Recipe: $10.54 | Per Serving: $1.76| Yield: 6 Large Servings
BACK on the East coast! Whipping up chocolate chip cookies, and this awesome Sausage & Spinach Cheddar Casserole in my mom’s HUGE oven. Huge DOUBLE oven. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
We spent last week looking at apartments (SO MANY), and this week we’re in the process of finding a car (SO FRUSTRATING). But it’s all coming together, and that’s pretty awesome. And this week we’re staying with my parents, where I’m utilizing their huge kitchen and myriad of kitchen supplies. It’s been preeeetty sweet.
My parents & I like a lot of the same foods, but the things that we actually cook for dinner are very very different. We eat a lot of lighter meals with beans & vegetables. They eat smaller amounts of richer dishes. This was sort of a combination of the two. Creamy cauliflower puree + sharp cheddar cheese + flavorful sausage = light, but flavorful pasta dish with a veggie-based sauce. Even my parents liked it!
Most of this was purchased with a quick stop at Trader Joe’s, but you can definitely make it for less if you make HOMEMADE Italian Sausage, and just grab cauliflower on sale at your regular grocery store. I really love this dish for a lot of reasons. The sauce is half cauliflower, half cheese, plus you’ve got spinach and whole wheat pasta. And a little rich sausage to add a lot of flavor. It’s so easy and awesome, and you’re going to love it!Print
- 4 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (rigatoni, shells, etc.)
- 1 head cauliflower (3–4 cups florets)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 8–10 ounces shredded)
- 1 teaspoon mustard (dijon is best)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces sausage (I used Spicy Chicken Sausage)
- 6 packed cups fresh spinach
- optional mix-ins: sun-dried tomatoes, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, sautéed kale
- Steam or boil the cauliflower & garlic: Bring a large pot of water (or broth) to a boil. Break the florets into large chunks and boil the cauliflower and peeled garlic for about 5-8 minutes. Strain from pot (save the water!) and place in blender. Add 1 cup cooking liquid and blend until mostly smooth. Add 2 cups cheese and blend until smooth. Add mustard and salt and blend until combined. Adjust taste as desired.
- Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook the pasta for about 7-8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and crumble. Brown in pan until cooked through. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted.
- Bake the casserole: Add the pasta, sausage, and spinach to a large oven-safe dish and stir well. Add the cauliflower sauce and mix, then top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake on 350ºF for 10-15 minutes. Serve!