I was inventing this on the fly, late one afternoon. I wanted to twist up the pepper, onions, and sausage combination in a new way. First, I was going to whip up some cauliflower hash browns and use them as a crust. But when I made the mixture, I included cheese and by the looks of it, I decided to just line the bottom of a large pan and pre-bake it for toppings. I had decided on the combination of bulk sausage and links. And I wanted to make a vegetable layer and a cheese layer (in some order, but I only decided at the last minute which way to go with that). When I mixed the ricotta, cheeses and eggs, I was well on the way to a quiche custard, so I first layered the pepper and onions onto the crust, then poured the cheese mixture, then distributed the meat.
I was deciding what to name this thing while I was eating it, and I found out that the Germans make something called a Zwiebelkuchen (onion cake), and that kuchen is the etymological origin of the work quiche. The Zwiebelkuchen is either made either flat or deep-dish, starting with a pastry crust that contains caraway seeds – proof positive that I did not know of these Zwiebelkuchen, because adding caraway seeds to the crust is a simply awesome idea. A ton of caramelized onions are added to the crust, which is then covered by an egg and sour cream mixture and topped with a meat.
I made a cauliflower crust based on some cauliflower hash brown recipes. I used pepper and onions for the vegetable layer and a ricotta/cheese/egg mixture for the custard. Then I topped it all with a mixture of the bulk sausage and sausage slices, with a sprinkle of cheese at the end.
A 2.5 x 3.5 inch slice, 1/16 of the 9x13 pan, clocks in at only 350 calories with 10g total carbs (4g of which are sugars that mostly come from the onions). —Brian Coppola
cauliflower (riced in a food processor)
sharp white cheddar cheese
large eggs, beaten
caraway seeds (I wish I knew this the first time!)
sweet Italian sausage, bulk
links hot Italian sausages (ca. 1.2 lbs)
red bell peppers, chopped
medium sweet onions, chopped
large eggs, beaten
shredded parmesan (divided in 2 portions)