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White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

Is there anything cauliflower can’t do?

It goes without saying that potato is the king of gratins but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only ingredient you can pair with creamy, cheesy goodness. You can gratinee pretty much any ingredient you can think of and here we’ve done it to the ever-versatile workhorse of a brassica, cauliflower. Now, cauliflower has a reputation these days for being a vegetable you can turn into anything (rice, pizza, mashed potatoes) and that adaptability is probably why it works so well in this bake. It’s mild enough that it plays nice with anything you pair it with and here it’s partnered with crispy bacon, sharp white cheddar, and a topping of buttery breadcrumbs. Let’s just say it’s a delicious way to eat your veggies.

First, you’ll steam your cauliflower and cook your bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Be careful not to overcook your cauliflower – it will cook more in the oven and you don’t want it to turn to mush.

Then you’ll make a bechamel sauce by whisking together butter, flour, and milk, and then stirring in plenty of white cheddar and a bit of nutmeg.

You pour that allllll over the cauliflower…

… and then stir it all together.

Some parmesan and panko breadcrumbs go on top and it heads into the oven until it’s golden brown and deliciously bubbly.

This isn’t the light and healthy side that you maybe think of when you think of cauliflower, but that just goes to show just how much cauliflower can do. When you’re looking for a side that’s a little bit more indulgent, this is the way to go – it’s a creamy, cheesy, crunchy bake that everyone is bound to love.

Serves 6

20m prep time

35m cook time

Rated 4.4 out of 5
Rated by 17 reviewers

Allergens: Milk, Gluten

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 3 lbs)
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 2 qt baking dish with butter or nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Steam or boil cauliflower until just tender, but still firm, about 5 minutes. Drain well and place in baking dish.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain and sprinkle over the cauliflower.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  5. Gradually whisk in milk and continue whisking until mixture starts to bubble and has thickened. Remove from heat, stir in nutmeg, and cheddar cheese until melted, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and stir to combine, if desired.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese. Stir together breadcrumbs and melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top.
  8. Bake until top is golden brown and cheese sauce is bubbly, 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.

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