Creamy Cauliflower Baked Ziti

The cauliflower florets in this Creamy Baked Ziti melt into a creamy sauce for a dish with a little hidden vegetable boost… so perfect to entice young ones to try something new and delicious!


2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Dried Basil (or chopped fresh basil)
¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
3 15 oz cans Crushed Tomatoes (or tomato puree)
½ teaspoon Sugar
1 lb Dried Pasta, like Ziti, Rigatoni, or Penne
2 cups Cauliflower Florets

4 oz Cream Cheese, cubed
8 oz Mozzarella, shredded
½ + ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F / 232°C. Rub a 9×13 baking dish with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and then garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Simmer with lid slightly ajar for 15 to 20 minutes.

While sauce simmers, boil pasta according to package directions. In the last minute of cooking, add cauliflower florets. Drain pasta and cauliflower.
Return to sauce and whisk in cream cheese.

Stir 3 cups sauce and ½ cup parmesan cheese into pasta and cauliflower.
Pour ¾ cup sauce into prepared baking dish. Top with half the mozzarella. Add pasta over top.

Top pasta with any remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella, and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
Transfer to the oven and bake until bubbly and melted, about 10 minutes.
Turn on the oven’s broiler and broil until the top is golden, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Recipe by Inquiring Chef