Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Marinara

Looking for a break from pasta? Tired of zoodles (zucchini noodles)? Cauliflower to the rescue! It satisfies that pasta-with-sauce (and cheese) craving without all the carbs and gluten. And, it's incredibly easy to make. Think of this as baked ziti, without the ziti (and you won't miss it because of the garlic-butter infused, caramelized cauliflower).

Why blanch-and-then-bake the cauliflower? For two reasons. First, blanching the cauliflower shortens the oven cooking time and prevents the veggie from drying out. Second, coating the blanched cauliflower with butter and garlic before roasting adds an extra, incredible, layer of flavor.  

Why a baking sheet and a casserole dish? When you roast the cauliflower on a baking sheet, every edge has a chance to caramelize, something you can't accomplish with a high-sided casserole dish (it works, but not as well). Once the cauliflower is caramelized, it's transferred to a baking/casserole dish and topped with sauce and cheese. Just like baked ziti. Make sense?

Main dish? Side dish? Either! This dish is hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian main dish. It's also a great partner for meat, fish and poultry.

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Marinara 

Cooking spray
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for a vegan dish, use vegan butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon minced dried garlic, not garlic powder
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, for a vegan dish, use vegan cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, for a vegan dish, use vegan parmesan

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet and shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and return to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain.
Melt the butter in the same pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Return the cauliflower to the pot and toss to coat.
Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish. Top with the sauce and mozzarella cheese. Top with the parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the cheese melts.
Serves 4