Italian Cauliflower Bites

I’ve shared my love of cauliflower a few times before.  This filling vegetable is wonderful on its own, seasoned, or works as a great base for a variety dishes.  Better yet, it comes in at only 27 calories per cup.  Along with being low in calories there are a plethora of health benefits that come along with eating cauliflower, such as, being a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, an anti-inflammatory, and effective in digestive support.  Just Google it and you’ll find countless sites listing the benefits that come from eating this heart healthy, flowering vegetable.

The nice thing about cauliflower is how versatile it is.  As stated above, this vegetable can be used as a base for a variety of dishes.  It works well as a substitute for potatoes, pasta, rice, or even a pizza crust.  Here are a few recipes I have shared in the past that we continue to enjoy in our household:

Honey Sriracha Cauliflower Bites

Alfredo Steak Cauliflower

Cauliflower Tater Tots

Cheesy Cauliflower Patties

Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

As I prepared our menu for March Madness, I knew I wanted to include cauliflower in one of our dishes.  I was in the mood for pizza but didn’t want all the calories.  I also wanted more of an appetizer that could be served with other finger foods that would be easy to eat while watching the games.  Using a few of my favorite Italian seasonings, Italian Cauliflower Bites were a great addition to our game viewing spread.  Give ’em a try!  Not only will you get an appetizer with great flavors, you’ll be able to enjoy them without feeling a bit of guilt 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need on your grocery list:

**This recipe makes enough to make 12-16 bites, depending on how full you fill your mini muffin tins. That should be enough to serve 4-6 people.  Again, this would depend on if you are serving them on their own or as a side or appetizer**

4 cups Cauliflower

1 Egg White

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Basil

2 cloves Garlic, minced

Grape Tomatoes, sliced

**Optional – The next time I make these I think I’ll add a little mozzarella cheese on top and then place the tomato on top of the cheese.  This, of course, would add a few more calories.  The recipe is great without the cheese,  I’m just a huge cheese lover so I think this is something I’ll try in the future.**

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

If you have a food processor, you may go about this first step differently.  I don’t have one (hopefully soon!) so I use my blender.  Before putting the cauliflower in the blender, I steamed it on the stove top.  Just put about an inch of water in the bottom of a saucepan, add cauliflower, and bring the water to a boil.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and cover for about 5-7 minutes.  Once cauliflower is tender, its done.  Drain excess water.

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Pour steamed cauliflower into blender and puree until smooth.

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Pour back into saucepan.  Add egg white, parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, and garlic.  Stir to combine.

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Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.  Then, using a spoon, fill each muffin tin with desired amount of cauliflower mixture.  I was determined to only get two of my pans dirty and not to pull out my bigger one so I was able to fit all of the mixture into 12 bites.  I had to fill them as full as possible so you could make them a little smaller, just filling to the rim of the muffin tin, and easily get 4 more out of this recipe.

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If you choose to try adding cheese, like I suggested above, top each bite with a little cheese (this is optional). Then place one sliced tomato on the center of each bite.  I just used tomatoes that we already had at our house and they were exceptionally small.  If I were making these for guests, I would have made sure my grape tomatoes were large so the slices took up most of the top of each bite.

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Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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