Turkey Cauliflower Baked Ziti

This turkey cauliflower baked ziti uses cooked cauliflower instead of pasta noodles so it’s low-carb and gluten-free while still being cheesy and delicious. Recipe is from Megan Gilmore’s cookbook, No Excuses Detox.

Healthy low carb turkey cauliflower baked ziti on a plate with a fork.

Happy Thursday! This is an exciting week because my lovely friend Megan Gilmore of Detoxinista just launched a new cookbook called No Excuses Detox. It’s a follow-up to her first cookbook, Everyday Detox, which features the caramelized onion and red bell pepper frittata recipe I shared here on EBF a while back.

Megan and I both graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and have a similar approach to health and wellness. Megan focuses on detoxing, but not in the traditional way most people think of detoxing. Rather than asking you to follow a strict diet for 30 days or less, she’s promoting the idea of enjoying delicious meals made from whole foods all year long. This approach is about lifestyle changes that help to optimize digestion, gently remove toxins and promote effortless weight loss and lasting health. <– LOVE!

No Excuses Detox by Megan Gilmore

With this new cookbook, Megan is addressing the five most common excuses people give when it comes to not eating well consistently:

  • Not enough time
  • It’s too expensive
  • Picky eaters in the family
  • Always on the go
  • Too many cravings

She provides helpful advice for all five issues and presents a collection of 100 satisfying, family-friendly recipes developed with speed, convenience and optimum digestion in mind. All the meals are quick to prepare, affordable and delicious!

The cookbook is filled with the recipes and gorgeous photos but also includes:

  • 3 complete weekly meal plans with shoppings lists
  • a breakdown of cost per serving for each recipe <– So helpful for those of us on a budget!
  • notes for 15 and 30 minute recipes
  • notes for kid-friendly and freezer friendly recipes

After flipping through the cookbook I immediately bookmarked a handful of recipes I want to make soon, but ultimately decided to make the cauliflower baked ziti first.

Cauliflower Baked Ziti Uncooked in a baking dish topped with cheese.


And I’m so glad I did because it’s absolutely delicious. If you’ve never had baked ziti before, it’s basically like lasagna but without all the work of layering ingredients. I’m all about short-cut recipes with minimal ingredients so this baked cauliflower ziti is right up my alley. I added ground turkey for some additional protein, but otherwise followed Megan’s recipe exactly. The recipe makes a lot (about six servings) so Isaac and I ate the ziti over the course of a few days and it never got old! I already want to make another batch.

A couple things to note — I used store-bought pizza sauce instead of making my own just to keep things simple, but feel free to get ambitious make a homemade version. There’s a recipe in Megan’s cookbook (page 186) or you can use my homemade pizza sauce recipe.  The recipe calls for shredded goat cheddar cheese. I had a hard time finding this at our local Whole Foods so I went with a similar goat cheese. If you have a hard time finding goat cheddar, feel free to sub regular cheddar cheese or shredded mozzarella.

Low Carb Turkey Cauliflower Baked Ziti in a baking dish with melted cheese on top.
Megan mentions in the cookbook that all of her taste-testers, even self-proclaimed cauliflower-haters loved this cauliflower baked ziti recipe and I can see why. It’s sooo good. I hope you like it as much as we do!

If you try this turkey cauliflower baked ziti, be sure to leave a comment and star rating letting me know how it turns out. Your feedback is super helpful for me and other EBF readers who are planning to try the recipe. 

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Cauliflower baked ziti topped with parmesan before its cooked.

Turkey Cauliflower Baked Ziti


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6

Description

This turkey cauliflower baked ziti uses cooked cauliflower instead of pasta noodles so it’s low-carb and gluten-free while still being cheesy and delicious. 


Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and chopped
  • 2½ cups Pizza Sauce
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 ounces goat cheddar, shredded

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, combine the cauliflower and pizza sauce and stir well to coat. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and, once bubbling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot to let the cauliflower cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. While cauliflower is cooking, grab a skillet and sauté the turkey until cooked, drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, grated cheese, and salt. Set aside. After the cauliflower is tender, stir in the spinach and simmer to cook off any excess moisture in the pot, to ensure that the final result isn’t watery. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the turkey as well as the egg and cheese mixture. Top with the shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until the eggs have set and the cheese is bubbly on top. Allow the dish to cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

MAKE IT AHEAD: You can prepare this dish as a freezer meal by beating together the pizza sauce, eggs, cheese, and salt in a large bowl, then stirring in the raw cauliflower and spinach. Spread the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch oven-safe dish and top with the shredded cheese, then cover and freeze for up to 3 months. To heat, thaw in the fridge overnight, then place the dish
in a cold oven. (You don’t want to risk a glass dish shattering from a drastic temperature change.) Turn on the oven to 350°F and bake uncovered until the cheese on top is golden and the eggs in the center of the dish are cooked thoroughly, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Recipe reprinted with permission from No Excuses Detox, copyright © 2017 by Megan Gilmore. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 263
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 30g

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out Megan’s new cookbook No Excuses Detox!

This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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    48 comments
    1. Brennan
      August 25, 2020 AT 10:12 pm

      This is amazing! SO SO delicious! Can not recommend enough. We eat pasta often, but this dish did not leave us missing the noodles one bit. I have already recommended it to multiple friends. It’s such a unique recipe that completely masks the cauliflower taste. **I substituted shredded mozz for the goat cheese.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 26, 2020 AT 8:49 pm

        Ahh yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Brennan! I’m so glad this recipe was a hit. Thank you so much for coming back to my site to leave a comment/review. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    2. Sarah
      July 14, 2020 AT 2:25 pm

      This was tasty, and I will make again. I also added broccoli, and only had spaghetti sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheese on hand, and I replaced the whole eggs with 6 egg whites. I was not able to escape the liquid after it cooked, but that didn’t deter from the delish taste. Definitely a keeper. Thanks for the recipe.

    3. Sue
      March 5, 2020 AT 6:47 am

      Could you use egg whites Or egg substitute?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 5, 2020 AT 10:25 pm

        Yes. I think either of those will work. Just follow the package instructions on the egg whites or the egg substitute to determine how much to use.

    4. Jon
      January 22, 2020 AT 8:57 pm

      Wow! I found this recipe looking for a way to cook all the things going bad in my fridge and it turned out great! I didn’t have pizza sauce so I used a jar of vodka sauce and I just shredded some sharp cheddar for the cheese. I also only had 3 eggs. Even with all those substitutes this tastes awesome! The cauliflower really goes a long way.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 23, 2020 AT 4:18 pm

        I’m so glad this recipe turned out for you, Jon!! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment, I really appreciate it. 🙂

    5. Britney
      May 21, 2018 AT 5:24 pm

      Brittany! I love this recipe so much, it is extremely versatile. Very tasty and healthy. I ran out of spinach so I added in chopped asparagus instead and it worked out well. I’m new to your blog but I am truly enjoying it. Keep up the great work!

    6. Sophia Randall
      January 28, 2018 AT 1:40 pm

      Can i sub ricotta cheese for the goat cheese?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 29, 2018 AT 8:22 am

        Hi Sophia! I think that should work just fine. Let me know how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

    7. Whitney
      December 4, 2017 AT 3:26 pm

      I made this last night for dinner. As I was making it, I was a little worried it wasn’t going to be very good. But it turned out delicious! I even had seconds. I added more cheese to the mixture and on top before baking. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tonight!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 4, 2017 AT 9:39 pm

        I’m so glad it exceeded your expectations, Whitney! I hope the leftovers were just as good. 🙂

    8. Robyn
      November 12, 2017 AT 9:46 pm

      We loved this! I went the no-Dutch-oven route, thanks for the alternate instructions. I subbed vodka sauce for pizza sauce, added some garlic,and threw on some steamed broccoli when serving. My guy and I couldn’t get enough!!!

    9. Brandi
      September 17, 2017 AT 5:32 pm

      What store bought pizza sauce do you recommend? (I’m not ambitious ????) Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 20, 2017 AT 10:22 pm

        I’d probably buy the Whole Foods 365 pizza sauce or the Muir Glen canned pizza sauce. Hope this helps!

    10. Amanda
      September 4, 2017 AT 10:03 am

      Hi! This looks really delicious and I want to make it tonight. But what could I use instead of goat cheddar? I don’t know if our grocery store has it. Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 4, 2017 AT 2:33 pm

        Hi Amanda. Any sort of cheddar will work. I hope you love the recipe.

