A whole head of cauliflower stuffed with a cheesy spinach and artichoke filling, topped with crispy parmesan Panko breadcrumbs and baked to golden brown perfection. A creative, and delicious vegetable dish that makes a show stopping presentation.
This super fun recipe takes one of everyone’s favorite restaurant appetizers, spinach artichoke dip, and stuffs it into all the nooks and crannies of a whole head of cauliflower. It’s then topped with a mound of crispy, cheesy breadcrumbs and then baked until golden brown on the outside and bubbling on the inside. Put this on the table and everyone will be beyond excited to eat their veggies.
I love cauliflower. It’s a versatile, nutritional powerhouse of a vegetable that’s always in season and can be prepared in so many different ways. It can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, fried, mashed, riced or even turned into a pizza crust. It’s a great alternative for grain-free diets and its mild flavor easily incorporates itself into nearly any dish. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables – it’s always a great reminder that we can be anything we want to be!
The recipe and blog post for Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Cauliflower was made in partnership with California Grown! Compensation was recieved in exchange for this work. I am a true cauliflower enthusiast and my opinions are genuine. I deeply appreciate your continued support!
Why you will love this recipe
No lackluster vegetable side dish here. This recipe gives cauliflower the credit it deserves, celebrates it in all its glory and makes it the star of the show. You will love this recipe because:
- It’s a fun and creative presentation that will wow both your meat eating and vegetarian guests alike. This is a great recipe for a holiday, dinner party or special occasion. Cutting that first slice to see the inside is so exciting!
- It’s full of flavor and texture.
- With a few tips and tricks, it’s relatively easy to make.
- If you always order the spinach artichoke dip when you go to a restaurant, you will absolutely love this recipe!
Why I love California Grown
In recent years, more people have become huge cauliflower fans and this beloved vegetable has skyrocketed in popularity. Thanks to California farmers, we can find it everywhere all the time.
California grows more than 400 different commodities, producing over 50% of the nation’s produce. California is the leading agricultural state in the country and produces about 90% of the cauliflower supply. It also has some of the highest agricultural worker pay, standards and protections in the U.S. and the world.
Where my food comes from is extremely important to me. When I’m in the grocery store, I check the labels on everything I buy. California Grown is all about connecting people to the farmers that grow our food and ensuring the highest quality and safety standards. When I see that California Grown stamp of approval, I know I’m making the right choice.
- Fresh cauliflower – the bigger the head, the better!
- Baby spinach
- Artichoke hearts
- Cream cheese
- Monterey Jack cheese – mozzarella works too.
- Parmesan cheese
- Eggs – helps to bind the mixture together and stay inside the cauliflower while it bakes.
- Fresh garlic
- Plain Panko bread crumbs
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Optional – fresh parsley for garnish. You can also add a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the filling to bring some heat.
How to make a whole stuffed cauliflower
I won’t lie to you. This recipe is a little fussy, but I promise you it’s worth it.
Start by bringing a large stock pot of very salty water to a boil. Make sure the water is super salty, this will season the cauliflower before we stuff it. While the water is boiling, get to work on prepping your whole cauliflower. Use a sharp paring knife to remove the green leaves from the bottom and as much of the tough stem and core as possible. Do this carefully as you do not want to separate the florets from the stem and have the whole thing fall apart.
Once the cauliflower is prepped, gently lower it into the salty boiling water and boil for exactly 6 minutes, flipping it over halfway through. Do not over boil the cauliflower as the most important part in this recipe is to keep it together. If it gets too soft, it could fall apart.
Carefully place the boiled cauliflower in a colander or on a wire rack and let it cool and drain completely. While the cauliflower is draining, prepare the filling.
Add cream cheese, Monterey jack cheese, eggs and roughly chopped garlic clove to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the artichoke hearts and baby spinach leaves to the egg mixture and pulse until everything is incorporated. You don’t want it completely smooth, the spinach should look like roughly chopped herbs. The filling will be quite loose.
Transfer the filling to a large piping bag with a fine tip or a resealable disposable, compostable bag with a small hole cut in the corner. Flip the cauliflower head stem side up and pipe the filling into all of the nooks and crannies. You may need to get in there with your fingers to help gently guide it in. Some liquid may come out through the top, don’t panic, just keep adding as much filling as you possibly can. The more that gets in there, the more flavorful and pretty the finished product will be!
Once the cauliflower is filled, carefully flip it over and place it stem side down in a baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together panko crumbs, parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of olive oil until well incorporated and everything is coated in oil. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil all over the head of cauliflower.
Use your hands to pack the breadcrumb mixture all over the cauliflower head. If crumbs fall to the side, just use a spatula to push them up against the bottom of the cauliflower.
Bake in a 400 degree f oven for 40-45 minutes until the cauliflower is knife tender. Let it cool for about ten minutes before slicing into wedges like a cake.
- Fresh cauliflower is easy to find and always in season. The freshest cauliflower is creamy white in color, has a tight texture and firmly attached leaves. Avoid choosing any heads with brown spots or loose sections.
- Don’t over boil in the first step! If it’s overcooked, it will fall apart before you can stuff it.
- This recipe is best enjoyed fresh while the topping is super crispy. Leftovers will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
More recipes featuring California Grown goods
- Broccoli Pesto
- Citrus Salad with Olives and Fennel
- White Wine Roasted Chicken Thighs and Leeks
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash with Sausage and Kale
- Harissa and Honey Roasted Carrots
- Sauteed Baby Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic
Crispy Baked Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Cauliflower
- 1 large head of cauliflower 3-4 lbs
- ½ cup artichoke hearts 5-6
- 3 oz baby spinach leaves about 2 packed cups
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 clove fresh garlic roughly minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
Crispy Panko Topping
- ½ cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f. Bring a large pot of very salty water to a boil.
- Carefully remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower. With a sharp paring knife, remove as much of the stem as you can while keeping the whole cauliflower intact.
- Carefully lower the whole cauliflower into the boiling water and boil for exactly 6 minutes, flipping over in the water halfway through. Remove and let drain and cool.
- In the bowl of a food processor combine cream cheese, jack cheese, eggs, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Add artichoke hearts and baby spinach leaves and pulse until spinach leaves look like roughly chopped herbs. The filling will be loose.
- Fill a large piping bag or resealable disposable/compostable bag with the filling and cut a small hole in the tip or corner.
- Carefully turn the cauliflower stem side up and pipe the filling into the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower. You may need to use your fingers to gently poke it down. It may leak out of the top a little bit, that is ok. Keep going.
- When the cauliflower is filled, carefully flip it over into a baking dish. Drizzle the top all over with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- In a small bowl, stir together panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and remaining olive oil.
- Press breadcrumb mixture all over the head of the cauliflower. If the topping falls around the edges, use a spatula to push them up as close to the cauliflower as possible.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until knife tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.