove it and cool it down under cold water, let it drain and pat dry.
  2. In a large bowl place all the ingredients, including the cauliflower together, tossing very gently until all is incorporated.
  3. Drizzle some of the dressing on and taste as you go for the amount you want to use, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Place onto a pretty platter if serving right away, or tuck it into a container overnight.
  5. This can be served cold or at room temperature.

 

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Italian Style Beef Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice

stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers will never go out of style, they’re a special kind of comfort food, but not in the sense of the heavy, stick to your ribs kind. These beef stuffed peppers are a whole meal contained in a colorful pepper vessel with Italian flavors throughout each bite.

They can be served for lunch or dinner with a nice green salad on the side to complete the meal.

bell peppers

I often find the colorful, sweet bell peppers on sale and when I do I always grab a bunch.

raw bell peppers

In preparing this dish you can either cut each pepper in half or keep them whole as I did here, it’s amazing how much stuffing you can fit into each one.

ground beef stuffing

For this recipe I used a good quality, lean ground beef, 90 percent lean, 10 percent fat. In the past I’ve used Italian sausage featured in this post.

That’s what I like about stuffed peppers, they’re so versatile. You can use a favorite meat of your choice or even no meat at all. You can use a variety of different cheese and vegetable combinations as well as beans.

Also you can use cooked rice, white, brown, wild and even quinoa but I’m loving the lightness that riced cauliflower gives to the peppers, so that’s what I chose for this, plus it’s great if you’re watching carbs or on a keto diet.

prepped peppers

Of course my beef stuffed peppers are made with Italian flavors both in and out, they can be prepared ahead of time, which is a good thing and if you happen to have leftovers they’re just as delicious heated up the next day!

cooked peppers

I promise these will be a hit with your family, I stuck some artichoke hearts in mine, if you’re an artichoke lover put them in, if not you can even sub in some mushrooms, that would be delicious as well.

stuffed bell pepper

If someone you know needs a meal cooked for them, something they could easily heat up, this is the one to make and give to them.

cut open pepper

Next time you see those sweet, colorful peppers displayed in the grocery store, grab a few and make this!

Italian Style Beef Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 colored bell peppers, left whole, tops cut off with seeds and membranes removed inside. Dice up some of the tops to place into the filling as well for added color and taste
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, 90% lean 10% fat
  • 1 -12oz. bag of frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted
  • 1 -12 oz. bag frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
  • 1 -28 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, squished by hand leaving nice size chunks, 1 cup goes into the filling and the rest will be for the bottom of the baking dish, no need to cook it ahead of time
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, diced small
  • a handful of both parsley and basil
  • 1 cup of pecorino romano
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, 1½ cups to go inside filling and reserving the ½ to sprinkle on the tops
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Reserve a cup of the squished tomatoes for the filling and put the rest onto the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish that has been sprayed with olive oil.
  3. Place the 8 raw, cleaned peppers into the baking dish.
  4. Brown the beef in a large skillet until you no longer see pink, then remove and drain on paper towel if need be.
  5. Wipe out the pan and drizzle with olive oil and cook up the cauliflower rice until dry with no liquid in the "rice" doing the same with the artichoke hearts, doing one at a time if need be, set aside to cool.
  6. Quickly saute the onion and garlic and chopped pepper tops as well.
  7. When cool, transfer all the precooked ingredients into a large bowl, the beef, onions, garlic, chopped pepper tops, cauliflower rice and artichoke hearts ( chop the artichoke hearts up before adding).
  8. Now add in your basil, parsley, romano cheeese and a 1- ½ cups of shredded mozzarella and also a cup of the squished san marzano tomatoes.
  9. Gently mix everything together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Fill each raw pepper with the filling, packing it in.
  11. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  12. Remove pan and foil, they should be nice and steamy.
  13. Sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella on each pepper, a little romano and some of the tomato juice from the bottom of the pan and a drizzle of olive oil on each one.
  14. Bake into the oven for another 30 minutes or until the tip of a knife goes easily through the sides.
  15. Enjoy!

 

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Colorful Shrimp Pasta Salad

shrimp salad

This shrimp pasta salad has all the components of spring, it has bright colors and it’s light and fresh. This salad can be a stand alone lunch, a light dinner or the perfect side dish to have for spring and summer cookouts.

Colorful spring vegetables are incorporated into this salad and finished off with a creamy lemon dressing that clings to every bite.

farfalle pasta

This pasta salad looks pretty made with rainbow colored pasta, there are so many shapes and sizes available today and the different colors add to the vibrancy of the dish. You definitely want to choose ones that are healthy, the ones that are actually colored with natural foods, things like carrot, beet root, tumeric and spinach  which will also enhance the flavor as well.

I would encourage you to seek them out, I found this cute farfalle shape but again there are so many more!

 

grilled shrimp

You can poach the shrimp, roast the shrimp or grill it, either way will work, just have it done ahead of time.

spring pasta salad

Now that winter is behind us it’s time to tuck those comfort foods away and to brighten things up and this pasta salad is just the thing!

Colorful Shrimp Pasta Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½. lb. cooked shrimp, roasted, grilled or poached, cooled down
  • ½ lb. colored pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed cold. Pat dry so no wetness sticks to the pasta
  • 1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut in half and blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water then plunged into ice water, then patted dry of water.
  • ½ cup of peas, if fresh pre-cook, if frozen, defrost
  • ½ of a red pepper and ½ yellow pepper, diced
  • ¼ red onion, small dice
  • 3 radishes, sliced thin
  • ½ of english cucumber, sliced thin
  • hand full or arugula or chopped romaine lettuce
  • tablespoon each of chopped parsley and chopped basil
  • LEMON CREAM DRESSING
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • 1 small dollop of Dijon
  • 2 or 3 small chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons of full fat mayo
Instructions
  1. Add all the dressing components into a jar and whisk it up together. ( You'll have extra) set aside.
  2. Take all your components, the cooked pasta, shrimp, asparagus, peas, chopped peppers, onions, radishes, parsley, basil, arugula or romaine and place them into a nice big bowl.
  3. Toss gently together, evenly dispersed, then spoon in your lemon dressing, taste as you go adding salt and pepper, more herbs if you like.
  4. Be careful not to overload the dressing so as not to make it soggy.
  5. Place pasta salad into a nice platter and serve!

 

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