Cauliflower Au Gratin is a Creamy, Easy, and Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish where roasted Cauliflower is tossed in a creamy cheese sauce and baked until bubbly.
What does au gratin mean in cooking?
Basically, in cooking language, au gratin means something that has been covered in breadcrumbs and shredded cheese and then browned.
This can be done with so many recipes. You can make lentil and mushroom au gratin or potato au gratin or broccoli au gratin or spinach au gratin and etcetera.
To understand this better, you must know that Gratin is a French word which means the crust that is formed on a dish when you brown it in the oven under the broiler.
Potato au gratin is the most common recipe. But, since potatoes are so full of carbs, I thought about trying it with cauliflower.
- Cauliflower Florets
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Cloves of garlic
- All Purpose Flour
- Whole Milk
- Cream Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
See recipe card for quantities.
- Roast Cauliflower
Preheat Oven. Toss washed and rinsed cauliflower florets in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
- Make Cheese Sauce
In a pan, melt some butter. Add freshly minced cloves of garlic. Sauté until fragrant. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Pour milk slowly, and whisk until smooth and creamy. Stir in Cream Cheese, Salt, and Pepper. Finally, stir in cheddar cheese and stir until smooth.
- Toss Roasted Cauliflower with Sauce
Toss cheese sauce over roasted cauliflower. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheesy and bubbly on top.
Hint: You can turn on Broil for 2-minutes and get the top browned.
- Almond Flour or Coconut Flour -To make this Keto and Gluten Free you can use Almond Flour or Coconut Flour instead of regular all purpose flour.
- Almond Milk or Coconut Milk - Instead of whole milk you can use almond milk or coconut milk if you want to make Keto Cauliflower au Gratin.
Giving the visitor ideas on how they can change this recipe to better suit their dinner guests, or their cultural cuisine, is a great way to increase the chances they make the recipe
- Broccoli - If you want you can replace cauliflower with broccoli.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese - Basically, you can add any number of cheese you want. Parmesan, Gruyere, Swiss and etcetera can be used to make this recipe.
- Onion Powder & Garlic Powder - To add in some extra flavor you can add some onion powder and garlic powder while making the sauce.
Store the leftovers in an air tight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the same.
Make sure you allow it to come down to room temperature before you transfer it to the fridge or freezer.
Before serving make sure you reheat it in the oven until cheesy and bubbly.
Make Ahead Cauliflower au Gratin
Yes. This recipe can be made ahead of time. Just like this Vegan Chickpea Meatballs or Quick Chicken Parmesan Gnocchi Bake
All you have to do is follow the recipe as is. Roast the Cauliflower. Prepare the Sauce. And, then allow all of it to cool down completely. Refrigerate.
When ready to serve, pop it in the oven with some cheese and bake until bubbly and browned on top.
- Make sure you use a cauliflower head that is free of brown spots.
- If you are in a hurry you can use a bag of pre-washed and pre-cut cauliflower florets.
- If you are using frozen cauliflower florets then make sure you thaw them out completely. Then drain them and dap them dry with a paper towel before you roast them in the oven.
- If you want to use steamed cauliflower florets then make sure you do not do that for a long time. Drain the liquid. Dap it dry with a paper towel and then roast it in the oven.
- For a crunchy top you can add 1/3 cup of buttery breadcrumbs on top. Just combine breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter and then top your au gratin with this butter breadcrumbs.
- Remove the sauce from heat before stirring in cheese. If you add cheese while making the sauce the cheese separates from the sauce.
- Use homemade shredded sharp cheddar cheese instead of store bought shredded cheese for best texture and flavor.
How to Make Non-Watery Cauliflower au Gratin?
Cauliflower au gratin turns water for most people. But, if you try my recipe, yours won't turn watery. So follow these steps to make sure that your Cauliflower au Gratin is not watery.
- Roast Cauliflower in the oven and they won't turn watery again.
- If using frozen cauliflower, then drain cauliflower and dap it dry with a paper towel.
- Do not overcook cauliflower.
- If you are steaming your cauliflower then make sure you drain it completely and then dap it dry using a paper towel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this recipe uses Heavy Cream?
No, I don't prefer heavy cream while making my Cauliflower au gratin. Though that is what most people use to make a creamy cauliflower au gratin.
I prefer whole milk to make it creamy.
Can I use bacon?
Yes, If you are not making vegetarian cauliflower au gratin then you can definitely add some crispy bacon to your au gratin.
Can I Use Ham?
Yup. Since this is a popular Holiday Side Dish, you can definitely add about 6 ounces of smoked ham that has been diced. During the holiday season most of us have ham in our fridge. And, therefore, it won't be a problem to add ham to this recipe.
Cauliflower au Gratin
to roast cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower washed, rinsed, and cut into large florets (3 pounds)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 stick salted butter
- 3 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 4 cloves garlic freshly minced
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided
- ½ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 degree F or 200 degree C.
- In a sheet pan place cauliflower florets. Toss them with olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place cauliflower florets in a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender.
- While Cauliflower is roasting in the oven, make sauce. Melt some butter in a pan.
- Add freshly minced cloves of garlic and toss until fragrant.
- Whisk in flour and cook until smooth for 1-minute. Pour milk slowly and whisk until the mixture becomes smooth.
- Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy. Stir in cream cheese, freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt, and Dijon Mustard. Whisk until smooth.
- Add ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Whisk until cheese melts.
- Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a 2qt casserole dish. Toss the cheese sauce over cauliflower. Top with the remaining sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until bubbly.Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese turns brown.
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