One-Pot Wonders

Cauliflower Pizza Bake

March 21, 2021
23 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

This is what happens when you combine the caramelized, golden-edged goodness of roasted cauliflower with melty pockets of mozzarella, crispy pepperoni, and your other favorite pizza toppings. Serve it to cauliflower lovers, or even the haters. Trust me, it’ll make you see cauliflower in a whole new way. —EmilyC

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 1/2 pound (about 2 links) uncooked Italian sausage, removed from casings and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small, bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for finishing dish
  • Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup black olives (I like to use the sliced, canned kind)
  • 1/4 cup slivered or halved sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (drained of oil before using)
  • 2 to 3 ounces pepperoni
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (sold in rounds or logs), torn into bite-sized pieces
  • A big handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
In This Recipe
  1. Heat oven to 425 F. Place a parchment-lined sheet pan in the oven while it heats. The hot pan will help the sausage to get nicely browned, fast!
  2. Working quickly, transfer the sausage to the preheated sheet pan in a single, even layer. (Careful, the pan will be hot!) Drizzle the sausage with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sausage is starting to brown (set a timer).
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cauliflower florets with 1/4 cup pizza sauce, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss. You want the pizza sauce to lightly yet thoroughly coat the florets; add another tablespoon of sauce, if needed. Add olives and sun-dried tomatoes to the bowl and toss again.
  4. When the timer for the sausage goes off, add the cauliflower mixture to the sheet pan, stirring a few times to coat the cauliflower in the sausage fat. Arrange pepperoni evenly across the top.
  5. Roast for 15 more minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and the pepperoni has browned. (Taste a piece of cauliflower; if it isn’t approaching tender, return to the oven for a few more minutes before proceeding to Step 6. Season with a little more salt and pepper, if needed.)
  6. Remove sheet pan from oven, and spoon 1/4 cup more sauce over the cauliflower mixture; add a little extra, if desired, for a saucier version. Arrange bites of torn mozzarella over (and in between) the cauliflower florets (avoid putting it directly on the bottom of the sheet pan). Roast in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is warmed and cheese is melted.
  7. Cool for about 5 minutes, then grate more parmesan on top and scatter the basil. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stacey E. Singleton
    Stacey E. Singleton
  • Cheryl
  • Liz Crawford
    Liz Crawford
  • sweet fang
    sweet fang
  • Mamamia

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

31 Reviews

Stacey E. March 21, 2021
This is a delicious recipe! Love how it splits the difference between “I want pizza but I need to some veggies.” 10/10
Author Comment
EmilyC March 22, 2021
So glad you liked it! Thanks Stacey!
Kaci A. January 13, 2020
This was SO good! I’m the sausage stuck to the parchment and was peeling off all over the cauliflower. Next time I would not use parchment at all!
Cheryl December 10, 2019
Yum! That was REALLY good! Made it vegan with vegan Parm mozzarella and vegan sausage. I don't like sun dried tomatoes, so omitted. Could have skipped the step of sauteing the sausage in a skillet and just put directly in oven along with cauliflower. Organic cauliflower head was small, so used 2 heads along with Rao's marinara sauce. It's hard not to eat it all right now. Thank you!
Author Comment
EmilyC December 11, 2019
So glad you made and liked this, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing your tips for making this vegan, as well!
Liz C. October 28, 2019
I liked this but I got a lot of whining from the family because of the name. "This. Is. Not. Pizza." So, I realize that "pizza" in a recipe title is click bait (it worked on me!) but really only pizza is pizza. I have certainly learned a valuable lesson: I should hide the recipe when I'm making dinner! :)
K. A. October 18, 2019
We loved this recipe. I didn't have any sausage so instead I put sliced onion on the hot pan for 8 minutes and the added the cauliflower coated with sauce, a tin of 4 beans rinsed, black olives and a jar of roasted peppers. I sprayed olive oil over the top and baked for 15 minutes. Then added the cheese and baked another 5 minutes. So many options. Just make sure the cauliflower is in small pieces.Also I used Leggo Stir Through sauce which is more flavourful than plain pizza sauce.
Author Comment
EmilyC October 20, 2019
So glad you liked this! Thanks so much for sharing your notes, too!
Linda D. October 8, 2019
Thank you Emily for this simple, savory way to enjoy more cauliflower. Yum!
Author Comment
EmilyC October 20, 2019
Hooray, so glad you liked it, Linda!
sweet F. October 6, 2019
I am vegetarian so I used a plant based sausage as suggested, broken up. I used olive oil and foil first as I browned the sausage. I added pine nuts and broccoli, loads of sliced black olives. I had to roast my collection for almost 45 minutes and I skipped the pizza sauce altogether, just using olive oil. It was amazing. Thanks for the concept :)
Fspinellimd October 6, 2019
This recipe was not a success for me. For one, the sausage stuck to the parchment paper. In mixing the cauliflower with the sausage, bits of paper came off. I rescued the meal by transferring it to a Pyrex. Plus, the cooking times needed to be longer, especially the last step. Maybe my oven isn’t hot enough but use the recipe as a blueprint you’ll need to personalize. In the end, I was not satisfied even with my changes. Pizza sauce always reminds me of cafeteria food.
Donna October 5, 2019
I made this dish last night with what I had on hand. I did not use sausage. I put olive oil on parchment before spreading the coated cauliflower. No pizza sauce, so I used about 1/3 cup of Pace Piquante Sauce with a finely chopped tomato and additional garlic powder. No sun-dried tomatos, so I chopped up two drained, roasted red peppers and added them to the coating mix. One small can of sliced black peppers, drained. Twice the pepperoni. For the final cheese bake, I used a whole ball of chopped mozarella, a handful of fresh basil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. The end result looked enticing, smelled incredible and tasted even better yet. This is what I call GENIUS! I've been making clean-out-the-refridgerator soup for years. Now I can make clean-out-the-refrigerator pizza too, and it's really better without all that crust!
lorraine S. October 4, 2019
Oh when I think of pizza I was like where is the crust ....has anyone put this on a pizza crust ?
Paula A. October 4, 2019
How are the leftovers, anyone?
Bonnie Q. October 4, 2019
It's so good I've never had any leftovers! I'm going to make two pans next time, but I doubt there will be leftovers even then. If so, I think I'll reheat in the oven or toaster oven rather than the microwave to keep it a bit crispier.
Paula A. October 4, 2019
That makes sense. I'm cooking for myself, so wanted to know the leftovers would be worth eating. Sounds like they will be. Thanks!
Brenda S. October 4, 2019
Making this right now for the 2d time this week. I went simpler 'toppings' because it's all I had on hand - 2 turkey sausage links, 3 pork meatballs torn up, and an onion - with the sauce, cheese, turkey pepperoni on top it's just AH-MAZING. Will be a weekly meal through the fall and winter.
Mamamia October 4, 2019
This looks so great, do you think frozen cauliflower would work?
Nanakupo September 10, 2019
Made this tonight. It was delicious. Always looking for more ways to eat cauliflower. Will definitely m make it again.
Author Comment
EmilyC September 25, 2019
So glad you liked this, Nanakupo! Thanks for your note!
mrslarkin September 9, 2019
Delicious! Will definitely make this again. I used grated mozzarella and baked it a little longer for super crispy bits. Thanks, Emily!
Author Comment
EmilyC September 25, 2019
Thank you for trying this, Liz! Your feedback means a lot!
Naturally1Lisa September 8, 2019
I made this yummy goodness last night and it was incredible! What I love is you can personalize this “pizza” I didn’t have basil but I ribbon cut some fresh spinach for the top. So good!
Author Comment
EmilyC September 25, 2019
Glad this was a success for you -- thank you for trying it!
Christina H. September 7, 2019
Made this for dinner tonight, and it was a total success! My mom HATES cauliflower, and even she said she would definitely eat it again!
Author Comment
EmilyC September 25, 2019
YAY for getting a cauliflower hater to eat this!! : ) Thanks for your note, Christina!
Bonnie Q. September 4, 2019
This looks perfect and eliminates the whole "crust" issue completely! I'll be trying it very soon. Thanks, EmilyC.
Author Comment
EmilyC September 4, 2019
Thanks Bonnie! Hope you enjoy it!!
Bonnie Q. September 11, 2019
It took me a week, but I finally made this last night. It was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be, and all who ate along with me agreed! This recipe has now moved to my favorites file. Kudos to to you, Emily, for such a creative "pizza"!
Author Comment
EmilyC September 25, 2019
Thanks so much Bonnie! I'm so happy you made and liked this! : )