Cauliflower “Pasta” with Meat Sauce

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I love pasta. What I don’t love is that sluggish/fluffy/heavy feeling I get after I stuff my face with gallons of that gluttonous gluten. The answer: cauliflower. Thanks to the internet, I recently found an amazing recipe for a cauliflower based pizza crust (recipe coming soon), and I realized that I can use cauliflower as a substitute for many traditionally wheat-based dishes. This cauliflower “pasta” leaves you satisfied, without feeling overfed. It’s a great compromise for a meal when you want something hearty, but want to stay healthy. I bought purple cauliflower because I thought it was pretty — but any color will do!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 can of your favorite pasta sauce (I had almost a full can of Rao’s all purpose marinara sauce)
  • salt, kosher salt and chili peppers to taste
  • 1/2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

First, wash your cauliflower and put it on a cutting board.

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Then, put a large pot on the stove with about 5 inches of water, and bring to a boil.

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While the water is boiling, cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.

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If the water is boiling, add the cauliflower to the water, and boil for about 5 minutes.

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If the water has not quite boiled yet, start on your meat sauce. Put a big pan on the stove top, and add your olive oil. Shake a few sprinkles of the red pepper flakes in the pan. This will add some extra heat to your pasta sauce.

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Once the oil is hot (depending on your stove, about one minutes), add the ground turkey.

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Because the pasta sauce has a lot of salt and spices, you don’t need to season the meat at this point in time. Using a flat ended spatula, break the meat up. Make sure your stove is on medium-high.

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Brown the meat for about five minutes.

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Don’t forget about the cauliflower. After five minutes of boiling, check one small piece of cauliflower for done-ness (don’t use your fingers, that water is hot…). If it’s cooked, drain the cauliflower in a colander in the sink, just like you’d drain pasta (you can even rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking, if you’d like.) Leave the cauliflower in the colander until your sauce is ready.

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Once the meat is browned, add the sauce, bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to simmer.

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Stir the sauce, and see if more spice is needed. If it’s not salty enough, add salt. If it needs pepper, give it some pepper. If it’s perfect, don’t touch it! You can simmer the pasta for up to an hour if you’d like, or you can serve it immediately. If you have some time, simmering the sauce enhances the flavor, and you can use the time to do other things around the house, read the paper, or check up on your stocks.

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When you’re ready to eat, ladle the cauliflower onto a plate and top with sauce. Enjoy your “pasta”!

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