I had a day where things just didn’t turn out how I’d planned. I wanted to make several new recipes for a while, but Facebook got in the way. No, I’m not one who spends much time on there being all social and stuff; I was posting pictures for my sister’s anniversary and it took so much longer to scan and tweak and upload than I had planned. Drat.
After finishing the mango mini bread pudding recipe I’ve already posted, I was mildly frustrated. (you learned why in that post). The head of cauliflower in my fridge needed to be used, so I crossed a few other recipes off my list of “To Do” things and decided to focus on the veggie dishes. It was nearing the dinner hour and my P.S. was going to be home and hungry soon.
Breadsticks made with cauliflower sounded interesting, and fairly easy to make. I started by trimming and cutting the cauliflower into chunks and reducing it to fine pieces in my food processor. I did it in two batches since my head was a bit large. That worked well, for a first attempt at “ricing” cauliflower!
Next I measured 2 cups of the cauliflower and added it to a mixing bowl with the pepperoni, cheeses, spices and an egg. I mixed it well with my hand until it was thoroughly blended.
I doubled the recipe, as my bread pans are those 15×4 ones. I’ve adapted all of my quick bread recipes and only use that size pan, so I had to double the cauliflower recipe to accommodate my pan. I’d sprayed my bread pan with cooking spray and spread the cauliflower mixture evenly, pressing it down. It was about 1 ¼ inches thick, pretty close to the recipe directions.
The pan went into the oven and I set the timer. I started the other cauliflower recipe, for a pizza crust, while I waited. Again, that will be another post but I promise that one is way easier! These breadsticks were getting to be a pain in my hiney. I kept checking the pan and they just weren’t browning or looking any drier. I finally, in frustration, said to myself (outloud, yes I do that) “what is the oven set on, isn’t it at 450° F? And no, it was not. It was turned off.
Well drat! When I’d finished the bread puddings I’d turned the oven off! I was going to make a pot of soup and get to the cauliflower recipes later. Then I scratched the soup off my list, moved the cauliflower recipes to the top, and forgot my oven was off. Dinner was going to be even later than I thought.
I left the pan in the oven and turned it on to 450° F. It was already in there, why remove it now? I heard the oven beep that it was back up to temp a short while later, and set the timer for 20 minutes. Then set it for 10 minutes more, when it didn’t look very browned around the edges.
After 30 minutes I removed it from the oven and set it on a rack. From there I tipped it upside down onto a cutting board and used my pizza cutter to make slices. Since my bread pan was thinner than a regular sized one, the breadsticks were shorter, but that was fine. Not a problem.
The dough did seem a bit wetter than I had expected, and it was hard to cut very thin for that reason. I did the best I could and used my fingers to flatten each breadstick I placed on a sheet of foil on a sheet pan. I cut half the loaf and when the sticks were laid out I put the pan into the oven for 10 minutes. I gave it 10 minutes more and the sticks were finally well-browned around the edges.
I let them set for a few minutes on a rack and then tried to remove them to a plate. I said “tried”, because I’d neglected to spray the foil. Another drat! I was able to remove them using a spatula, without leaving much behind for each one, but I could tell they weren’t very firm or crispy. The sat for about 15 minutes while I waited for my pizza to be done for dinner and they did firm up more but never did get very crispy.
The flavor of the breadsticks was amazing; they were pepperoni and tasted very similar to the flavors of a real breadstick. The cauliflower flavor was almost lost, it was so slight. I served them with a marinara sauce from Boboli I had on hand. The blogger had said she had an excellent 30 minute marinara sauce but by then I was like “No. I don’t have 30 more minutes and I’m done now”.
My P.S. liked them even more than he liked the pizza I served with them, and that was gratifying after the disastrous curves I’d been thrown in making them. The second half of the loaf sat intact on the counter for an hour, until I forced myself to return to the kitchen, slice it into breadsticks, reheat the oven to 450°F and bake them. I let them bake until they were even darker around the edges (this time I sprayed the foil!) and they came off the pan easily and sounded crispy as I put them into a container for later.
I haven’t checked them since, and they may have gone all soggy when leftover in the fridge. I’ll let you know. After the second batch was easier to cut when cooled and seemed to crisp more, I’d say it was just unfortunate for the start of the breadsticks that the oven wasn’t turned on. I will need to make them again to see how I can perfect this recipe. It has great taste, we just need to get more crunch!
Update: They were still crunchy the next day when I had some for lunch. Even cold they were great!
Cauliflower Pepperoni Breadsticks
1 cup cauliflower; riced, uncooked
1 cup mozzarella; shredded
10 slices pepperoni; finely diced
1/2 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cheese for topping
marinara sauce for dipping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine cauliflower, egg, mozzarella and spices in a bowl. Mix well with a spoon (I used my hands).
Grease a 9×5 bread pan and spread dough even over the bottom, about 1 1/2″ thick.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until set. Turn up oven to 450 degrees F.
Loosen around the sides of the pan and invert onto a cutting board.
Use a pizza cutter to slice evenly thin strips and place on greased foil or a silpat on a sheet pan.
Sprinkle with extra mozzarella if desired.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes more, or until tops are brown.
Serve with marinara dipping sauce.
Crust can be frozen after being baked and sliced. Heat oven to 450 and bake thawed slices until browned.
Adapted from Your Lighter Side