I have been obsessed lately with trying different #cauliflower recipes. I feel like it’s unavoidable as it seems that cauliflower is now the king of all vegetables. My Pinterest feed if literally filled with cauliflower recipes, from pizza crust (I will be posting my own version of it very soon), to curries, to “general tao” versions and buffalo bites. This is a good thing for me since I absolutely love this vegetable.
I remember growing up my mom would sometimes make a cauliflower “au gratin” casserole, with a rich white sauce and chunks of ham in it. I wanted to kind of reproduce the comfort part of that dish, while making it a lot lighter and healthier. on my first try, I thought that the dish lacked a bit of a kick and was a bit “bland”, so I added a little twist (cayenne pepper and nutmeg) and now we’re talking! All in all a great success in my family as I found myself scraping off the bottom of the pan for seconds. Next time, I’ll definitely make a double batch!
This dish is VERY easy. All you basically have to do is cut the cauliflower in florets and then steam them in a basket (or boil them if you don’t have one) for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. Then, whisk in all the other ingredients except the cheese until it thickens, about 5 minutes, and fold in the parmesan cheese.
Toss in the steamed cauliflower florets and put in a casserole dish, lined with parchment paper.
Bake covered at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Remove the aluminium foil, sprinkle the shredded cheddar on top and broil it for about 5 minutes at the end to get that crusty cheesy deliciousness!
I like to serve this dish as a side to my Easiest melt-in-your-mouth braised beef, but I think it could definitely stand on its own. You could do like my mom did and add chunks of ham or about a pound of browned sausage meat in your recipe to make it a full meal. If you’d like to try this version, simply integrate the meat in the sauce when incorporating the steamed cauliflower florets and follow the rest of the recipe. Please tell me how it turned out!
Cheesy, healthy cauliflower casserole
Comfort food with a twist! Delicious on its own or as a side dish.
- – 1 medium head of cauliflower (, cut into florets)
- – 1 egg
- – 1 garlic clove (, finely chopped)
- – 1 very small onion finely chopped
- – 1 and 1/2 cup low fat milk
- – 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- – 2 tablespoons flour
- – 1 tsp salt
- – 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- – ½ tsp of cayenne pepper ((optional))
- – 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- – ¾ cup of finely grated fresh parmesan
- – ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese for topping
- Preheat oven to 400F. Cook the cauliflower florets in a steam basket for 10 minutes (or boil them for 10 minutes if you don’t have a steam basket)*. Drain and put aside.
- In a saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil a few minutes (make sure it does not get brown), add milk, flour, egg, nutmeg, cayenne pepper (if desired), salt and pepper.
- Whisk until a smooth creamy sauce is formed, it should only take a about 5 minutes. Add ¾ cup of parmesan and mix well. Toss in the cooked cauliflower florets and coat them well with this sauce.
- Transfer it into a baking dish (I like to line mine with some parchment paper to avoid long scrubbing jobs), cover with a lid or a sheet of foil, and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes, covered.
- Remove the dish from the oven, spread the shredded cheddar on top and broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and gets golden.