Cauliflower Gratin

December 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Gratin 1


You can never have too many make-ahead casseroles in your arsenal during the holiday season.  Cauliflower recipes seem to be everywhere on the internet and on the cooking shows.  I made a cauliflower, kale and sausage soup recently and it was a real hit.  The thing about cauliflower is that it is such a mild vegetable that it picks up the flavors of anything that you add to it.

Cauliflower Gratin V


In this case, the additions were a bechamel sauce, Gruyere and Parmesan cheese and a crisp sourdough bread crumb topping.  It doesn’t hurt that the recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa.  We were having steaks for dinner the other night and I felt like making something other than potatoes to go with them.  This cauliflower gratin was the perfect choice.  I actually assembled it ahead of time and popped it into the oven when David lit the grill.

Cauliflower Gratin 2


It was creamy, crunchy and delicious.  I am keeping this recipe to share with company.


1 ( 3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh sourdough bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm.  Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.  Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.  Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch dish.  Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoon of the butter.  Drizzle over the bread crumb mixture.  Stir to combine and then sprinkle the mixture over the gratin.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.

Printable recipe

18 responses to “Cauliflower Gratin”

  1. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I have a head of cauliflower in the fridge, so guess what I am having tonight? Thanks for the recipe Penny!

  2. Mary Sullivan says:

    Thanks for this one dear Penny, sounds like a keeper – love cauliflower anything – make soup with it weekly and have a bowl of it awaiting supper tonight!!

    Happy holidays – may your Christmas be special and the coming year the best one ever!
    Hugs – Mary

  3. OnePerfectBite says:

    What a lovely dish, Penny. We love cauliflower and I can assure this recipe will be tried. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Blessings…Mary

  4. KathyWalker says:

    Very pretty dish…I love the sour dough crumb topping…and gruyere is my favorite cheese…this would be an excellent side dish for any meal! Enjoy the holidays!

  5. L.A. Brown says:

    I just made a note yesterday to drag out my cauliflower casserole recipe. It’s so good. I don’t think I’ve used Gruyere, which makes it even more creamy than ever.

  6. Sam Hoffer says:

    What a great idea to take the place of traditional potatoes. Anything with gruyere and a crust appeals to me.

  7. Barbara Williams says:

    Yum, Penny! I’d love that. It would be a hit with everyone in my family. Looks gorgeous too.

  8. Pondside says:

    This looks like real comfort food!

  9. Cathy at Wives with Knives says:

    I have made this recipe and we love it! It is true comfort food. The bread crumb topping really makes it special.

  10. Darla says:

    Looks absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to try this. Dave does the grocery shopping and last night brought home ingredients for 3 of your recipes. Do you think he is trying to tell me something? I guess I need to cook, since he does the shopping and vies up. Can’t wait to try this one!

  11. Rosemary Wolbert says:

    I’m sure this would be a hit with me and mine. I love cauliflower. Mr. Rosemary gets it confused with broccoli all the time — “One’s green, one’s white, honey.” But he loves them both, too. BTW, I made, again, the broccoli-corn casserole. Always a hit, and a holiday meal life-saver. I goofed, though, and grabbed one can of regular corn. So . . . to adjust for creaminess added cream cheese! A pretty good fix.

  12. joannova says:

    I was thinking about making a cauliflower casserole as one of the side dishes for Christmas so I’m happy to see this wonderful recipe.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  13. Marcia Smith says:

    Have made this twice in the last week!!! So funny we must be on the same wavelength!! Merry Christmas !!!

  14. Chris says:

    I don’t really love cauliflower but I’d love this because I love Gruyere. Gorgeous photos as always.

  15. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    I just bought a large head of cauliflower but hadn’t decided how I was going to prepare it. I know what I’m having with roast chicken tonight…thank you.

  16. Lauren says:

    Sounds great, minus the gruyere and parmesan,they are not vegetarian cheeses.

  17. Inez says:

    Has anyone made it with 2% milk and less cheese? I am hoping to modify it for my husband who is not good with creamy food.

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