Move on over, potato, ‘cause there’s a new favorite side dish in town, and it’s called Cauliflower Au Gratin. This cauliflower casserole is loaded with creamy, baked-to-perfection parmesan cheese and a delicate thick roux.
Best of all, Cauliflower Au Gratin is the perfect replacement for your ordinary potato side dish; it’s lower in carbs but bursting with flavor!
And just like roasted or mashed potatoes, Cauliflower Au Gratin can be paired with all sorts of meals, from chicken and pork to fish or beef. It’s ready to go in less than an hour with very little prep, making it the perfect option for a weekend dinner. But there’s no reason to stop there; it looks and tastes as amazing dressed up as dressed down, perfect as a comforting side dish.
- cauliflower – before you get started on this cauliflower gratin casserole, you need to cook your cauliflower. It needs to be roasted (recommended) or steamed in order to turn it into a casserole.
- butter – Real butter has the best flavor. Do not add margarine here unless you want to alter the taste.
- grated Parmesan cheese – I like freshly grated Parmesan cheese myself.
- 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.
- bread crumbs – If you want to remove the breadcrumbs, 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.
Add Some Seafood
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.
- Avoid mushy cauliflower: vegetables, including cauliflower, consist of a surprisingly high percentage of water, which in turn can make your finished casserole mushy. To avoid this, I suggest pre-cooking your cauliflower by roasting it for about 10 minutes in the oven at 450 degrees.
- This cauliflower side dish is so easy to load up! Add other types of cheeses (I like Cheddar on my cauliflower), bacon bits, ham, or bites of freshly chopped green onions.
- Creamy cauliflower is the star of the show but you can also add lobster, crab, mahi mahi or even shrimp to make this casserole a full meal.
How to make Cauliflower Au Gratin
Make sure to check out the printable recipe card for full step by step instructions and ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 425 and grease a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread pre-cooked cauliflower pieces in a 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 heavy whipping cream and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, cayenne pepper and nutmeg.
- Pour roux over cauliflower, covering as much of the top as possible.
- Top with grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
- Bake casserole for 25 minutes.
- Add bits of chopped fresh parsley before serving for color.
Please note that making Roux can be really difficult for some and it can thicken if heated too much and too quickly. You can add up to 1 more cup of heavy whipping cream to thin out roux. Just remember you cannot walk away from the pan while making roux. It moves quick.
Au gratin, which translates from French as “by grating” is a method of cooking in which breadcrumbs, grated cheese, or both are sprinkled over a dish and then baked until browned. While most people are familiar with potatoes au gratin, as you’ll soon find out, cauliflower makes a perfect and healthy substitute for potatoes with all the amazing au gratin flavor and texture of breadcrumbs and golden browned cheese, without as many carbs!
Basically anything that you would pair with a potato side would be a good accompaniment to this Cauliflower Casserole. Here are some of my favorite dishes with which Cauliflower Au Gratin would taste amazing:
Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken
Asparagus Stuffed Chicken
Oven-Roasted Lamb Chops
Slow Cooker Pepper Steak
I wouldn’t recommend using frozen cauliflower in this dish, but if that’s all you’ve got, go for it. Cook the cauliflower until it is just slightly tender, then proceed with the rest of the recipe. Just be careful to REMOVE EXCESS MOISTURE!
Cauliflower Casserole can be frozen in an airtight container for as long as three months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight, then cover with aluminum foil and warm in the oven until heated through and bubbling.
Unfortunately, the roux in this dish contains flour, which helps thicken the roux. This isn’t always replaceable in keto-friendly and low-carb flours like almond flour and won’t thicken the same. However, it doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious so it’s worth a shot if you are looking to convert recipes.
Top with chives, sour cream, green onions, and bacon for a loaded-up dish.
- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe – This simple dish of oven roasted veggies takes under 30 minutes with perfect flavors.
- 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
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