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Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette

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This is a riff of an Italian dish my Nonna used to make. She would use any leftover mince and throw it together with parmesan cheese, herbs, breadcrumbs and egg to bind. There wasn’t a set recipe, but these ingredients were usually the staple, with other leftovers thrown in on occasion when they needed to be used up. It was a delicious was to use the last of any unwanted meals!

This is my vegetarian take on it, using cauliflower which I fry up first in a frypan. It’s then processed with the other ingredients to make the mixture for the baked polpette balls.

These can be serves as is, or in a keto-friendly tomato-based sauce upon some zucchini noodles as vegetarian spaghetti Bolognese.

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Hands-on Overall

Nutritional values (per serving, 5 balls)

Net carbs8 grams
Protein13.6 grams
Fat27.5 grams
Calories338 kcal

Calories from carbs 10%, protein 16%, fat 74%

Total carbs15.4 gramsFiber7.4 gramsSugars4.2 gramsSaturated fat5.5 gramsSodium601 mg(26% RDA)Magnesium80 mg(20% RDA)Potassium668 mg(33% EMR)

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 650 g/ 23 oz)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (15 g/ 0.5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp chopped spring onions (12 g/ 0.4 oz)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or other Italian hard cheese (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup almond flour, halved (67 g/ 2.4 oz)
  • 3 tbsp psyllium husks (12 g/ 0.4 oz)
  • 1 small egg


  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C/ 355 °F (conventional), or 160 °C/ 320 °F (fan assisted). Roughly cut cauliflower into florets.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette
  2. Add the olive oil to a large fry pan over medium heat, and add the florets and salt, stirring to coat.
  3. Cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue cooking another 8 - 10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked the and any liquid evaporated.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette
  4. Remove the fry pan from the heat, and allow to cool. Once cool, add to a food processor with the herbs, onion and garlic powder, cheese, half of the almond flour and psyllium husks and process until combined.
  5. Add the egg and pulse a few times until mixed through.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette
  6. The mixture should be wet enough to shape into 20 balls (about 42 g/ 1.5 oz per ball), but not that wet that it’s sloppy.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette
  7. Place the rest of the almond flour on a plate. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture and form into small balls. Roll in the almond meal, and then place on a lined baking tray. Bake 35- 40 minutes until golden.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette
  8. Serve immediately.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette
  9. Lasts 2 – 3 days in the fridge – reheat in the oven before serving.
    Low-Carb Italian Cauliflower Polpette

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, 5 balls)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Cauliflower, fresh
4.8 g3.1 g0.5 g41 kcal
Olive oil, extra virgin
0 g0 g13.5 g119 kcal
Parsley, fresh (spices)
0.1 g0.1 g0 g1 kcal
Spring onion, scallion, green onion, fresh
0.1 g0.1 g0 g1 kcal
Parmesan cheese
0.5 g5.4 g3.9 g59 kcal
Salt, sea salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Onion powder, spices
0.4 g0.1 g0 g2 kcal
Garlic powder, spices
0.2 g0.1 g0 g1 kcal
Almond flour (blanched ground almonds, almond meal)
1.5 g3.6 g8.8 g98 kcal
Psyllium husks, whole
0.3 g0.1 g0 g2 kcal
Eggs, free-range or organic
0.1 g1.2 g0.9 g14 kcal
Total per serving, 5 balls
8 g13.6 g27.5 g338 kcal
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Dearna Bond

Dearna is a passionate foodie and food photographer, and loves sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for both via her food blog and online photography courses.

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