Broccoflower with Spicy Italian Sausage

The paleo diet has been the catalyst for eating an incredible amount of vegetables.  I would venture to say I eat more vegetables than most vegetarians I know.  In fact, the paleo diet has led me to eat veggies I had purposely avoided, (kale), ones I simply ignored, (beet greens), and others I did not know even existed, (pink banana squash). The following recipe includes a food I was never motivated to try until now: Broccoflower.

Broccoflower is in the same family as cauliflower and broccoli. Because the two are so closely related they are easily cross-pollinated. The result is something that looks like green cauliflower. Romanesco broccoli is very similar to broccoflower but looks a little different due to an interesting pattern displayed by the floret.  I found the broccoflower to be truly a cross between broccoli and cauliflower in both appearance and taste.  It was milder than cauliflower and the texture, especially of the stalk parts, was very similar to broccoli.  In the following easy recipe I employed the same “ricing” technique I have used with cauliflower. But the green color of the broccoflower really added to the aesthetics of the dish.


  • 1 lb hot Italian sausagespicy Italian sausage for paleo recipe
  • 1 broccoflower floret (you can substitute cauliflower – but it won’t be quite as gorgeous!)broccoflower
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 a large pepper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsleydiced red pepper and chopped fresh parsley


  1. Begin heating a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Remove the casing from the spicy Italian sausage.
  3. Brown the sausage in the pan, using a fork or spatula to break up into pieces.spicy Italian sausage in pan
  4. While the sausage is cooking, cut up the broccoflower into smaller florets, place in a 8×8 glass dish, cover with plastic wrap and heat for 4 minutes on high in the microwave. (Alternatively, you can steam the broccoflower for a few minutes making sure not to overcook.)steamed broccoflower
  5. Place the broccoflower in a food processor and pulse until approximately the size of rice. (in multiple batches if necessary.)
  6. Once the sausage is completely browned, add the “riced” broccoflower to the pan and stir while cooking for about 5-10 minutes. riced broccoflower
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the red bell pepper and parsley.broccoflower, peppers and parsley
  8. Serve warm.

Serves 2 Paleo adults or 4 regular people ;-)

I made this dish the day of a fasting blood test so I was pretty hungry by lunchtime and ate quite a bit. Even so there was enough left over to make two hefty sized portions for my husband to take to work the next couple of days.riced broccoflower with spicy Italian sausage leftovers This Broccoflower with Spicy Italian Sausage recipe was super easy to make, delicious, nutritious (do not fear the fat!) and beautiful enough to serve to guests or proudly take to a potluck.  I love the spiciness of the sausage but you can easily substitute the sweet, milder variety if you prefer.  riced broccoflower with spicy Italian sausage

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19 thoughts on “Broccoflower with Spicy Italian Sausage

  1. This looks amazing. I’m planning on it for dinner very soon. Thanks for posting. I’m really enjoying your blog. Looking forward to future posts.

  2. I just made this tonight except i used broccoli and cauliflower since i couldn’t find the broccoflower : ) and it was really good and very filling. i am so glad i found your site! i went paleo after finding out my newborn was allergic to milk. it’s just easier eating this way and not worrying about the dairy. i love your recipes! thank you!!!!

    • Glad you liked it Holly. The broccoflower was an unusual and fun ingredient but, as you found out, it works just fine with broccoli and cauliflower. And thanks so much for the words of encouragement. I really appreciate it!

  3. As I write this, I am enjoying this divine, simple recipe. I used cauliflower, as my whole foods did not have broccoliflower. The crunchy red bell pepper, spicy sausage, and fresh parsley blend together perfectly. I still cannot believe that I have found a delicious alternative to rice — thank you for sharing!

    FYI, the hubby walked by and had to try it because it smelled so good. He kept asking what the “binder” was (rice, quinoa) and he had a hard time believing it was cauliflower. He isn’t a fan of sausage, but I think I may have won him over, rather you won him over! Thank you again.


  4. I found this recipe (and site) via um, this is amazing!! I was looking for something low-carb but also filling and oh my this is so good!! I had never tried Broccoflower before, but had seen it at the store. I have also done the ‘ricing’ technique so I knew I could whip this up in no time. Anyway- this was great, thanks for sharing!

    • Amy, I’m so glad you like the recipe! Thanks for letting me know and how you found me. I love that this recipe only calls for 4 ingredients. It can also be used with regular cauliflower.
      Best, Lea

  5. I made this with a head of cauliflower, and our home grown italian sausage. Yum! Even got my hubby to try it, but he didn’t want to know what was in it. I sold it as paleo pork fried ‘rice’. I can’t follow a recipe without my own flair however. So, I added some chopped garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and some coconut butter to my mix. Holy spicy! Love it!

  6. I found your recipe a few days ago and today had been the first time I had actually cooked this dish. Let’s just say it’s been added to my favorites. :-)

    Initially I intended on preparing this meal in advance so I could take it to work (I unfortunately work nights so if I want to eat I have to prep my food beforehand since I rarely get up early enough to cook dinner). By the time the dish was done I just had to have a bowl of it! It smells and tastes as delicious as it looks! The fennel/anise of the italian sausage complements perfectly with the parsley, and by adding the bellpepper towards the end you still get a nice crunch in addition to the flavor.

    I couldn’t find broccoflower on short notice so I ended up using a smaller head of cauliflower and a large head/bunch of broccoli in order to create “pseudo-broccoflower” which worked just fine. Thank you so much for posting this. Much appreciated!

  7. This meal is seriously amazing! I’m not paleo, but my boyfriend tries to stick to it for the most part. This is now one of our weekly staples. It is so easy to make and it’s so filling yet so light you don’t feel weighed down. A++ for sure!

  8. My family and I have just started the paleo lifestyle and this was the first dinner meal I made and it was FANTASTIC!!! I used mild sausage because I have two young kids, and they loved it! Looking forward to making many more healthy meals for my family!

  9. Hi Lea,

    Thank you for sharing your story, journey in Paleo and wonderful recipes. I am new to this, but I notice you use sausage in a few of your recipes. How do you make sure there are no paleo unfriendly ingredients within the sausage, like wheat, preservatives, etc?


    • Hi Angela,
      I try to buy sausage from a local farm that only has a few ingredients – pork, salt and spices. If that is not available, my local grocery store has sausage that is gluten-free and no MSG, etc… But it is often hard to find – depending on the store in your area.

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