Cheesy Baked Cauliflower

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

Side Dish | October 29, 2017 | By

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower bites baked in a creamy cheesy sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of a veggie.

Here we go again. Cheesy this. Three Cheese that. Some may say I’m cheese obsessed. They’re right. But never underestimate the power of cheese, even when ~especially when ~ it’s added to a vegetable. Enter, Cheesy Baked Cauliflower.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

Cauliflower is a lot like chicken because not only can you bake it, fry it, grill it or in this case, cheesify it, it takes on whatever flavor you want it to without argument.  Cheesy Baked Cauliflower happens to be the perfect side dish to steak, chicken or pretty much anything especially the upcoming Thanksgiving turkey.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower will win over even the pickiest, non-veggie eater and if you thought it resembled  Au Gratin Potatoes, you’re not alone. I had the same thought and my husband even asked what kind of potatoes they were. I almost hated to admit it was cauliflower. 

For the record, I have to say he made a face that said he’d been duped, but how did he miss that giant head of cauliflower on the counter earlier in the day?! Hmmmph. That said, we polished off the entire dish.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

In these parts, our furnace has been on full time for a weeks now and we’ve switched gears into comfort food mode, brought out our cozy sweaters, added gravy to meat and because it’s getting dark just after 7:30, I have no shame saying weeknights find me in my pj’s around that time too. Don’t judge. 

Since we’re setting the record straight, I’ll admit I only started cooking heads of cauliflower fairly recently. I used to buy the mixed fresh bag ~ cauliflower, broccoli and carrots because I didn’t know how to cut or cook that big lug of a vegetable. You too?

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

Thankfully there’s Google to the rescue. It’s super simple and if I can do it, you can too. Here’s how: 

http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/03/how-to-buy-store-cut-cauliflower-into-florets.html

I also found it’s better to wash the cauliflower after cutting it because of all its nooks and crannies. When it’s in smaller pieces it’s easier to get into them.

Cauliflower is really delicious just roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I love how the edges get crispy brown, but because the holidays are coming, I’m ramping things up a bit.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1  cup smoked gouda, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and ‘butter’ a baking dish.

This part is important ~ see those browned parts around the edges? They’re sooo good, but hands off ~ it’s my favorite part. Butter your dish and your brown bits won’t stick to the dish.   

Cut the cauliflower (see video in body of post) into bite-size florets. Wash wash it and cook in a large pot of water generously seasoned with salt 8-10 minutes or just until fork-tender.

Tip: Cheese you grate yourself melts better because there’s nothing added to it like pre-shredded/bagged cheeses. If you have time, I recommend grating it.

In a large bowl blend together the cream cheese, heavy cream, grated garlic, 1 cup of cheddar and ¾ cup of smoked Gouda. Combine the remaining shredded cheese separately to top the Cheesy Baked Cauliflower. The smoked gouda adds a nice, light smoky flavor and balances the sharpness of the cheddar really well.

When the cauliflower is finished cooking, drain it completely then fold it into the cheese mixture.

 Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

Tip: I used the side of my spoon to break up the cauliflower so some pieces are almost mashed.

 cauli 8

Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary then transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees 25-30 minutes or until it’s golden and bubbly on top.

 Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

Ridiculously good, 100% comfort. Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower ~ tender cauliflower baked in a creamy cheese sauce. All the decadence of mac and cheese, with the health benefits of veggies.

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Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 1   cup smoked gouda grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and ‘butter’ a baking dish. Cut the cauliflower (see video in body of post) then wash and cook it in a large pot of water generously seasoned with salt 8-10 minutes or just until fork-tender.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the cream cheese, heavy cream, grated garlic, 1 cup of cheddar and ¾ cup of smoked Gouda.
  3. Combine the remaining shredded cheese separately to top the cauliflower with.
  4. When the cauliflower is finished cooking, drain it completely then fold it into the cheese mixture.
  5. TIP: Use the side of your spoon to break up the cauliflower further.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary then transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Mary
    November 16, 2017

    This recipe sounds so delicious and easy, as your recipes tend to be! Pinned. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day, my friend. Chat again soon!

    • Leave a Reply

      Bernie
      November 18, 2017

      Hey friend – you know we’re all about cheesy comfort around here and this recipe has both. Enjoy the day!

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