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Crispy veggie bites stuffed with herby goodness and mozzarella will be your new favorite vegetarian snack.

Cauliflower Pesto Balls

prep time10Min


cooking time30Min


serving time10 to 11


  • 1 1/2 large heads of cauliflower, steamed

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed

  • 1 cup shredded Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 cup almond meal or panko

  • 10-12 mini mozzarella balls

  • Olive oil

  • Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Cook the cauliflower in a stovetop steamer or in the microwave until softened. Drain well, and dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Set aside.

  2. Toast almonds in a dry skillet until just browned. Careful not to burn.

  3. In a food processor, pulse together basil leaves, cheese, toasted almonds, garlic, salt and pepper. Remove pesto and set aside.

  4. Into the food processor, add steamed cauliflower and pulse until coarsely ground. Add to the pesto and add the egg. Mix well.

  5. Grab a palmful (about 2 inches in diameter) of the mixture and fill with a mozzarella ball. Close the ball, toss in the almond meal or panko and place on the baking sheet. Continue until all cauliflower mixture is gone.

  6. Drizzle the cauliflower balls generously with olive oil. Bake in the oven at 400°F until browned and crispy, about 25-30 minutes. Eat with a fork, and serve with your favorite marinara sauce!

Cauliflower Pesto Balls




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox


- Today I'm taking my favorite classic Italian flavors and I'm stuffing them inside of these cute little cauliflower pesto balls. They're crispy, they're easy to make and guess what, there's cheese stuffed inside. Let's make 'em. Okay, so first I'm gonna start off by making my pesto. So, I have a handful of fresh basil. And then, I'm gonna add in a few cloves of garlic. So, instead of pine nuts I'm actually going to do almonds just because it's a little bit milder and I really like that flavor. And, I have a little pit of Pecorino cheese and that's just gonna go inside. And then, I'm gonna pulse this till it just comes together, kind of chunky. You don't want it to be too fine. Nice, I'm gonna add a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. I'm gonna go ahead and add in some cauliflower that I've steamed. It's a pretty simple recipe 'cause everything just kind of gets blended together. And, if you're finding that it's kind hard to blend up you can add a little bit more olive oil. And, we still have to add an egg to help this bind together. All right, so that is looking beautiful. This is kind of the consistency that you're looking for. It's still pretty chunky so that I can mold, it's not too liquidy and that is perfect. Then, I can add a little bit of pepper. Stir it around. So, now I'm ready to start assembling my cauliflower pesto balls. I have a sheet pan, I have some panko bread crumbs and I have some Bocconcini, which are just little mozzarella balls that are gonna go on the inside of my cauliflower pesto. You kind of just add a little bit of the mixture to your hand, create a little well for your ball to go inside. And then, grab a little bit more of that mixture to close it. And then, just toss it back between your palms like a little hackey sack. Then, I'm gonna roll it in a little bit of that panko bread crumb, perfect. And, this goes right on my baking sheet. And, I'm gonna keep going until I use all of my Bocconcini. So, this recipe is really fun. It's almost like eating a mozzarella stick in ball form. It reminds me of Arancini, which is a really delicious Italian street snack that's risotto stuffed with mozzarella. And so, this is kind of my take on that. Pesto is usually made with basil, but you can definitely use spinach. I've even seen sun-dried tomato pestos. So, I mean, you can get really creative. All of my balls are formed, I'm ready to drizzle them with a little bit of olive oil. And, these are just gonna roast, get super crispy on the outside, get really ooey-gooey with that cheese on the inside. It's gonna be so delicious. It's gonna be perfect. Let's get these in the oven. Okay, my cauliflower pesto balls are out of the oven. They smell so good. They're crispy, they're brown. I'm just gonna plate them on my plate next to my marinara sauce. You can definitely use whatever kind of dipping sauce you want, but I'm keeping it pretty classic with the marinara and the pesto and the mozzarella. Like a Caprese salad in mozzarella stick form. And, I'm just gonna dip this. Mm. Everything is there. This is the perfect meal. It's so flavorful. You got the pesto, you got the marinara sauce, you got the mozzarella cheese. It's ooey-gooey, it's crispy. And, it's every thing that I love. And, I know you're gonna love it too, so make them already.