Cauliflower Au Gratin
Cauliflower au gratin is cauliflower florets cooked in a creamy Gruyère cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and baked to perfection. A simple, yet elegant and delicious side dish! If you’re a fan of cheesy cauliflower, you’ll love this easy, flavorful, crowd-pleasing recipe. This is my absolute favorite way to eat cauliflower!
I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new side dishes to add to my repertoire. It’s easy to come up with the main course, but then my mind blanks when it comes to the side items. For some reason, my brain goes straight to dessert. Ha!
Well today, I’m sharing a new side dish idea that I know you’re going to love, cauliflower au gratin. This easy recipe swaps out the traditional potato with cauliflower that is baked in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with a delicious crunchy breadcrumb topping. If I have to be a grown-up and eat my vegetables like a good girl, I definitely prefer them to be smothered in a creamy, flavorful cheese sauce! Give me a big high five if you agree!
About Cauliflower Au Gratin
This cheesy cauliflower dish is cooked au gratin. You may be more familiar with potatoes cooked au gratin, or scalloped potatoes, which are basically the same thing. What does “gratin” mean? In French, “au gratin” means “by grating.” In traditional French cooking, a gratin is a made in a shallow dish containing potatoes, vegetables, or even seafood, covered with a lightly browned crust of breadcrumbs or cheese.
Au gratin can also mean casserole, or scraping from the pan, and I guarantee you’ll be scraping the pan of this cauliflower gratin for every last delicious morsel.
How Do You Make Cauliflower Au Gratin?
You’ll want to have all the ingredients for making this recipe prepared before you begin cooking it. Chop the cauliflower florets, grate the Gruyère cheese, measure the butter, milk, and flour for the sauce, and mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan for the topping. Get your oven preheating to 350ºF and prepare your baking dish. You’ll want to use a nice shallow glass dish for this recipe because you’ll be serving the gratin right from the dish.
This recipe has a couple of components – the cauliflower, the cheese and the sauce. The first step is to make the sauce with butter, flour and milk. You will then cook the cauliflower florets in the sauce, be careful not to overcook the cauliflower as it will continue to cook in the oven. After about 5 minutes, remove the cauliflower and sauce from the heat and stir in the Gruyère cheese until melted.
Pour the cheesy cauliflower mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish and the final step is to add a sprinkling of Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese before the cauliflower gratin goes into the oven. Bake until golden brown, then serve up your cauliflower gratin and watch the compliments come rolling in!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is considered a superfood because of its nutrient-rich content! It’s low calorie and packed with antioxidants, fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.
Cheesy Cauliflower Variations
- I like the slightly nutty flavor of Gruyère cheese with this cauliflower au gratin, but you could substitute another kind of cheese. Other great options are Swiss cheese, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, fontina or Asiago.
- Cauliflower gratin with bacon or pancetta added would be so tasty, too. Just cut it into 1 inch pieces, cook until done, drain, and add it with the cheese.
- Try experimenting with different spices and herbs. If you love garlic, try adding a bit of garlic powder to the white sauce. Paprika would be a good addition, as well, maybe sprinkled on the top to add a little color.
- Lighten this dish up by using low fat milk to make the white sauce. It won’t be quite as creamy, but you’ll save some calories and fat. If you’re really looking to cut calories, don’t mix any cheese into the white sauce and just sprinkle a half a cup on top of the gratin before baking.
Reheating + Storage Tips
This cheesy cauliflower bake is really best eaten right away. If you do have leftovers, heat them gently in the oven until they’re heated through, or in the microwave. They will keep a couple of days in the fridge.
I love to serve this cauliflower au gratin as a side dish to grilled meats and seafood. Try it alongside these sweet potato salmon cakes for an easy, satisfying meal. This cheesy cauliflower dish is a culinary delight and you’ll never look at cauliflower the same way again! The flavors and textures just can’t be beat!
More Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love
If you try this easy cauliflower gratin recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves them as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Cauliflower au gratin is cauliflower florets cooked in a creamy Gruyère cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and baked to perfection. A simple, yet elegant and delicious side dish! If you're a fan of cheesy cauliflower, you’ll love this easy, flavorful, crowd-pleasing recipe. This is my absolute favorite way to eat cauliflower!
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- optional: chives to garnish over the top after baking
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir the cauliflower into the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook until the cauliflower starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Gruyère cheese until melted.
Pour mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. Combine the panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over top. Cover with foil and bake until cauliflower is tender (can be easily pierced with a knifte), about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden.
Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.
*Bacon or pancetta would be a tasty addition to the gratin. Cook diced bacon or pancetta until crisp, drain well, and stir into the sauce before pouring the cheesy cauliflower mixture into the baking dish.
**This dish is best eaten right away. If you do have leftovers, heat them gently in the oven until they’re heated through, or in the microwave. They will keep a couple of days in the fridge.
Photos by Danielle from Our Salty Kitchen.