Cauliflower Au Gratin 

Now here’s a very classic holiday side dish for you. First off, it comes in a casserole dish. Which growing up I’d say about 90% of the holiday dishes my family served (and still serves) came in a casserole dish. Is that a Midwest thing or an everywhere thing?

Second, this dish embodies what I tend to think of as holiday food. The basic premise is it’s vegetables dressed up in butter, milk, and mostly importantly, CHEESE. If you read this blog much, you know that most of the time I try to eat my vegetables without having to douse them in that delicious trifecta. But for holidays, all the rules take the day off too. 🙂

Also, as you can tell by the name, this is a spin on the classic dish: Potatoes Au Gratin. It’s also pretty similar to my favorited baked macaroni and cheese recipe, but instead of pasta being the main ingredient, it’s cauliflower. So if you like potatoes au gratin or mac and cheese, then you will likely love this dish.

Cauliflower Au Gratin, serves 6-8

3 heads of cauliflower
1/2 small white onion
6 coves of garlic
14 oz. of shredded cheese, divided
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
2 cup vegetable stock
5 pieces of bread, I used rye

Chop up the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, removing the stem and leaves as you do. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Toast the bread and then finely chop or pulse in a food processor until you have bread crumbs, set aside.

Boil 5-6 cups of water in a large pot. Blanch the chopped cauliflower for 2 minutes, then drain from the hot water. If you like your cauliflower on the softer side, you can blanch for a minute or two longer. But please note, we will also be baking it in the cheese sauce for about 20 minutes. So don’t blanch for too long or you may end up with mush.

In a medium pot, melt the butter with the onion and garlic over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and salt and pepper. This will create a paste (often called roux). Slowly add the vegetable stock while continuing to whisk to create a thinner paste. Then pour in all the milk in a slow, steady stream as you whisk so the paste combines well with the milk. Now add in 10 oz. of the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Add the cauliflower to a rectangle casserole dish (9×13 inches or close to around that size). Pour the cheese mixture over the cauliflower and top with the remaining 4 oz. of cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.

Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes until the edges begin to bubble. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. If you want to dress this up a little, add a sprinkle of fresh herbs or chives to the top.

Notes: You can use any kind of bread crumbs you prefer, but I love something with a little flavor here, so I recommend rye or something else fun like a few everything bagels.

You can use any kind of cheese. I like to use a mix of pepper jack and cheddar just to give it a bit of spice.

If you are feeding less, I shared a similar version of this here. Enjoy! xo. Emma

4 from 1 vote
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Cauliflower Au Gratin

Ingredients

  • 3 heads of cauliflower
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 6 coves of garlic
  • 14 oz. of shredded cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cup vegetable stock
  • 5 pieces of bread I used rye

Instructions

  1. Chop up the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, removing the stem and leaves as you do. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Toast the bread and then finely chop or pulse in a food processor until you have bread crumbs, set aside.

  2. Boil 5-6 cups of water in a large pot. Blanch the chopped cauliflower for 2 minutes, then drain from the hot water. If you like your cauliflower on the softer side, you can blanch for a minute or two longer. But please note, we will also be baking it in the cheese sauce for about 20 minutes. So don’t blanch for too long or you may end up with mush.
  3. In a medium pot, melt the butter with the onion and garlic over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and salt and pepper. This will create a paste (often called roux). Slowly add the vegetable stock while continuing to whisk to create a thinner paste. Then pour in all the milk in a slow steady stream as you whisk so the paste combines well with the milk. Now add in 10 oz. of the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

  4. Add the cauliflower to a rectangle casserole dish (9×13 inches or close to around that size). Pour the cheese mixture over the cauliflower and top with the remaining 4 oz. of cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes until the edges begin to bubble. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. If you want to dress this up a little, add a sprinkle of fresh herbs or chives to the top.

Recipe Notes

You can use any kind of bread crumbs you prefer, but I love something with a little flavor here, so I recommend rye or something else fun like a few everything bagels.

You can also use any kind of cheese, but I like a mix of pepper jack and cheddar.

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Elise Randolph. Photos edited with ACS for Desktop.
    • It probably is a little lower carbs than if you were to use potatoes instead of cauliflower, but still a very decadent dish with all the butter cheese.

      🙂

  • You can never have enough veggie choices on Thanksgiving! I will be giving this a try, The only difference I plan on doing is to roast my cauliflower in the oven. Not blanch it. I think it may add a depth of flavor. Also, a little smoked gouda in with the cheese.
    Thank you
    Happy Thanksgiving

  • Oh goodness, this looks good! Personally, I am a big cauliflower fan but my boyfriend is kind of a baby about it. I want to believe that enough cheese will trick him into eating it 😉

    Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think I read what sort of cheese you used in this recipe. The picture sort of looks like a cheddar/jack blend, is that correct?

  • Casseroles are totally a thing – in the south, we pretty much have casseroles, cold or hot salads e.g. pasta salads, and bean pots. When you have a get together you are usually expected to bring a “dish” and that dish is usually a casserole dish. Then the lucky host gets to wash and return all the *hopefully* labeled wares!

  • This sounds and looks SO delicious! I love all of your recipes, but unfortunately I’ve recently had to go gluten-free, so I think it’s a no-go for now. Do you have any ideas on how to make this gluten-free? And would you ever considering starting a section for gluten-free recipes? Thank you, I love you guys!