This delicious Cauliflower Crustless Pizza Bowl recipe is a simple grain-free meal that's perfect for meal prep! It's filled with creamy Italian cheese, spicy sausage, and nutritious cauliflower. The best part about this recipe is it's totally customizable with any of your favorite pizza toppings!
Pizza is the quintessential food for parties, easy dinner for a big family, or a quick meal for a busy day. It has its roots as a meal for poor Italian workers because anything could go onto a slice of bread that was filling, warm, and portable.
Today we enjoy pizza in endless varieties of toppings and crusts! Unfortunately, regular pizza is high in carbs. That's why people have started making cauliflower crusts, chicken crusts, and chickpea crusts to reduce the net carbs and increase the protein.
Restaurants are also making great low-carb options such as Marco's Pizza Bowls. This is the route we decided to go, and this recipe is the BEST crustless pizza recipe that is packed with flavor and satisfies your pizza craving!
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitution options are a 1:1 substitution unless noted otherwise.
Italian sausage: Italian sausage is a flavor bomb. It has classic Italian seasoning already added which adds great depth of flavor!
Substitutions: Any ground meat or sausage can be used, such as turkey, chicken, pork or ground beef in place of Italian sausage meat. Try to use an Italian like seasoned sausage. Mushrooms can be used for a vegetarian version. If the sausage is unflavored or if using mushrooms, add additional Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. The sausage can also be omitted if in a pinch.
Garlic and Onion: Garlic and onion are a dynamic duo. Every great dish starts with garlic and onion!
Substitutions: 1 teaspoon of Garlic powder and 1 tablespoon Onion powder could be used. White or red onion could be used in place of the yellow onion, also. If you don't prefer onion you can also try a bell pepper such as red pepper or green peppers, fresh basil, black olives, or any additional toppings you prefer.
Cauliflower: We used cauliflower because it has a very mild (if not zilch) flavor but is very filling. This allows us to sneak in extra veggies while still maintaining the robust feeling of pizza and traditional flavors.
Substitutions: Cooked rice can be subbed for cauliflower rice. Quinoa can also be used to make these into quinoa pizza bowls.
Italian seasoning: Unsure if I need to explain this one? Flavor!
Substitutions: You can make your own Italian seasoning with this recipe by Add a Pinch! If you do not have all the things to make Italian seasoning and cannot get to the store, just be sure to get oregano into the pizza bowl. That’s the main flavor. If only using oregano, use Italian sausage for added flavor.
Salt & Pepper: Remember to always taste as you go! You should taste your dish every 10 minutes to adjust and add salt and pepper as needed.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitution for this.
Marinara: We kept the classic marinara sauce to ensure an easy flavor add and lots of saucy goodness.
Substitutions: Any marinara can be used, we love Rao’s Marinara because of it’s minimal ingredients! Regular tomato sauce can be used or you can make your own marinara using this recipe by Minimalist Baker. Again, if using plain tomato sauce, use olive oil and Italian sausage for added flavor.
Pepperoni: what pizza doesn't have pepperoni? Ok, what *good* pizza doesn't have pepperoni?
Substitutions: Salami can be used in place of pepperoni
Italian Cheese Blend: We choose to use an Italian cheese blend because it is typically a blend of parmesan (nuttiness), Pecorino (earthy), and mozzarella (creamy). Each of these cheeses add an additional layer of flavor.
Substitutions: A combo of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese can be used or just mozzarella can be used.
Recipe Testing Notes
Throughout our testing of this Pizza Bowl recipe, we learned some key things that worked and didn't work. Here are the key takeaways!
Spreading out the cheese: As we were testing this, we decided the filling was missing that gooeyness that is typical of a slice of pizza. To fix this, we found that adding some of the cheese to the filling and some to the top created that ultimate gooey bite!
Using frozen cauliflower: Typically, frozen cauliflower needs to be thawed and drained of excess moisture before cooking. However, when we tested this recipe, we tried it with both thawed and drained cauliflower and with adding the frozen cauliflower directly from freezer to pan. We noticed no difference in texture or flavor by using the frozen cauliflower. Plus, it makes this recipe much easier if you don't have to thaw the cauliflower separately.
How to make this - Step by step
Making this pizza bowl recipe is so easy! All you need is a large skillet or Dutch oven to cook all the filling ingredients in. Then, you'll need individual bowls, a skillet, or whatever you want to serve the pizza bowls in. You also have the option of finishing your delicious pizza bowl in the oven or the microwave. Check out the quick recipe steps below, or go to the recipe card for steps with photos!
