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This recipe was inspired by a TikTok by KatherineWants where the chef coated a head of cauliflower in feta, baked it, and then added and herbs and peanuts… which looked absolutely delicious. But I was like, ya know what that kinda looks like…??? A pimento cheese ball. What about… PIMENTO CHEESE CAULIFLOWER BALL??? I made it. And it is also delicious.
SO! For this recipe, we make a yummy pimento cheese dip which is very easy (cream cheese, mayo, cheddar, pimentos, garlic, Sriracha for kick), spread it all over a big beautiful cauliflower head, roll that baby in buttery RITZ CRACKER CRUMBS and bake the livin’ heck out of it until it’s perfectly soft but still hearty on the inside with a crispy cheesy coating on the outside. YUM!!
The only issue I’ve had with this recipe is that it is tough to get the inside of the cauliflower salty. We try to remedy this by salting the inside of the cauliflower from the bottom and crossing our fingers that it gets nice and deep in all of those cracks, but the reality is that you may have to salt the exposed inside after slicing individually. I did try a version where I brined the head of cauliflower first, but it got too soft and steamy in the oven and all of the yummy cheesy topping fell off. Also, AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR BRINING!
As I was typing up this recipe I realized how hard it is to explain the steps. Hopefully these pictures below can be helpful to show the “cauliflower lollipop.”
I hope you like this recipe! Please please drop a comment if you make it and tell me what you think. I really appreciate feedback!Print
A simple pimento cheese dip spread all over a big beautiful cauliflower head, rolled in buttery Ritz cracker crumbs and baked until it’s perfectly soft but still hearty on the inside with a crispy cheesy coating on the outside! YUM!
- 2 ounces (¼ cup) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup mayo
- ¾ cup sharp cheddar, grated
- 1 ½ tablespoons pimentos or roasted red peppers, chopped and drained
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 1 tsp Sriracha, or more to taste
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 16–20 Ritz crackers (depending on the size of your cauliflower)
- 1 head cauliflower (medium large—see Note)
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayo, cheddar cheese, pimentos, garlic, Sriracha, and several grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust spice, pepper, and salt as you wish.
- In a medium-large bowl (cauliflower head must fit into this bowl), crush up the Ritz crackers until the largest crumbs are smaller than a pinky fingernail.
- On a cutting board, place your cauliflower head stalk-up. With a paring knife, cut off leaves to make your stalk easier to hold onto. Be careful to not cut any florets off of the stalk. (Think: cauliflower lollipop. See photos above recipe.)
- Hold the cauliflower upright by the stalk. With a butter knife or small spatula, spread the pimento cheese mixture all over the head of the cauliflower. I like to visually divide the spread in half, then coat the cauliflower by halves to make sure I’m coating it evenly. It won’t be a super thick coat but should cover the whole head.
- Now roll the cauliflower head in the Ritz bowl until crumbs fully coat the pimento cheese layer. You can pat more crumbs on once we flip the cauli over. But not yet!
- With your cauliflower head still resting in the Ritz bowl, use a paring knife to cut the stalk out. Cut as much of it out as you can WITHOUT cutting florets off.
- Grab a 3-finger pinch of salt and sprinkle it into the cauliflower.
- Gently pick up the cauliflower (you can add crumbs if they fall off but try not to smear the cheese layer off!) and flip it onto a cast iron pan or baking sheet, Ritz-side up. Pat more crumbs on where needed.
- Sprinkle another 3-finger pinch of salt over top and bake for one hour.
- Let cauliflower cool for 10 minutes, then slice like cake and enjoy!
- If you have a really gigantic head of cauliflower, I’m talkin’ like more than 7 or 8 inches in diameter, you might want to 1.5 or double the pimento cheese mixture & Ritz, and bake for 10–15 extra minutes.
- You may want to salt the exposed cauliflower sides of each individual slice. It’s hard to get the inner part salty enough.
Keywords: cauliflower, vegetarian, cheesy, crispy, buttery