Jalapeno Cauliflower 'Meatballs' with Bacon Chive Aioli
These vegetarian, tender, golden brown and delicious Baked Jalapeno Cauliflower Meatballs prove you don't need meat for meatballs! Served with a creamy bacon and chive sauce, these Cauliflower Meatballs are perfect as a snack, appetizer or even a main dish!
1large headCauliflower– leaves and stems removed, cut into florets
Cooking Sprayor Olive Oil, for Baking Sheet
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2tspExtra Virgin Olive Oil
½largeRed Onion– small dice
1largeJalapeno– seeded, ribs removed & small dice
Salt and Pepper to taste
¾cupRomano Cheese– Grated or Cubed (can substitute Parmesan or Pecorino)
2Green Onion– white and green parts, thinly sliced
3-4TBSHalf and Half(can substitute Heavy Cream)
Dash Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4StripsBacon– cooked and roughly chopped
1large cloveGarlic- minced
¼tsp each:Salt and Pepper
Garnishes, Optional: Jalapeno, Bacon, Green Onion
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with PAM or wipe generously with olive oil to prevent cauliflower from sticking.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the Romano cheese until it is coarsely grated. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Place florets in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, taking care to space them and not over crowd the sheet pan. Drizzle tops of cauliflower with additional olive oil or spray with PAM. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping over half way through cooking time, until cauliflower is golden and cooked through.
While cauliflower is baking, heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Add Onion and Jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
Add Garlic and sauté 30 seconds- 1 minute, until fragrant.
Remove from heat and add mixture to the bowl of a food processor.
Once cauliflower is roasted, remove from oven and also add it to the food processor. *spray the aluminum covered sheet pan with PAM and set aside. You are going to use it again*
Reduce oven temperature to 415 degrees F.
Pulse cauliflower and onion mixture for about 1 minute (roughly 15-20 times), until it resembles rice consistency.
Remove 1 CUP of the pulsed cauliflower mixture and set aside.
Transfer remaining cauliflower mixture to the large mixing bowl containing the grated mozzarella cheese.
Place the reserved 1 cup of pulsed cauliflower back into the food processor. With the processor running add half and half, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is pureed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. (Use 3 TBS to start, add the 4th TBS if needed to help mixture puree together. Mixture doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.)
Transfer cauliflower puree to mixing bowl. Add beaten egg, panko, potato starch, Romano, parsley, green onion, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to bowl.
Mix well to combine ingredients.
Spray your hands with PAM. Form golf ball sized (about 2 Tablespoons) cauliflower balls, squeezing it together in your hands to make sure it is compact. Place formed cauliflower ‘meatballs’ on prepared baking sheet. Spray tops of ‘meatballs’ with PAM.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through baking time.
Remove from oven. Serve with Bacon Aioli and enjoy!
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, 2 TBS of chives, bacon drippings, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse to combine.
Transfer to a small mixing (or serving bowl). Fold in the remaining 1 TBS of chives and the chopped bacon. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Yield: 22-24 ‘Meatballs’*To Make ahead: Prepare meatballs through steps 16 or 17 (mixing or forming the cauliflower meatballs), placed on a sprayed plate, cover and refrigerated up to a day in advance. You may need to add a few minutes to your bake time.*To reheat any leftover cauliflower balls: Heat in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, flip over and continue baking for 5 additional minutes.*Nutritional Information does not include Aioli!