Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin

I’d like to take a minute to tell you guys a story. It’s a bit embarrassing, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago… ok- it was just a couple years ago, there was this Thanksgiving dinner. We were visiting family in Utah and I was given the assignment to bring cauliflower and broccoli.

Just to clarify, I was visiting my in-laws. So there was this overwhelming desire to impress.

My in-laws are particular about their food, (especially when it comes to Thanksgiving) things need to be a certain way. Well, cauliflower and broccoli are no exception to the rule. They need to be steamed (to the point of baby food texture), and served with a bowl of Old English Cheese goo on the side.

Being that I was not a fan of this particular style, and feeling like I needed to impress, I decided (against my husband’s wishes) to roast the cauliflower and broccoli, and serve it with my own cheese sauce.

Oh yes, this was going to be epic.

The big day came, and I chopped up all my broccoli and cauliflower. I was preparing to serve well over 30 guests, so there were quite a few baking sheets full of florets. I was using my sister-in-law’s oven, and threw them in with just 20 minutes left until guests arrived. (first mistake).

I don’t really know what happened, maybe it was my unfamiliarity of the oven I was using, or my lack of roasting skills, but the vegetables began to smoke. The house filled with a gnarly smell, and by the time the guests arrived it was too late. I decided to just go with it, my pride was at stake after all! I served the lightly charred, crispy, definitely NOT roasted, cauliflower and broccoli with a side of lumpy cheese sauce (another epic fail).

It was not good. Not good at all.

My husband will never let me live that down. I don’t think I’ll ever be given that assignment again. But one thing I have learned is how to properly roast vegetables, AND how to make a cheese sauce.

Here’s the moral of the story- know what you’re doing before Thanksgiving Day arrives.

This Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin has been tested, and approved. I’ve worked hard to perfect this recipe. It’s absolutely delicious, and super easy to make.

Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin

Here’s the best part about this tasty side dish casserole – no roasting and no homemade cheese sauce.

I’ve taken out the tricky parts and produced an easy, throw it all in a dish and bake, recipe.

Fill a 9″x13″ casserole dish with cauliflower florets, and drizzle with the easy cheese sauce.

Cover and bake.

Once it’s done baking, remove the foil and give it a quick stir.

Cover with more cheese and a crispy, buttery crumb topping.

Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin

Once it’s a golden brown, and bubbly all over it’s ready to enjoy.

Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin

This Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin is so phenomenal. The cauliflower is tender, but not mushy. The cheese sauce coats every inch of the cauliflower, and the crispy panko crumb topping is the perfect addition- adding a little crunch to each bite.

Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin

Go ahead and add this casserole to your Thanksgiving side dish list.

It will be a crowd pleaser. I promise.

Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin

Yield: serves 10-12 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 cup Cauliflower florets (I used 1 1/2 large Cauliflower heads)
  • 1 (10oz) can Condensed Cheese Soup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko style bread crumbs (found in the Asian isle)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" casserole dish. Fill the casserole dish with the cauliflower florets, set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the cheese soup, milk, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and salt and pepper until smooth. Pour over the cauliflower florets. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Remove dish from oven after 1 hour, turn heat up to 425 degrees F. While oven is heating, remove foil from casserole and gently stir the cauliflower to evenly coat in the cheese sauce. (the sauce will be thin).
  5. Evenly cover the cauliflower with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. In a separate bowl combine the melted butter, panko crumbs, italian seasoning, and salt and pepper (to taste). Stir till combined and the crumbs are evenly buttered. Spread over the casserole dish.
  7. Bake at 425 F for 25-30 minutes. The crumbs should be golden brown, and the cheese should be bubbly all over. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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Comments

  1. This looks absolutely delicious! I have a ton of cauliflower and now I know what I’m going to use it for. What a hilarious story too! I always have my biggest blunders on the most important days.

  2. I definitely want to try this for Thanksgiving! And sorry you had to learn that lesson the hard way :( I would have been so embarrassed, too! I’m glad you perfected this dish because it looks absolutely delish.

  3. Sounds amazing and the story is funny! It is so hard to prepare food in someone else’s kitchen.

  4. Lol! Great story! It looks like you did a rockin’ job here!

  5. Looks delicious!

  6. That looks amazing and I absolutely love the background story behind it! Too funny that you had to learn the hard way…I think we all have stories our hubbys won’t let us forget!

  7. SO making this!! thanks!

  8. What brand of “condensed cheese soup” did you use?

  9. Have you tried the same recipe using broccoli instead of cauliflower? Do you think that would substitute okay?

    • Hi Patty! Yes, I first tried a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower and it was great! I would assume the same cooking directions would apply for a full pan of broccoli. If you try it, let me know how it goes! :)

  10. Can you use frozen cauliflower? Heads of cauliflower are very expensive right now and I’d like to make it tomorrow!

  11. We’ve all been there Shawn, ( I know I have) where the vision of the recipe in your head doesn’t equate to the end result! This looks delicious-thanks for sharing.

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