Here’s a challenge. Find a kid-friendly and healthy appetizer recipe that doesn’t consist of raw veggie sticks and ranch dip. As I gear up for the All Day Snack Fest, or as some like to call it, the Superbowl, I’ve been trying to find a wholesome, yet indulgent and fun recipe for the kids to enjoy. I’d really love to take a break from the whole chicken nugget, French fries, hot dog routine for one day.
I’ve mentioned before that my kids are just starting to test the waters with vegetables. In fact, just last night I made “Green Monster Soup” (also known as Broccoli Cheese Soup), and they gobbled it up. I’ve concluded that if you name it something whimsical, you’ve already won half the battle. Add in some cheese and it’s a definite slam-dunk. So veggies and cheese it is.
With that in mind, I decided to take the cauliflower pizza crust route. I’ve only ever made it for my husband and me, so this was a bit of a risk. But the kids, of course, love pizza and since the crust, in my opinion, can totally pass for the real thing, I forged ahead with the idea. And this idea turned into pizza bites because what kid wouldn’t love a little melted cheese and pepperoni popper dipped in warm pizza sauce?
Let me explain how this whole cauliflower crust concept works. You’ve got some finely ground up cauliflower, which you will zap in the microwave and then let cool. Now, THE most important step…Place that mound of cauliflower in the center of a kitchen sack towel. Round up the cauliflower in a ball and twist that towel over the sink with all your might. You won’t believe the amount of moisture you’ll squeeze out! Place the wrung out cauliflower in a bowl and stir in the seasoning and eggs. Now your “dough” is ready to be made into a regular cauliflower pizza crust OR these insanely addicting Cauliflower Pizza Bites.
I should also mention this other genius move I used to hook the kids…the super secret surprise in the middle. I sliced up small chunks of mozzarella cheese (string cheese to be exact, but regular block cheese works too!) and popped them inside the cauliflower crust to make these bites extra cheesy and gooey.
Needless to say, the kids LOVED. THEM. Actually, we all loved them. I’ve made them twice in the past 2 weeks and plan to again for the Superbowl. The only difference next time around is that I’ll need to call them by their newly appointed official name: Minion Cheese Bombs.
Check out the video!!
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces block mozzarella cheese, divided
- 72 mini pepperoni pieces
- Pizza or marinara sauce for dipping
- Chop the cauliflower into large florets.
- Place ⅓ of the florets into a food processor. Give it a few quick pulses and then process for about 10 seconds until the cauliflower resembles rice kernels. Pulse a few more times until the cauliflower begins to form a paste. Transfer the cauliflower to a large microwave safe bowl. Repeat this process 2 more times with the remaining florets.
- Microwave the cauliflower for 4 minutes until soft. Let the cauliflower cool for a few minutes. Place the bowl in the fridge or freezer to expedite. Then, drain the excess moisture from the cauliflower by placing it in a mound in the middle of a kitchen towel. Gather the towel into a ball and twist to wring out every last bit of moisture. When you think you can't wring out any more, keep wringing! Place the cauliflower back into the bowl and add the seasonings and eggs. Mix well with a large spoon.
- Spray a mini muffin tin liberally with cooking spray. Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each well of the muffin tin. I used a mini ice cream scoop for this part. Chop 2 ounces of cheese into 24 mini chunks. Shred the remaining 2 ounces of cheese with a grater. Push 1 chunk of cheese into the middle of each cauliflower bite.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Take out of the oven and top each bite with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese and 3 mini pepperoni pieces. Place back in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the top layer of shredded cheese is melted. Use a butter knife to carefully loosen the bite from the sides of the pan and remove.
- Serve the bites with a small dish of marinara sauce on the side.
Serving size: 2 bites
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 63 Fat: 3.6g Carb: 3.1g Fiber: 1g Protein: 5.1g Sugar 1.1g Sodium: 221mg