Why you’ll love this recipe:
Cauliflower is a versatile veg with a nutty yet mild flavor and tender bite. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients. It’s no wonder its gained traction in the past few years! It’s great for low-carb rice, cauliflower soup, mashed cauliflower, or even “macaroni” and cheese. But for me, this cheesy, decadent cauliflower casserole wins first prize!
It’s the ultimate comfort food, with a mix of parmesan and gruyere, plus a buttery crumb topping! Trust me when I say this family favorite won’t last long. It’s also a breeze to make and nearly foolproof. I make a simple homemade cheese sauce, then layer it with cauliflower and bake until hot, bubbly, and begging to be devoured.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Cauliflower – Choose cauliflower heads that are firm with no brown or dull spots. If you don’t want to cut it up yourself, you can buy a bag of cauliflower florets instead. One head of cauliflower contains around 4 cups of florets.
- Butter – A roux is a mixture of fat and flour that creates the base of a cheese sauce. Butter adds a nice flavor, but you can use oil if you don’t have any.
- Aromatics – Onions & garlic add a depth of flavor to the cheesy sauce!
- All-purpose flour – Flour helps thicken the cheese sauce without tasting raw or pasty.
- Half & half – Half and half creates a decadent, cheesy sauce! You can swap in milk or heavy cream if you want, or make your own half and half with equal parts milk and cream.
- Cheese – I used gruyere and parmesan, but you can swap the gruyere with another melting cheese if you like. Fontina, swiss, or cheddar and great options! Or a combination.
- Bread crumbs – For a crispy, crunchy topping!
How to make this recipe:
Before you start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spray your casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
1. Make the roux
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the three tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and seasoning and sauté until fragrant, about 30 more seconds.
- Add the flour and stir until the flour is absorbed into the butter. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to cook the raw taste out of the flour.
2. Make the cheese sauce
- Gradually pour the half and half into the butter mixture, whisking as you do so. Stir until the mixture thickens.
- Once thickened, reduce the heat to low and stir in the gruyere cheese and 1 cup of the parmesan. Continue to stir until the cheese is fully incorporated, then remove the cheese sauce from the heat.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the cauliflower florets for 4 to 5 minutes until crisp tender. Carefully drain them and set aside.
- Pour about one cup of the cheese sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish. Add the florets, then top with the remaining cheese sauce.
- In a small dish, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Mix well, then evenly sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
- Bake the cauliflower casserole for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling.
- Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving. Scoop into serving bowls and top with green onions or parsley.
- If you want to save time, you can blanch the cauliflower up to a day before you plan to make the casserole. Drain and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
- If you want to skip prepping the cauliflower altogether, you can use steam-in-bag cauliflower, or this is a great recipe to use leftover cooked cauliflower!
- You can assemble the whole casserole up to a day ahead of time, then bake when you’re ready for it. This means virtually no mess or cleanup come dinner time. Score!
- Store leftover cauliflower casserole in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat individual portions in the microwave until hot throughout. You can reheat the entire casserole in the oven at 300 degrees until hot throughout.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s jam packed with nutrients! One cup of cauliflower contains 28 calories and 3 grams of fiber. It’s rich in essential vitamins like C,K, and B6. It’s also a good source of disease-fighting antioxidants and plant compounds.
Since cauliflower casserole is a cheesy, rich dish, I like to serve it with a crunchy green salad on the side. You could also serve it with garlic bread, oven roasted vegetables, or a creamy cucumber tomato salad. Anything that goes great with macaroni and cheese tastes great it.
Must-Try Casserole Recipes
- 9x11in Casserole dish
- 2 heads cauliflower cut into florets, Note 1
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups half & half Note 2
- 5 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded, Note 3
- 1 ¼ cups grated parmesan cheese divided
- ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 375℉ and prepare a 9×11-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare cheese sauce:
- In a large saute pan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onion. Saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the all-purpose flour and mix until all the flour has been absorbed by the butter. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- Whisk in the half & half into the vegetable/flour mixture and cook over medium heat. Stir until thickened.
- When thickened, reduce the heat to low and stir in the gruyere cheese and 1 cup of the grated parmesan, continue stirring until the cheese has melted and is fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Prepare the cauliflower:
- Blanch the cauliflower florets in a large pot with boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, drain, and set aside.
Assemble the casserole:
- Pour about 1 cup of the cheese sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish. Add in the cauliflower florets and pour the rest of the cheese sauce over the cauliflower.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Mix and sprinkle over the top of the cauliflower.
- Bake the cauliflower casserole for 25-30 minutes at 375℉ or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with green onion or fresh parsley. Enjoy!
– Store leftover cauliflower casserole in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
– Reheat individual portions in the microwave until hot throughout. You can reheat the entire casserole in the oven at 300 degrees until hot and bubbly.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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