Healthy Recipe: Cauliflower Parm with White Bean Puree

Whether you’re trying to work more plants onto your plate or simply want to lighten things up, cauliflower parm puts a tasty spin on an old favorite. Roasted in the oven, it’s light, tender, crispy, and crunchy, then drenched with cheesy goodness. And it’s big on nutrition too. Each generous serving delivers more than an entire day’s vitamin C, a third of your daily iron and zinc, plus it’s packed with cancer-fighting glucosinolates

To round things out, a side of lemony white bean puree provides plenty of slowly-digested protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied. So go ahead, dig in!

Note: To save time on busy nights, there’s no harm in reaching for a readymade jar of tomato sauce, just look for a brand that’s low in sodium and added sugars.


For the tomato sauce: 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped 

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can 28 oz (794 g) crushed tomatoes, no salt added

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 pinch dried chili flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cauliflower: 

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

Olive oil cooking spray

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ⅓ cups (150 g) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

For the white bean puree:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 15.5-oz cans (879 g) cannellini beans, no salt added, rinsed, and drained 

¾ cup (6 fl oz/177 ml) water

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). 

Make the tomato sauce: In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, until soft, about 7 minutes Add the garlic, and stir for 1 additional minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Remove from heat. The sauce will be a little chunky, but you can puree it in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother sauce.

Make the cauliflower parmesan: Arrange cauliflower florets on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spray with olive oil cooking spray. Toss florets gently with your hands to make sure they are fully coated. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Roast cauliflower until tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring with a spatula halfway through cooking. Remove cauliflower from oven.

Spray a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23-cm) baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce (about 1 cup) onto bottom of baking dish. Transfer cauliflower to baking dish and arrange in a single layer. Top cauliflower with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted. 

Make the bean puree: In a medium sauté pan over low heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and stir, 1 minute. Stir in cannellini beans, water, thyme, salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and bring beans to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove from heat.

Mash beans well with a potato masher or puree in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding more water, if necessary, to achieve a creamy consistency. Serve alongside cauliflower. 

Makes 4 servings.


Calories 460

Protein 26 g

Total fat 16 g

Saturated fat 5 g

Cholesterol 24 mg

Carbs 52 g

Fiber 15 g

Total sugars 13 g

Added sugars 0 g

Sodium 377 mg

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