    11. Paola
      April 26, 2017 AT 10:41 pm

      This is a must make recipe! This looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    12. Jenine
      March 12, 2017 AT 6:08 pm

      This recipe is fantastic! I didn’t know what to expect, but when I finally tasted I was blown away. Absolutely delicious! It is easy to make, too.

    13. Liz
      February 28, 2017 AT 9:09 pm

      I made this tonight and thought it was delicious! I was really surprised by how good it is – you really don’t miss the pasta!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 1, 2017 AT 7:57 am

        Right? I was surprised at how well the cauliflower subbed for pasta too!

    14. ID
      February 28, 2017 AT 2:50 pm

      This was SO delicious. My husband is a carb lover and didn’t miss the pasta at all. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Pam Martin
        April 24, 2019 AT 9:19 pm

        I love this recipe! It is one of the first recipes I tried about a year ago when I started eating lower carb and even my husband said, “it kinda tastes like lasagna”, so that was a winner for me. I made it again tonight. I do add fresh mushrooms to it!

    15. Meredith
      February 27, 2017 AT 9:06 pm

      Could you omit the eggs and still get a good result? I’m allergic;) Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 1, 2017 AT 7:52 am

        Hi Meredith. I’m not sure since I haven’t tried it without the egg. I think it should be fine, but I do think the eggs help bind everything together so it might be a little loose without them. Let me know if you try it.

    16. nicole taggart
      February 27, 2017 AT 7:23 am

      That cheesy top looks irresistibly amazing.

    17. David M Casale
      February 26, 2017 AT 9:49 am

      Lid or no kid in the oven?

      What portion of cheese mixed in vs on top?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 26, 2017 AT 10:00 am

        Hi David. Good questions. Just updated the recipe, but no lid in the oven. And for the cheese, the grated Pecorino Romano cheese is mixed in and the goat cheddar is on top. Enjoy!

    18. Farnian
      February 24, 2017 AT 7:22 pm

      5 weeks ago in Istanbul i tasted this food and veryyyy Delicious. its taste is still in my mouth.

    19. David @ CookingChat
      February 24, 2017 AT 8:05 am

      sounds like a good cookbook. Delicious looking recipe! I like my regular pasta but I’d try this for a change of pace.

    20. Patricia @ Grab a Plate
      February 23, 2017 AT 10:17 pm

      What a great take on a baked pasta dish! Love the cauli!

    21. Izzy | pinch of delight
      February 23, 2017 AT 5:42 pm

      This looks so good – I am all for cauliflower in any way! x
      Hope you are having a good day. 🙂
      Izzy |http://www.pinchofdelight.com

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 23, 2017 AT 7:01 pm

        Thanks so much, Izzy. I hope you had a lovely day as well!

    22. Amanda
      February 23, 2017 AT 3:28 pm

      This sounds so fantastic to me! I love cauliflower any way. I’m not sure I could get the husband to go for replacing pasta with a veggie though. Might have to make it two ways, or when he’s out of town’! 😉

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 23, 2017 AT 3:50 pm

        You never know! Maybe make it and don’t mention that it’s baked ziti. Just call it baked cauliflower. 🙂

    23. Kori
      February 23, 2017 AT 1:42 pm

      I love this unique take on a baked ziti! Wonderful addition of the ground turkey. Can’t wait for Matt and I to try it!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 23, 2017 AT 3:49 pm

        Yay!! I bet you and Matt would love this recipe, Kori! 🙂

    24. terri d.
      February 23, 2017 AT 12:34 pm

      This looks great but I am a pescatarian – do you think this would work with my favorite beef-less ground beef from Trader Joe’s? Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 23, 2017 AT 3:50 pm

        Hi Terri. Yes, it will definitely work with beef-less ground beef or you could make it without the meat completely. That’s actually how it was written in the cookbook. I just added turkey for the protein.

    25. Liz
      February 23, 2017 AT 10:11 am

      How would you recommend cooking this if you don’t have a Dutch oven? Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 23, 2017 AT 3:48 pm

        Hi Liz. I would use a large skillet and a casserole dish. So cook the turkey in the large skillet. Remove the turkey from the skillet and cook the cauliflower in the same skillet with the sauce. Once the cauliflower is tender, transfer everything into a large baking/casserole dish and cook as suggested. Hope this helps!

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