A delicious appetizer to start your holiday dinner (or finger food to go with cocktails), these cauliflower pizza bites have chopped nuts in them!
I made these for Sam (who doesn’t eat meat) but Alex loves cauliflower too so I baked enough for all four of us. Yes, these cauliflower pizza bites were baked just like real pizza. The crust is crunchy outside but, inside, it was moist and almost creamy.
Did I mention they have nuts in them? Chopped cashew nuts, to be more precise. If course, you may choose some other nut or even a combination of nuts. But I urge you not to exclude the nuts from the cauliflower mixture because they make so much difference both in flavor and texture.
And what else is in the cauliflower mixture that became the “crusts”?
Chopped cauliflower (of course!), cashew nuts (like I mentioned), bell pepper, rosemary, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, egg and panko.
I used a small ice cream scoop to form uniformly sized balls. The balls were dropped on a baking tray lined with silicone mat. Unlike mounds of cookie dough that flatten by themselves in the heat of the oven, these mounds of chopped cauliflower would have retained their spherical shape during baking. So, I used the back of a teaspoon to flatten them to make them look more like miniature pizza crusts.
They were baked at 375F for ten minutes. Just long enough for the edges to brown a little. I did this in two batches.
Next, I cut cheese into small pieces. You may grate the cheese if you like.
I spooned a dollop of tomato sauce on top of each lightly browned cauliflower pizza crust then dropped a few pieces of cheese on top of the tomato sauce. Then, back into the oven they all went.
Five minutes later, the cheese had softened and the cauliflower crusts had browned some more. I sprinkled the cauliflower pizza bites with more chopped parsley before serving.
Cauliflower Pizza Bites
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower (or grated)
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley plus more to garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used cashew)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 100 grams cheese (any kind), cut into small pieces or grated
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or non-stick paper.
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the tomato sauce and cheese.
Using a small ice cream scoop, form the cauliflower mixture into tightly packed balls. Drop on the lined baking tray about two inches apart.
Using the back of a teaspoon (or your fingers) press the cauliflower balls into discs about half an inch thick. If some bits become loose, just press them back into the discs.
Bake the cauliflower pizza crusts at 375F or just long enough for the edges to brown (ovens operate differently so this step may take longer than 10 minutes). Depending on the size of your oven, you may need to do this in two batches.
Take the tray out of the oven. Place a teaspoonful of tomato sauce on top of each cauliflower pizza crust. Top the tomato sauce with cheese.
Put the baking tray back into the oven and bake the cauliflower pizza bites for another five minutes.
Arrange the cauliflower pizza bites on a plate, sprinkle with more chopped parsley and serve.