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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

Let me start by saying that these cauliflower breadsticks are not made of bread.  They have no flour in them whatsoever.  They are called breadsticks because they look and taste like breadsticks.  They are so good that I can't wait to make them again....and again and again and again and again...

It all began when I saw the head of cauliflower in my fridge that was about to go bad.  I have a habit of impulsively buying cauliflower because I love it so much.  (I think I may have mentioned this.)  So I wanted to use it up with other things I had on hand.  I was thinking fritters, but decided to cruise food blogs for some other ideas instead, thinking I might find a good Indian recipe to try out.  Instead I found a ton of blogs talking about making pizza crust out of cauliflower for the gluten-free crowd.  Well I may not be gluten-free, but I am health conscious, have a cauliflower to use, and have been seriously craving breadsticks all week.  (Why are there so many Pizza Hut commercials on???)  So what a great way to satisfy that craving, huh?  My husband was extremely dubious, but since I'd be throwing the cauliflower out if I didn't get to use it anyway, there would be no harm in trying something new.  If it was awful, there's always leftover soup in the fridge.

Well, luckily, these came out amazing.  My husband ate them (and some crow) and asked if there were any more.  They certainly satisfied a breadstick craving and are 100% better for your body than any of that take-out pizza chain crap.  On the downside, I was really hoping this would be a way to sneak some veggies into my two-year old - it didn't work.  I love cauliflower, but you wouldn't know that these are made of cauliflower.  I have no idea how Adrienne could know.  She should go into the FBI or CIA.  So don't let a hatred of cauliflower stop you from trying this.  Next time I am doubling this recipe so that there will be more breadsticks.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks
adapted from An Edible Mosaic
makes 8 small breadsticks

1/4 of a large cauliflower (1-1/2 cups, lightly packed, riced)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (you can use any cheese you's like)
1/4 tsp dried basil and 1/4 tsp dried oregano, combined and divided
salt and pepper to taste
Cooking spray
Marinara sauce, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so that the excess paper hangs over the sides.  Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.

Rice the cauliflower by grating it on a cheese grater and put into a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave uncovered until softened, on 2 minute intervals, stirring between each.  Let it cool slightly.  While the cauliflower cooks, heat the oil in a small skillet over low heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly and let cool slightly.

To the bowl with the softened cauliflower, add the garlic, egg, 3/4 of the cheese (reserving 1/4 for topping later), 1/4 teaspoon of the dried herbs mix (reserving 1/4 teaspoon for topping later), and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine and then spread in the prepared loaf pan.

Bake until the loaf is set and starting to turn golden, about 30 minutes.  Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  Use the parchment paper to lift the loaf out of the loaf pan and carefully flip it over onto the lined baking sheet so the bottom is on top.  Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the broiler.  Cut the loaf cross-wise into 8 pieces.  Slightly separate the pieces and sprinkle the cheese on top along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon dried herbs and some romano cheese.  Broil a couple minutes until the cheese is melted and golden in spots.  Serve hot or warm.  (If you let it cool for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven, the crust will harden a bit so it’s easy to hold like a thin-crust pizza.)

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