This Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin makes a fantastic delicious creamy side dish for just about any occasion. Fresh Cauliflower florets are covered with Gruyere and Cheddar Cheese, garlic, butter and spices, then roasted to creamy, bubbly perfection in your oven. We love to make this for Thanksgiving but it’s great any time of year!
Why You Will Love Cauliflower Au Gratin
- EASY – With just a few common pantry staples for ingredients and a couple minutes of prep, this delicious dish will be baking in your oven!
- VEGETARIAN – This is a great vegetarian side dish for those who don’t eat meat. And it can easily be made gluten-free!
- DELICIOUS – That tender cauliflower swimming in that rich, creamy cheesy sauce is something you’ve just gotta taste to believe.
How To Make Cauliflower Au Gratin
These sorts of recipes just scream comfort food to me. I love looking at this list of ingredients. Everything is simple, straightforward and you probably already have most of these in your kitchen. Here is what you’ll need to get started.
- CAULIFLOWER – One large head should do the trick. You’ll cut them into florets. If you are short on time (or just feeling a bit lazy) and easy shortcut is to buy prepackaged cauliflower at the store that has already been chopped and washed for you. We will boil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes in a large pot until it is par cooked. Can you use frozen cauliflower for this recipe? Yes, you can in a pinch, but your results will be much more “mushy”. It will still taste great, just a lot softer.
- BUTTER – We suggest unsalted butter. If you use salted, you may want to back off adding the salt later in the recipe.
- FLOUR – This will be making our roux for the bechamel sauce. If you want this recipe to be gluten free, all you’ll need to do is sub this for Gluten-Free Flour.
- GARLIC – Fresh garlic, minced. You’ll be sauteing this with the butter in a medium saucepan. The aroma will be amazing. Your welcome.
- MILK – Any milk should do the trick. We use 2% but you can go either way: shave some calories with low fat/skim milk or dial it up with half and half.
- GRUYERE – For sure, this cheese really makes this casserole hum. It’s nice and soft and slightly sweet and melts perfectly into the dish. But, if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, you can substitute for Swiss Cheese or even Provolone. Although you will get a much milder result.
- CHEDDAR CHEESE – A great balance with the Gruyere. More cheese please!
- SALT AND PEPPER – To taste.
- NUTMEG – Just a little nutmeg is perfect in this dish, especially during the holidays. But if you want to leave it out, you can. Or you can substitute for paprika.
- ONION – One small chopped onion to saute with the butter and garlic. This will add some flavor and texture.
What Does Au Gratin Mean? Do We Need Breadcrumbs?
Everyone has heard of Potatoes Au Gratin, right? Often times, anything baked “Au Gratin” is topped with bread crumbs. But that isn’t always the case. Au Gratin just means it’s roasted with lots of cheese, or breadcrumbs or both. Right now, we are on an anti-gluten kick, so we left the breadcrumbs off. But, if you really want that trademark crispy Au Gratin Topping, no problem! Just sprinkle about 1/4 a cup on top right before you put them in the oven. Regular breadcrumbs or Panko Breadcrumbs will work. You can also top with crushed Ritz Crackers, Crushed Pretzels, Potato Chips or Dry Stuffing Mix.
Storage and Freezing
Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Reheat gently in an oven. Or use a microwave if you must. They should be good in your fridge for up to 3 days.
I would not freeze this recipe. Cauliflower just doesn’t hold up well after being frozen.
Other Notes, Tips and Variations
- ADD BACON- Yep! Add some bacon to this recipe! I’d cook the bacon first until it just starts to get done. Cut it into small pieces and mix it in with the cheese sauce.
- MAKE SURE YOU GREASE YOUR PAN- This is very important!
- A NOTE ON THE BAKING DISH I USED- From the pics, you’ll see that I used a Le Creuset Oval shaped baking dish. I did this mainly for photography reasons. This recipe works fine in a 9X9 inch dish.
- EXPERIMENT WITH CHEESE- Ha! That sounds like the name of a jam band from the 90’s. But, seriously, mix and match cheeses that you like. Pepper Jack for a little heat. Parmesan Cheese on top… You really can’t go wrong with this recipe when it comes to the cheese!
- WHY IS MY CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN TO WATERY? – This is probably because you didn’t rinse it well enough after boiling it. You may even want to pat it with a paper towel to make sure you’re not transferring too much moisture. You may have also overcooked the cauliflower when boiling as well.
What To Serve With Cauliflower Au Gratin
But it’s a great vegetable casserole dish to use as a side dish for anything, such as this Sheet Pan Salmon.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Cauliflower Au Gratin. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you in the comments section.
LOOKING FOR MORE SIDE DISHES? CHECK OUT:
- ARKANSAS GREEN BEANS
- ROASTED CAJUN POTATOES
- SWEET POTATO BITES
- ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND SWEET POTATOES
- BACON WRAPPED GREEN BEANS WITH MAPLE GLAZE
- OVEN ROASTED GREEN BEANS
Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin
- 1 large head of Cauliflower cut into large florets
- 2 tbsp of Butter
- 2.5 tbsp of Flour
- 1 1/2 cup of Milk
- 1/2 cup of Gruyere
- 2/3 cup of Cheddar Cheese
- 1 clove minced Garlic
- 1/2 tsp of Pepper
- 1/4 tsp of Nutmeg
- 1 tsp of Salt or more to taste
- 1 small chopped onion
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut Cauliflower into large Florets and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove cauliflower from water. Drain and put on paper towel to dry and cool.
- While Cauliflower is cooking, melt butter in medium sized saucepan and add diced onions. Stir frequently until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Toss in minced garlic and let cook for about 1 minute.
- Add flour and stir to combine, let this mixture cook for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and continue to stir frequently until mixture starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat and add all the cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until fully melted.
- Coat 9X9 baking dish with butter. Add half of the cauliflower in the bottom. Pour half the cheese mixture on top. Add the other half of cauliflower and then rest of cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Top should start to get golden and cheese should be bubbling. Garnish with Parsley.