The Original Paleo Chipotle Chicken Cauliflower Bake / Casserole

 Cauliflower: a companion for paleo chipotle chicken casserole

Paleo Chipotle Chicken Cauliflower Bake (C)Maoomba

Many moons ago, when gluten and dairy were not an issue for me, I used to love making a chili cheddar pasta dish I’d found in Cooking Light.  It was awesome – filled with noodles, milk, butter, and cheese.  But, alas, no more.

As I transitioned to a whole foods way of cooking, I realized that it is often the flavor of a dish – not its supporting ingredients – that I remember most.  In this case, the smoky chipotle, red peppers, and fresh cilantro are what really sang.

So, drawing on these ingredients and flavorful meats, and using cauliflower – which is a life saver for anyone who is really angling for a healthy carb alternative – as the base, we have a paleo-friendly Chipotle Chicken Cauliflower casserole that is perfect for a get-together or for a simple one-dish meal at home.  And you don’t have to worry about missing a thing!

Some tips:

  • This dish works great with leftover grilled chicken, but you can also pan-fry chicken pieces and then add the peppers, onions and garlic to the mix.
  • Consider making extra bacon for breakfast.  Keep several pieces aside for use in recipes; strain the grease and use it instead of cooking oil when making savory dishes.  The flavor is fantastic.
  • Cauliflower for this dish should still be reasonably firm.   I prefer to steam it for about 10 to 12 minutes, just to the point of tenderness.  You could steam it longer and mash it like you would potatoes.  Keep in mind that it will continue cooking in the oven.
  • Does the mixture seem dry to you?  Before adding the mixture to your casserole to bake it, stir in a couple tablespoons of water.

Cut cauliflower into florets. Rinse.

Cut cauliflower into florets. Rinse.

Steam cauliflower in a basket or pot with steamer tray.

Steam cauliflower in a basket or pot with steamer tray.

Saute peppers, onions, and garlic in olive oil or bacon grease.

Saute peppers, onions, and garlic in olive oil or bacon grease.

Mix ingredients

Mix ingredients

Add ingredient mixture to a casserole and bake.

Add ingredient mixture to a casserole and bake.















4.5 from 2 reviews

Paleo Chipotle Chicken Cauliflower Bake
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


This flavorful, dairy-free and gluten-free dish is a great way to use leftover chicken and bacon (if you have that kind of self-control) and get your veggies, too.
Serves: 6

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Olive oil or bacon fat for sautéing

  1. Cut cauliflower into florets. Steam over boiling water for about 12 minutes, until it florets are tender but not mushy. (Note: this is a good time to cook up your chicken and bacon if you haven’t already.)
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
  3. Heat frying pan to medium high heat. Add olive oil or bacon fat and red peppers. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Set aside.
  4. Cut cauliflower into ¾ inch chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chile powder, chipotle powder, cumin, and salt until well blended. Stir in red pepper mixture, chicken chunks, crumbled bacon, tomatoes, and cilantro.
  5. Pour mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until heated through and the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve.

Do you use cauliflower as a base for previously-loved grains, potatoes, or pasta?  What’s your favorite way to use it?

17 Comments on The Original Paleo Chipotle Chicken Cauliflower Bake / Casserole

  1. Eugenia
    February 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm (3 years ago)

    We had this tonight, using your recipe, thanks. It was pretty good.

    • Stormy
      February 25, 2012 at 11:01 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Eugenia, Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked it. If you tweak the recipe at all, I’d love to hear how. Cheers!

  2. Alex
    February 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I think I’d have to crack open a fresh package of bacon for this–but it looks like it would be worth the ‘trouble’!

    • Stormy
      February 26, 2012 at 8:07 am (3 years ago)

      I think so, Alex. But, then again, I’m biased. Just make some bacon for breakfast this morning and save the rest for later. Then, it’s no trouble at all.

    • Stormy
      February 28, 2012 at 8:28 am (3 years ago)

      Blast off, GiGi! I hope you like it!

  3. Theresa
    April 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Awesome recipe! I eat low carb, so I added some cream and a little bit of cream cheese to give it a creamy consistency… it came out soooo delicious! I was out of bacon, but I can’t wait to try it again with bacon. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Stormy
      April 9, 2012 at 5:18 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Theresa,
      I’m so glad you liked it – thanks for letting me know! The cream would definitely make it richer. If dairy didn’t do me in, I’d be all over it. : )

      • Lis
        June 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm (2 years ago)

        I use half a can of coconut milk instead of dairy .. this is great creamy!

        • Maoomba
          June 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

          Hi Lis – coconut milk would work perfectly in this. I’m glad you enjoyed it that way. Thank you for leaving a comment about it!

  4. Erin - No Love More Sincere
    May 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm (3 years ago)

    LOVED this! Was a great way to use up a cauliflower on the edge and some leftover rotisserie chicken. I made a few adjustments and it was wonderful:
    – used a can of chopped tomatoes as I didn’t have fresh (plus they’re not in season yet)
    – used 1T of pureed chipotles in adobo rather than chipotle powder
    – added 1.5 cups of non-fat Greek yogurt to bump up the protein & creaminess

    Can’t wait to use this as a base for other flavors! I’m thinking a curry sauce or tikki masala for an Indian flair.

    • Stormy Sweitzer
      June 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you, Erin! I appreciate you coming by to let me know that you liked it and how you adapted it! Canned maters work, as do chipotles in adobo (some brands use wheat, so it’s good to check the labels). I bet the yogurt was great! So glad you enjoyed it and now you have me thinking about different flavor combinations : )

  5. Caroline
    October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm (2 years ago)

    Woo hoo, methinks I just found a recipe for all the left-over turkey from Canadian Thanksgiving. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Mary
    January 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm (11 months ago)

    This was a go to for me when I doing strict paleo. Have been ranting about it to my roommates for months and I am finally making it again tonight. I think I might try the coconut milk to bump up the creaminess. Love all the suggestions in the comments. Love this dish! Also, I usually pulse the cauliflower in the food processor to make it more like rice, and the love the texture it gives to the dish. I had a huge issue with cauliflower for a long time, and the cauliflower “rice” has really helped me expand my horizons! :)

    • Maoomba
      January 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm (11 months ago)

      Wow, Mary! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, and even more glad that you continue to make and returned to let me know. I say, modify away…there is rarely a recipe that cannot be improved upon to better suit your personal taste, texture, and ingredient preferences. Bon apetit!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *

Rate this recipe: