Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread - The Nourishing Gourmet

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread is a delicious pizza alternative, and makes a perfect main dish for a simple weeknight dinner or appetizer for your next party (football, anyone?).

The first time I saw a pull apart bread recipe, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Tell me I’m not the only one it happens to? Week after week, I’d sketch out my weekly meal plan and think, “I really need to make that bread.” When I finally did, we were hooked.

This stuff is crazy good, you guys – how could it not be? A “blooming” sourdough boule stuffed with Italian sausage from our local farmer, garlic, onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms, with a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses to top it all off!

Oh, and did I mention you first brush the entire loaf with garlic butter? Yesss.

One big comforting bread bowl of cheesy Italian goodness.

To serve, I just placed it on a cutting board with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping, then added a large salad with our favorite Greek dressing, and dinner was done!

Cheesy pull apart bread made with sourdough, Italian sausage, veggies, and two cheeses -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Pull apart recipes can be made with nearly any type of bread, but I found that the crispy outside and airy inside of the sourdough was pure perfection – the porous interior soaked up the garlic butter beautifully, while the firm crust held up to the hearty Italian sausage, mushrooms, and mozzarella stuffing.

Speaking of the stuffing, I think next time, I’ll cook up a double batch of the sausage-veggie mixture and freeze it for another night. This recipe is definitely easy, but omitting the stove-top step would shave 15-20 minutes off the time. And I’m always up for saving time in the kitchen!

And a tip for serving – Once it finished baking, I used a sharp knife to retrace the horizontal and vertical slits in the bread, then used tongs to loosen each piece of bread a little. This made it much easier to pull each piece out for dipping.

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread with marinara sauce for dipping -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Have you made pull apart bread before? What flavors did you use?

I’m already planning which variation I’ll try next – Cheddar and chive? Bacon and Swiss? Ham and Gruyere?

Really, I don’t see how any of those could be less than awesome.

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread

Use homemade sourdough, or buy it from a favorite local bakery! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp pastured ghee
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 links (about a pound) pastured Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese + 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large sourdough boule
  • 6 Tbsp pastured butter, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread
 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp pastured ghee
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 links (about a pound) pastured Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese + 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large sourdough boule
  • 6 Tbsp pastured butter, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat ghee and add garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies soften.
  2. Add dried oregano and Italian sausage to the pan, using a wooden spoon to break into small crumbles as it browns.
  3. When sausage has browned, add mushrooms and continue cooking until softened. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Fold in about ⅓ of the cheese mixture remove from heat to cool.
  5. Place the sourdough boule on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut horizontal slits about an inch apart, all the way across the boule. These should go almost all the way down to the bottom crust.
  6. Repeat going the other direction - make vertical slits about an inch apart, all the way across the boule. You'll need to use the stabliizing hand to firmly hold the already-cut sections together.
  7. Stir the garlic powder and melted butter together, then use a pastry brush to brush it down into each horizontal and vertical slit in the bread. This will take a few minutes but it's worth it!
  8. Once the bread has been cut and buttered, use clean hands (my preference) or a spoon to distribute the cooled meat-veggie-cheese blend evenly between all the slits. This will cause the sliced bread pieces to spread or "bloom" a bit more, but be sure not to allow the pieces to break apart.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese blend over the top of the bread, pressing some gently into the slits if needed to use it all.
  10. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. (I've been trying to cut back on my use of aluminum foil in the oven but, for less browning, wrap the loaf in foil before placing in the oven).
  11. To serve, I like to use a sharp knife to retrace the rows and columns of slits, then use tongs to transfer the cheesy bread pieces to plates.
  12. Serve with marinara for dipping.

Check out these other easy and comforting dinner recipes!

White Bean and Polish Sausage Stew with Greens

White Bean and Polish Sausage Stew with Greens-www.thenourishinggourmet.com

By Katie Mae, From Nourishing Simplicity

Fresh juicy tomatoes, white beans, nourishing chicken broth, and slices of savory sausage are the foundation of this hearty stew. It is the perfect meal that ushers summer into fall.

My counter tops are covered in tomatoes straight from the garden. It is wonderful to enjoy them raw but when there is an overabundance they are just begging to be made into a warm dish.

Warm days are slowly giving way to fall. I love the cool mornings that hold a promise of blustery days to come. As soon as I feel a hint of crispness in the air my mind turns to nourishing soups and stews.

Simple meals like this white bean and sausage stew with greens is easy to prepare yet filling making it the perfect weeknight meal. Pair it with a slice of crusty sourdough bread spread with garlic butter (or herbed garlic butter) and maybe a side salad and you are good to go!

I love how the most basic ingredients like onions, garlic, salt, and traditional fats can transform a dish. They add wonderful flavor without hurting the pocket book and are the foundations of this stew. I prefer to use homemade chicken broth, fresh tomatoes, and beans that I have soaked and cooked myself but feel free to used canned if that is what works best for you. I try to keep a few jars of broth in the freezer or fridge so that they are ready to use.

White Bean and Polish Sausage Stew with Greens

1 quart chicken broth
3 cups white beans, that have been soaked and cooked
1/2 pound polish sausage, sliced
4 cups spinach, kale, or other greens, roughly chopped (if using kale, remove the stems)
4 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp unrefined salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute until almost translucent for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the sausage and garlic. Cook until the sausage in lightly browned, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the greens. If you are using spinach or another soft green cook for about 1 minute. If you are using kale cook for an additional 10 minutes or until soft.

White Bean and Polish Sausage with Greens
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 cups white beans, that have been soaked and cooked
  • ½ lb polish sausage, sliced
  • 4 cups spinach, kale, or other greens, roughly chopped (if using kale, remove the stems)
  • 4 cups tomatoes, diced
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute until almost translucent for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the sausage and garlic. Cook until the sausage in lightly browned, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the greens. If you are using spinach or another soft green cook for about 1 minute. If you are using kale cook for an additional 10 minutes or until soft.

 

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms -- The Nourishing Gourmet

By April, from AprilSwiger.com

Savory bacon with hearty mushrooms and smooth butternut squash present a nourishing and filling meal for any night of the week. This seasonal delicacy could be a lovely side dish for any fall gathering as well. With about two minutes of preparation the night before, the soaked brown rice becomes an easier-to-digest element of this recipe, although white rice could be used in its place.

I love simple meals, especially when they are nourishing and easy on the budget. This stuffed butternut squash with bacon has a few different elements to it, but is truly a cinch to put together. When the weather begins to turn, butternut squash is a go-to for me. I love the color, sweetness, and heartiness it brings to our cool weather menu. I also think it’s a wonderfully filling addition to any gluten or dairy free lifestyle.

With a little bit of planning, this meal is very easy to put together any night of the week. I know that anything “stuffed” is usually intimidating for me, but don’t let this one scare you off! It’s simplicity at its finest, and the vibrant mixture of flavors will wow most palettes.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. The night before, place your rice in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water, and the ACV. Allow it to soak overnight, or up to 24 hours.

2. Preheat your oven to 400. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until it’s cooked.

3. While the squash is cooking drain and rinse the rice. Add it to a pot with 4 cups of water, and 1 tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer 45-50 minutes until cooked. The rice and squash should be done about the same time.

4. Place the chopped bacon in a skillet and cook on medium-high until almost crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan when done and leave about two tablespoons of bacon grease remaining. Saute the onions until translucent, then add the mushrooms, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir the bacon pieces, and the mushroom mixture, into the rice. When the squash is cooked place the two pieces on a plate, cut-side up, and fill them with the rice mixture. You will have extra rice to serve on the side.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
 
Savory bacon with hearty mushrooms and smooth butternut squash present a nourishing and filling meal for any night of the week. This seasonal delicacy could be a lovely side dish for any fall gathering as well.
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 2 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 7 slices of bacon, chopped
  • ½ chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. The night before, place your rice in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water, and the ACV. Allow it to soak overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until it’s cooked.
  3. While the squash is cooking drain and rinse the rice. Add it to a pot with 4 cups of water, and 1 tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer 45-50 minutes until cooked. The rice and squash should be done about the same time.
  4. Place the chopped bacon in a skillet and cook on medium-high until almost crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan when done and leave about two tablespoons of bacon grease remaining. Saute the onions until translucent, then add the mushrooms, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir the bacon pieces, and the mushroom mixture, into the rice. When the squash is cooked place the two pieces on a plate, cut-side up, and fill them with the rice mixture. You will have extra rice to serve on the side.

 

Garden Vegetable Soup

Healthy Garden Vegetable Soup -- This lovely kid-friendly soup  is the perfect lunch. -- The Nourishing GourmetBy Renee, From Raising Generation Nourished

Sweet, juicy tomatoes, garden fresh green beans, creamy potatoes, and a load of other mineral rich garden vegetables, this garden veggie soup is both nourishing and very family friendly in taste!

We are swimming in fresh garden produce from our household garden and our local farmers! We certainly enjoy much of it fresh, but for the most part when the abundance starts rolling in that means soup time in my house.

Having a good variety of fresh vegetable-based soups is one of my secrets to kids that gladly eat their veggies. Our staple fresh tomato soup, broccoli soup, chicken stew, and this garden vegetable soup are some of our family favorites – and they have become my sanity when it comes to school lunches. For more soup recipes, check out Kimi’s book, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons, and the many soup recipes already on this blog.

Last year was my first year of having one of my girls in full-time school, and we discovered quickly that packing nourishing school lunches was much easier when the nourishing meals from home were made in a big batch to ensure leftovers for the lunchbox.

I got myself some great thermos gear and bone broth loaded soups that she was used to having at home with her sisters for lunch became her take along to school lunch most days of the week.

This is a simple vegetable soup that freezes very well and is very kid friendly in taste. When you cook down those veggies in some beautiful friendly fats amazing flavor shines through.

Take advantage of your own garden abundance or hit the farmer’s markets, local CSA’s, or community gardens this harvest season and let’s stock up some soup for the fall!

Healthy Garden Vegetable Soup -- This lovely kid-friendly soup  is the perfect lunch. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

By the way! This doubles up into a large stockpot very well – toward the end of August when the garden needs to be cleared out and the farmer’s at the markets cut their prices down to move their produce I totally take advantage!

Garden Vegetable Soup

GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 1/3 cup friendly fat to cook in (butter, pastured lard or tallow, coconut oil, leftover pastured bacon grease)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups cut green beans (these were from our garden but frozen organic works fine too)
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 4-5 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (I use frozen organic from Costco)
  • 1 large tomato (This was from the garden but if it is the off season canned/jarred diced tomatoes work)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth (Check out my recipe, and Kimi’s regular recipe, and her “almost free” chicken broth recipe).
  • 1 TB fresh chopped basil or 2 tsp dried basil
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste (generously season if your bone broth was unseasoned)
  1. Melt the friendly fat in a large soup or stockpot and toss in all of the veggies EXCEPT the tomatoes, garlic and basil. Add a big pinch of sea salt to the veg and cook over medium/medium high heat stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or so. This low and slow saute with sea salt will bring out all the juices in the veggies and sweeten them up.
  2. Add the tomato and cook 5 minutes to bring out their juices.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the bone broth and basil, bring to a simmer, and cook at a simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Season to your taste with sea salt and pepper. You can garnish with grated parmesan if you want. To freeze the soup, let it cool to room temp, jar it, and freeze with the lid OFF for at least 24 hours before putting the lid on. This will ensure your jar doesn’t break. You can find BPA free plastic freezer containers as well.

Garden Vegetable Soup
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup friendly fat to cook in (butter, pastured lard or tallow, coconut oil, leftover pastured bacon grease)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups cut green beans (these were from our garden but frozen organic works fine too)
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 4-5 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1½ cups corn (I use frozen organic from Costco)
  • 1 large tomato (This was from the garden but if it is the off season canned/jarred diced tomatoes work)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ quarts chicken broth
  • 1 TB fresh chopped basil or 2 tsp dried basil
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste (generously season if your bone broth was unseasoned)
Instructions
  1. Melt the friendly fat in a large soup or stockpot and toss in all of the veggies EXCEPT the tomatoes, garlic and basil. Add a big pinch of sea salt to the veg and cook over medium/medium high heat stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or so. This low and slow saute with sea salt will bring out all the juices in the veggies and sweeten them up.
  2. Add the tomato and cook 5 minutes to bring out their juices.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the bone broth and basil, bring to a simmer, and cook at a simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Season to your taste with sea salt and pepper. You can garnish with grated parmesan if you want. To freeze the soup, let it cool to room temp, jar it, and freeze with the lid OFF for at least 24 hours before putting the lid on. This will ensure your jar doesn't break. You can find BPA free plastic freezer containers as well.