Cauliflower Baked Ziti

If you’re on any type of healthy eating plan there probably isn’t a whole lot of Italian food in your life. But what happens if that is all you really want? Well, you have two options…suck it up 🙂 OR try to figure out how to make “healthier” Italian food. Last week I went on the search for just that and came across Delish’s recipe “Best Cauliflower Baked Ziti.”

When I first saw the recipe I have to admit I wasn’t convinced. The idea of cauliflower and tomato sauce kind of grossed me out…but I thought I would give it a shot.

I did make a few changes just so it was a little more Ideal Protein friendly. The first was to cut the amount of cheese in half. I do realize that cheese isn’t allowed with IP phase 1…but cheese is my deal breaker….I NEED it haha! So, I always compromise and use half the cheese. Honestly though, after trying this recipe it would be equally as tasty without the cheese!

The second change I made was to use frozen cauliflower. I don’t have the patience to deal with fresh cauliflower – it’s messy and just a pain in the butt. So, I used frozen and just made sure to drain it really well and it worked just fine!


The final change was I used ground turkey instead of ground beef. The only reason I did this was because I had the turkey in my freezer. But, you could do it with any protein you want.


And that is it! This recipe is super easy and will definitely satisfy your Italian craving. Also, the leftovers of this casserole are even better! Once it sits in the fridge the flavors combine even more and it makes you actually want the leftovers! Enjoy!!


Cauliflower Baked Ziti

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Recipe by: Jamie Boden at My Beautiful Ideal


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 – 14 oz bags of frozen cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flake. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook until completely browned. Drain fat.
  4. Add tomato paste and oregano and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. While the tomato sauce simmers, prepare cauliflower according to the bag. Drain well.
  7. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl, pour sauce on top, and mix to combine.
  8. In a casserole dish (9×13) place half the cauliflower mixture. Top with all the cheeses – I dolloped the ricotta in first, then sprinkled the mozzarella and parmesan.
  9. Add the remaining cauliflower on top.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.
  11. Enjoy!

Tip: You can use a store bought sauce if you want to save time. My favorite is Raos Tomato Basil – it has no added sugar.

Nutrition: Calories 610, Protein 61.1g, Carbohydrate 24.9g, Dietary Fiber 8.9g (Net Carbs = 16.9), Total Sugars 13.4g, Total Fat 27.8g.

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