This cauliflower dish is cheesy in the best way possible! Think potatoes au gratin or baked macaroni and cheese—this dish has elements of both of those. I think this would make a super comforting dinner paired with a small side salad. (I know it's vegetables under all that cheese, but a few fresh veggies are always good too!) Or this could be an excellent side dish or small casserole to share, depending how you want to serve it.
Years ago I found a set of four of these little oval dishes at a thrift store. I cleaned them thoroughly and have loved baking in them ever since! You could also choose to bake this recipe in a square (8" x 8") baking dish, or 5-6 ramekins. So, if you don't have the exact same dishes as me, you've got options. Don't panic! 🙂
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower, serves 2-3 as a meal.
2-2 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
big pinch of cayenne
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and colby jack)
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Pumpernickel bread)
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
salt + pepper to season
Start by boiling 4-5 cups of water in a large pot. Blanch the chopped cauliflower for 2 minutes, then drain from the hot water. Pat dry. 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 minced garlic over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and big pinch of cayenne. 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 2 cups of the cheese and stir until melted.
For the breadcrumbs I tore two pieces of Pumpernickel bread and combined that with the chopped parsley on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 350°F for 5-6 minutes. Then use a blender or food processor to finely chop into bread crumbs. If you don't have (or don't like) Pumpernickel bread, you can use wheat or any rustic bread with some texture/taste. I don't recommend white bread. It's just sort of bland for this.
Combine the cauliflower and cheese sauce and distribute among your baking dishes (or pour into one bigger pan). Top with the remaining shredded cheese and the bread crumb/parsley mix. Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes until the cheese looks bubbly and thick. You can see how thin it will look before baking in the photo above.
Garnish with a little more parsley and serve while still quite warm. If you like cauliflower, be sure to try this before winter is over as this is such a delicious and comforting dish. Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Emma Chapman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
This looks absolutely delicious!
Ooh this looks so good, making me hungry! I love cauliflower and a cheesy version just sounds so yummy.
alice x | beautybyalicee | bloglovin’
This makes me so hungry looking at it! Cauliflower cheese is my all time favorite meal!
This looks so good Emma! If you leave out the flour and breadcrumbs, you have low carb lover’s heaven. ♥
This looks delicious!
I made this for dinner tonight and it was so good. Thank you!!
Love cheesy cauliflower! Or anything cheesy, for that matter 😉
Or, as we call it in France, a classic gratin de chou-fleur! Your version looks very nice, I always use onions or shallots instead of garlic. Oh, and also, in France we never use breadcrumbs on our baked gratins – be it de pâtes, de légumes or whatever else… It’s always a bit unsettling for me when I see that such a recipe calls for bread, but I guess it all comes down to cultural habits.
Looks wonderful http://www.hannamarielei.com
Wow! I really don’t like cauliflower at all, but this looks amazing! I’m seriously going to try this!
Kristin // The Peculiar Treasure
This sounds so good for a treat side dish! x
OMG I need to try this! I LOVE cauliflower and I love cheese even more! Perfect cpmbo! Thanks a lot for sharing.
YUM! this looks amazing!
Oh, this is one of my faves! My recipe is larger so this individual sized one is perfect.
xx OXANAMUA | Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle
Hi Esther! Homemade breadcrumbs 🙂 -Jacki
What’s the brown stuff over the dish on the last photo?
Would it work with frozen cauli?
I actually love cauliflower, cheese and cayenne, so this is PERFECT! Maybe it will even get the hubby to like cauliflower more! 😉