Step One: Cook the Italian sausage in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Step Two: When sausage is half cooked (about 5 minutes), add cauliflower, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and sauté until onion is translucent and sausage is cooked, about 5 more minutes.
Step Three: Add marinara sauce and ½ cup of the cheese to mixture and cook for another 2 minutes until you have gooey cheese.
Step Four: Transfer cooked pizza mixture to 4 oven safe bowls*. Top with pepperoni slices and cheese.
*Note: A cast iron or Dutch oven can also be used instead of bowls for a pizza casserole. You can also microwave the bowl to melt the cheese. If so, use microwave safe bowls instead of oven safe bowls.
Step Five: Broil for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and melted. You can also microwave for 1-2 minute until the cheese melts.
Step Six: Enjoy! Add any remaining toppings you'd like. We love to top with basil and hot honey.
How to Make This Video - Step by Step
Make this in a cast-iron skillet to do fewer dishes and make it one big pizza casserole! Dinner on the table in 30 minutes? Check!
What are pizza bowls?
Pizza bowls have all the delicious flavors of pizza without the crust! This crustless pizza bowl recipe uses cauliflower rice and meat as a base as opposed to a pizza crust. Pizza bowls are topped with marinara sauce and cheese. This pizza bowl recipe is made and served in a bowl and eaten with a fork.
Does this meet my dietary needs?
This recipe is grain-free, low carb, and refined sugar-free. It also is a great meal option for a keto diet!
Can I customize this?
Yup! Use this keto pizza bowl recipe to step up your pizza night in a fun, low-carb way. The whole family will have so much fun making their pizza bowls with their favorite toppings!
Can you freeze pizza bowls?
Yes, you can freeze pizza bowls! If you store it in a microwave-safe dish, reheat it by cooking in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of water on top before putting it in the microwave to keep it from drying out. Microwave time varies depending on the power, so check the temperature after 3 minutes and cook longer if needed. You can also reheat in the oven by cooking for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
Are pizza bowls low carb?
Yes, pizza bowls have much fewer carbs than traditional pizza with crust. This recipe has only 13g of carbs per serving, compared to 36g of carbs in a typical single slice of pizza! See the nutritional information section of the recipe card for more information.
How to Save This for Later
These easy pizza bowls last for four days in the fridge and two months in freezer. Simply tightly cover the pizza bowls (completely assembled) before storing. You can also store the sauce and cheese separate from the meat mixture in a Tupperware (like this one).
When ready to eat, add sauce and cheese and pop in the microwave to reheat (if stored this way) for 1 minute covered with a splatter guard. If you need to take this meal to work and do not have a way to reheat during the day, store everything together and reheat an individual serving very hot (for 2 minutes) in the morning. Place this serving in a thermos (like this one) to keep warm until ready to eat.
Pizza: Many countries claim to be the creators of pizza, and it’s true that many countries have a long history of eating foods that consist of bread with various toppings. However, the first dish to be called “pizza” was created by bakers in Naples, Italy in the 1600s. It was first eaten as street food by poor Neapolitans who ate for a quick meal on the go. Pizza was brought to the Americas in the 1800’s and by 2019 there were nearly 77,000 pizzerias in the United States alone. That’s a lot of pizza! (source)
More Joyful Recipes!
- 1-½ cup pepperoni
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1-½ cup Italian cheese blend
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 lb Italian Sausage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- ⅓ of a yellow onion
- 12 oz riced cauliflower frozen (2 cups)
- Cook the Italian sausage in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- When sausage is half cooked (about 5 minutes), add cauliflower, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and sauté until onion is translucent and sausage is cooked, about 5 more minutes.
- Add marinara sauce and ½ cup of cheese to mixture and cook for another 2 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Transfer cooked pizza mixture to 4 oven safe bowls*. Top with pepperoni and remaining cheese.*Note: A cast iron or Dutch oven can also be used instead of bowls for a pizza casserole. You can also microwave the bowl to melt the cheese. If so, use microwave safe bowls instead of oven safe bowls.
- Broil for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is golden and melted. You can also microwave for 1-2 minute to melt the cheese and heat the marinara.
- Enjoy! Add any remaining toppings you'd like. We love to top with basil and hot honey.