Creamy Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin – Cheesy and creamy cauliflower gratin that’s so easy to prepare and makes for one delicious Holiday side dish recipe!
I’m ready to start a movement, my friends. One that will include all-the-cauliflower all-the-time.
It ain’t no lie – this girl loves her cauliflower. But not raw. Is that wrong? I mean, it’s cool if it’s raw as long as I can dip it in lots of ranch, you know? You probably agree and do the same… amiright?
Also, if there was ever a time to swan dive into a skillet… I think that would be NOW. Don’t that look so purrrrdy? It’s almost as good as Thursday nights on a college campus. Honestly, it’s THAT good.
But this is also how we do Christmas side dishes: it has to be easy, it has to be waaaay delicious, it has to be creamy, and it’s GOT to be vegetarian. My Mama takes care of the meats. Unlesssss I pop in with this Balsamic Pot Roast…
There’s just something about drenching healthy veggies in cheese sauce. It feels like it shouldn’t be done and you should enjoy your veggies in their raw state, but it’s Christmas and those rules do not apply, for now. Ok, maybe a bit. Like how I didn’t use heavy cream to make the creamy sauce in here.
What I’m going to have you do is take about 1/4 cup half & half and the rest will be 2% milk. To thicken the sauce, we will also use couple tablespoons of butter together with flour to make the roux.
In the meantime, you’ll prepare the cauliflower by boiling the florets in salted water for about 5 minutes.
After draining the cauliflower, you’ll transfer them to a baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over the florets, and then pop it all in the oven for about 20-ish minutes, until hot and BUBBLY.
Can I also ask you to go on a search for Manchego cheese? Gruyere will do! Buuuut, if you can find some Manchego?! Girrrrl! Git’it! ☺
VERY IMPORTANT: Make this ahead of time! Prepare the cheese sauce and the cauliflower; put it all in a baking dish and refrigerate over night. When ready, bring it to room temperature, then bake it.
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TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS RECIPE
Creamy Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin
FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1-2 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 3/4 cup finely shredded Manchego Cheese or Gouda Cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon or to taste chili powder
- pinch of ground nutmeg
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
- 2 pound head of cauliflower cut into florets
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion diced
- Spanish paprika (optional)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.
- Add the flour and whisk over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
- Add the milk and the half-and-half; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and whisk in the cheese.
- Whisk in the thyme, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, chili powder, and nutmeg; set aside and keep warm.
- In a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil.
- Add the cauliflower florest; cover and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.
- Drain the cauliflower in a colander.
- Melt remaining butter in a skillet.
- Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Add the prepared cauliflower florets to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a 2 quart baking dish and spread the prepared cheese sauce on top.
- Sprinkle the top with the chopped almonds and paprika; bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.