Sausage Zwiebelkuchen (GF, LC)

April 25, 2017
0 Ratings
Photo by Brian Coppola
  • Makes 16 pieces
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • Crust
  • 5 cups cauliflower (riced in a food processor)
  • 4 teaspoons starch
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2-3 teaspoons caraway seeds (I wish I knew this the first time!)
  • Filling
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk
  • 4 links hot Italian sausages (ca. 1.2 lbs)
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 12 ounces ricotta, drained
  • 6-7 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 6-7 ounces shredded parmesan (divided in 2 portions)
  • 2 tablespoons white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  1. Crust: combine and mix the cauliflower and cheese
  2. add the starch, pepper, eggs, and EVOO, mix well
  3. spread evenly into an oiled 9x13 pan
  4. bake to light golden, 25 min, 375F, remove and reserve
  5. Filling: broil the sausage links at 400F for 15 min, turning 3 times, remove and reserve (slice just before assembly)
  6. brown the bulk sausage in a skillet on medium heat, add some fennel seeds and pepper, remove and reserve
  7. combine ricotta, mozzarella, eggs, pepper, half the parmesan, reserve
  8. half caramelize the onions in scant oil, then add the peppers, near the end, add garlic to heat, then combine with tomato paste, fennel, oregano, white pepper
  9. Assembly: add the pepper/onion mixture onto the crust, spread evenly
  10. pour the egg/cheese mixture onto the vegetable layer and even out
  11. distribute the browned ground meat on top, then distribute the sliced sausage pieces
  12. sprinkle with pepper and fennel seeds
  13. cook for 60 minutes at 375F, topping with the remaining parmesan for the last 10 minutes
  14. remove and let set for a few minutes, cut into 16 pieces; each slice is est. 350 cal with 10 g total carb including 4-5 g sugars

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