Cauliflower au gratin is a casserole that is easy to load up with delicious bacon, sour cream and cheeses and makes a delicious nontraditional side dish for Thanksgiving and other holiday menus. Creamy cauliflower is the star of the show but you can also add lobster, crab, mahi mahi or even favorites like cooked chicken for a full meal.
Cauliflower Au Gratin Recipe
Cauliflower au gratin is a fresh and healthier take on potatoes au gratin. While the milk and light bread crumb topping doesn’t make it completely keto friendly, its easy to alter those things to get to that point if you like. This cauliflower casserole has a creamy texture, much like steakhouse mashed potatoes, and is a simple and delicious alternative to roasted or steamed cauliflower.
- cauliflower, steamed/cooked – before you get started on this cauliflower gratin casserole, you need to cook your cauliflower. I like mine steamed and it takes about 10 minutes to properly steam. If you don’t have a steamer, you should and many rice cookers have a steamer for heads of casserole or green beans.
- butter – I think real butter has the best flavor. Do not add margarine here unless you want to alter the taste
- milk – you can easily substitute the milk for heaving whipping cream, which will give you a richer flavor
- half and half
- grated Parmesan cheese – I like freshly grated Parmesan cheese myself
- cayenne pepper
- bread crumbs – I recommend Panko bread crumbs, they taste the best. If you want to remove the bread crumbs, it sorta takes it away from the “au gratin” category, but if you add a nice layer of Parmesan cheese on top, it can still give you that crispy taste
- Parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley (optional) – lets face it, cauliflower can often look like a boring dish, so adding a few fresh herbs spices up the look if you are adding to a Thanksgiving table. Its not necessary for taste.
Loaded Cauliflower Au Gratin
This cauliflower side dish is so easy to load up. Add delicious types of cheeses (I like Cheddar on my cauliflower personally), bacon bits, fresh cuts of crunchy bacon, chives or bites of freshly chopped green onions. Its also delicious to add a doll-up of sour cream right on top.
To make you simply prep your cauliflower and your sauce and mix, add your toppings and place in oven. Its a super simple and easy cauliflower recipe.
How to prepare your Cauliflower
This recipe relies on already cooked and ready to go cauliflower. There are many ways to prep cauliflower heads prior to adding into a casserole. You can pre-roast your cauliflower to give it a really robust taste, rice it out, puree your cauliflower, or steam your cauliflower like I did here in this recipe.
- Steamer – Here is a great 2 tier steamer that will help you keep your veggies delicious for recipes like this and my green beans almondine recipe
- Pan steamer – this type of steamer adds a secondary pot to the stove so you can steam veggies right on the stove, very versatile
- Stainless Steel Veggie Steamer – simple steamer for an Instant Pot
Fresh or Frozen Cauliflower
I always prefer FRESH vegetables and its rare I suggest using any canned or frozen veggies, especially in casserole dishes like this. You could use frozen but defrosted cauliflower if you remove all the moisture from the bag if you need to prepare quickly.
Need other cauliflower side dishes?
- Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole – This rice based casserole is filling and delicious with a combination of broccoli, cauliflower and cheese. Just add chicken for a full meal.
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes – Nothing wrong with a bit of mashed potatoes, but this cauliflower mashed is perfect for a great cauliflower side dish that is creamy and delicious
- Keto Cauliflower Casserole – This cauliflower casserole skips the bread and is low carb friendly
This recipe serves 4 and nutritional information is based on 4.
- 1 large head cauliflower, steamed/cooked
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 and grease a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread cauliflower in baking dish. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Increase heat to medium and add flour and whisk until bubbly.
- Stir in milk and half and half and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, cayenne pepper and nutmeg.
- Pour over cauliflower.
- Top with bread crumbs and shredded cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Top with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
LOAD IT UP: You can easily top this cauliflower au gratin with bacon, cheeses and sour cream. If you want to get creative, you can add and melt down delicious cheese like Gruyere to the pot and mix in before putting in the oven.
KETO FRIENDLY: Sorry, traditionally au gratin is not keto friendly due to the milk and bread crumbs, but you could substitute the milk for whole whipping cream and eliminate the bread crumbs for Parmesan cheese
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 385 Total Fat: 26g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 70mg Sodium: 964mg Carbohydrates: 29g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 13g