Cheesy cauliflower gratin is a tasty low carb way to enjoy cauliflower. Cauliflower is boiled and coated in a Swiss or gruyere cheese sauce and topped with parmesan and crispy bread crumbs.
Cheesy baked cauliflower is a delicious way to change up cauliflower from your typical mash or rice. Not only is it super delicious, it's also low carb.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cauliflower florets. 24 ounce bags of precut florets are the easiest route to take here, but you can also grab 2 heads of cauliflower (usually ends up being around 30 ounces so you'll have some leftover florets).
- 2% milk. I used 2% milk to cut back on calories, but any dairy-based milk will do.
- Swiss cheese. Gruyere works great too, but Swiss is generally more readily available. If you have a cheese grater and a little extra time, freshly grated will turn out better than the pre-shredded cheese that is usually coated in potato starch.
- Parmesan. Fresh grated parmesan created a yummy golden brown top and adds to the cheesy flavor. Pre-grated parmesan works great too.
- Nutmeg. One of those ingredients that adds that special something and rounds out the sharpness of the cheese sauce. Feel free to omit if you're out.
- Bread crumbs. Adds to the crunchy golden topping with the parmesan. If you're trying too keep it even lower in carbs, skip the bread crumbs and just use the parmesan and it will be super tasty too.
STEP 1: Boil the cauliflower. Fill a stockpot halfway full with water and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and 1 teaspoon of salt and boil for 5-6 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender. Be careful not to overcook or you'll end up with a watery gratin sauce.
Drain the cauliflower and return it to the pot and set aside while finishing the sauce.
STEP 2: Make the cheese sauce. While the cauliflower is boiling, get out a small saucepan. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Once it's melted, stir in 2 tablespoon of flour.
Once the flour is fully mixed in, slowly stir in 1 cup of milk. Increase the temperature to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. When the sauce becomes thick remove the pan from the heat.
Add ½ cup of fresh grated Swiss or gruyere cheese, a pinch of nutmeg and ½ teaspoon each of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir everything together until the cheese has fully melted.
STEP 3: Coat the cauliflower in sauce. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and gently stir to coat all of the florets.
STEP 4: Add the toppings. Transfer the cauliflower to a 2 quart dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of seasoned breadcrumbs, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
Bake in a 375˚ Fahrenheit oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Store the cauliflower covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. This recipe does not freeze well, but can be made up to 24 hours ahead (instructions below).
I would not recommend using frozen cauliflower because it generally holds too much water and will make the gratin sauce too watery.
Yes. You can make cauliflower gratin up to 1 day ahead. Follow the recipe through step 6 the night before and cover in foil and refrigerate. When you're read to bake, take the dish out and remove the foil. Preheat the oven, add the toppings and bake according to the recipe.
Au gratin is french for "by grating". It basically means there is a breadcrumb and/or cheese crust on the dish.
Other Side Dish Recipes You'll Love
- Creamy Parsnip Puree with Garlic Sage Butter
- Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Pecans
- Skinny Garlic Parmesan Mashed Red Potatoes
- Sautéed Green Beans with Mushrooms and Bacon
- 24 ounces cauliflower florets
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- ½ cup freshly grated Swiss cheese or Gruyere
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan (divided)
- 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
- PREPARE: Preheat the oven to 375˚ F and adjust the oven rack about 10 inches from the top.
- BOIL THE CAULIFLOWER: Fill a large pot with water and 1 teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and boil until they’re just soft, about 6 minutes. Drain, return to the pot and set aside.
- MAKE A ROUX: Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once the butter has fully melted, whisk in the flour.
- FINISH THE SAUCE: Slowly pour the milk into the pot while stirring. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue boiling and stirring until it has thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add ½ teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, and the Gruyere.
- COMBINE EVERYTHING: Pour the sauce on the cauliflower and toss to coat the cauliflower in the sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8X8 pan.
- ADD TOPPINGS: Sprinkle an even layer of parmesan and breadcrumbs over the top of the cauliflower. Melt the remaining butter and drizzle over the top of the breadcrumbs.
- BAKE: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
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