Cauliflower au Gratin

Cauliflower au Gratin

Cauliflower au Gratin: Can Cauliflower get any better? Easy dish for a holiday dinner to dress up a pork chop or ham meal

So I always wonder how the winter is going for everyone – we’re going to be up to 58 tomorrow but I’m bummed because it’s supposed to rain. But it was supposed to snow, so we’re lucky for this heat wave. Then down to 15 degrees by the end of the week.

Cauliflower au Gratin
Cauliflower au Gratin – simple enough and oh so scrumptious!

Here’s a cozy little side casserole that’s perfect comfort food if you’re facing that scary snow thing coming up. It would be great as a side for ham or maybe pork chops. We had it at Thanksgiving and it was a hit at dinner.

Everyone loved it even though I overcooked the cauliflower, so be sure to remove it from the water while it’s only just cooked through and not soft already. This is a dish that’s pretty riffable. How about a little bacon or ham in and on this? And you couldn’t go wrong with more cheese! Maybe you’d like to double the recipe and bake it in a huge pan.

We’re paying through the nose, it seems, for cauliflower these days. When something gets popular and demand increases, the cost often rises. And cauliflower has been so popular, lately. Boy, I wouldn’t have predicted that 20 years ago! Anyway, if you have an Aldi, you’ll find it at the best price there. If cauliflower is on sale, be sure to figure out if the cost is by the head and buy the largest. If priced by the pound, weigh it on a scale so there won’t be a huge surprise at the checkout.

Cauliflower au Gratin
Cauliflower au Gratin; this was a hit at Thanksgiving with our ham.

Cauliflower au Gratin

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 head cauliflower, in small bite sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon thyme, use most in the sauce but sprinkle a bit on top
  • salt and pepper to taste (suggest 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
  • 3/4 cup good quality Cheddar, white or standard plus a two or three tablespoons to top the casserole, if desired.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook cauliflower until just barely tender, about four minutes. Drain thoroughly and place into a medium-sized casserole.

Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk a minute or two until flour starts to look a little dry but hasn’t picked up any color. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and stir until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and not fill in the line when a finger is run across it.

Remove from heat and add cheese, in small handfuls, stirring after each until incorporated. Add most of the thyme, salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, using a spoon to nudge between florets, if necessary, so all are coated. If desired, top with a little additional cheese and sprinkle the top with a pinch of the thyme.

Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned in spots.

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I’ll be posting this recipe at Fiesta Friday 200. Be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite recipes on Tuesday!

34 thoughts on “Cauliflower au Gratin”

  1. 15 degrees!! I can’t even! You are intrepid Mollie! And–this dish looks amazing! All I have to pick up is the cauliflower– not fancy ingredients. And we ALMOST have an Aldi– They’ve been building on it for months and months. But now the sign is up on the wall, it can’t be to much longer!! OK, love the dish, love you!! xox

  2. Love this recipe Mollie and it could be a contender for my first vegetarian Christmas Day lunch. Luckily I’ve found cauliflowers to be great value all year here in Sydney – I always buy them with the leaves in intact as they taste delicious slow roasted 😄

  3. It’s the off season for cauliflower just like it is for so many veggies. Can’t wait for those “huge” heads of Michigan cauliflower next summer when the locals are growing their own. Cauliflower and cheese – always yes 🙂

    1. Cauliflower & Cheese – a match made in heaven! But off season doesn’t really explain the price…Cauliflower has always been one of those veggies that was pretty cheap all year long. I did some checking and it seems that the demand is actually a little lower for cauliflower right now and areas of Texas and Arizona are holding back harvests. Anyway, I still love it! And yes, I miss the summer markets!

  4. I am so glad that I am not the only one waiting to see if the cauliflower prices drop. It is crazy. But your au gratin looks so comforting and yummy that I want to make it soon 🙂

  5. I actually bought a cauliflower yesterday while grocery shopping I was not sure what to do with it, so this looks ideal. Kind of the same method I used to make homemade mac and cheese so I’m sure it’s going to taste delicious. Thanks for the inspiration and another great recipe. This would actually be really good with your Italian stuffed meatloaf from an earlier post. I think I might try and make them together. I’ll report back.

      1. I’ve seen posts from a few who have. It’s intriguing, and I must say it’s probably faster to make than mixing up a yeast dough from scratch. I may try it one day….

    1. We have similar issues with price here too. Especially in comparison with the potatoes or rice. But when I can afford to get it, both broccoli and cauliflower are favourites in our house.

      1. K.R. from another foodie blogger is so right – both cauliflower and broccoli used be be super cheap, here. Cabbage, too. Now the prices have risen so much due to popularity. They’re all so good for you, the cruciferous veggies!

  6. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s realized how expensive cauliflower has gotten. It used to be a cheapo veggie that nobody wanted! My jaw about hit the floor when I bought a head of it a couple of weeks ago, and it cost almost five bucks!!! 😮 However, I do love cauliflower and cheese together, I make a version with a mushroom cheese sauce with a wee bit of mustard to pour over it. This looks simple and quite delicious!

    1. I know it is CRAZY!! The head I got at Aldi was very reasonable (I know that doesn’t help you, though, sorry!) but I was just getting ready to put cauliflower in my cart at HyVee when I noticed it was $4.99!!!

      I’d love to see yours with the mushroom cream sauce!! Sounds wonderful!

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