This Cauliflower Au Gratin, also known as a Cauliflower Bake, is a delightful and satisfying dish that brings together the wholesome flavors of cauliflower and creamy gratin goodness. It's an easy comfort food recipe that has quickly become one of the favorites in my house. It's creamy, cheesy, and such a delicious side dish for holidays as well as for Sunday night dinner.
This delicious recipe combines tender cauliflower florets and cubed potatoes, enveloped in a velvety, smooth cheesy sauce, and baked to get a golden, crispy breadcrumb crust.
With its comforting aroma and irresistible taste, this cauliflower au gratin is the perfect side dish or even a vegetarian main course option that will please both your family and guests alike.
By following this cauliflower au gratin recipe, you'll create a mouthwatering dish that perfectly balances the mild, earthy notes of cauliflower with the rich and creamy cheese sauce. The potatoes add a comforting and hearty element, making this dish a satisfying choice for any occasion.
- What is Cauliflower Au Gratin?
- Why This Is The Best Cauliflower Au Gratin Recipe
- What You Need to Make Cauliflower Au Gratin At Home
- How to Make Cauliflower Au Gratin Step by Step
- What Other Types of Cheese Can I Use For Cauliflower Au Gratin?
- How to Make Cauliflower Au Gratin Ahead of Time?
- Tips For Making the Best Cauliflower Au Gratin Every Single Time
- Pairing and Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Cauliflower Au Gratin
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Cauliflower Au Gratin
My recipe is inspired by Ina Garten's cauliflower au gratin recipe. I first made it a few years ago and immediately fell in love with the simplicity of the preparation process and the excellent taste of the dish.
I love Ina's original version of the recipe but I decided to add potatoes for more volume and nutrition. It strikes a balance between simplicity and classic flavor, making it an easy recipe for both experienced cooks and beginners
Whether it's a special occasion or a cozy weeknight dinner, this cauliflower au gratin recipe will give you a memorable and delicious experience.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious Cauliflower Au Gratin recipe!
What is Cauliflower Au Gratin?
Cauliflower au gratin is an incredibly delicious savory casserole dish that features cauliflower as the star ingredient. It is a variation of the classic French dish known as 'gratin,' which typically consists of a creamy sauce, cheese, and a golden-brown crust.
My recipe is incredibly simple and delicious. We'll be combining tender cauliflower florets with cubed potatoes and then baked in a rich, cheesy sauce. The dish is finished with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top, which adds a delightful crunch and enhances the overall texture.
As you have probably noticed I'm obsessed with French food and particularly Gratins. Recently I've been making them non-stop.
Whenever I have some kind of celebration at my house, I make sure to prepare one of those Gratins and they always disappear quickly.
This delicious cauliflower au gratin is often served as a side dish and works great with a wide range of main courses such as roasted meats, poultry, or even as part of a vegetarian meal.
Its rich flavors and creamy texture make it the perfect choice for special occasions or gatherings, and I'm sure you're going to absolutely love it.
Why This Is The Best Cauliflower Au Gratin Recipe
Classic flavors: This delicious dish has the classic flavors of au gratin combined with cauliflower and potatoes for a beautiful twist to Ina Garten's Cauliflower Au Gratin recipe.
Easy to make: Even if you don't have a lot of experience with cooking, this is a simple dish that anyone can make.
Versatile: This recipe is filling enough to be used as a main dish, but you can also serve it with other meat-based main dishes for a wholesome meal. I have pairing and serving suggestions down below!
What You Need to Make Cauliflower Au Gratin At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious cauliflower au gratin recipe at home.
- Cauliflower: First of all, of course, we'll need some cauliflower. It has a mild and slightly nutty taste that works beautifully in a gratin. Plus, its subtle flavor allows the cheesy sauce to shine. Make sure to cut into the even-sized florets and wash them really well before cooking.
- Potatoes: Although original Ina Garten's recipe doesn't have potatoes, I found that they make this vegetarian dish even more filling and satisfying. This makes it perfect for serving as a main dish.
- Butter: We'll also need some butter to make the roux that will give this delicious cauliflower au gratin its classic consistency and flavor.
- Flour: You'll also need some regular all-purpose flour for the roux. If you're on a gluten-free diet, you can substitute with all-purpose gluten-free flour instead.
- Milk: For the main liquid in this dish, I've used whole milk. It acts as the base for the cheese sauce in the recipe. When combined with the roux and melted cheese, it provides a smooth foundation for the flavors to meld together.
- Cheeses: A gratin can't be complete without some cheese. My favorite combination is Parmesan and Gruyere, but there are many other cheeses that you can use instead. Check out the section below where I share some other favorites.
- Nutmeg: We'll also be adding a pinch of nutmeg which will add a subtle nuance to the cheese sauce, elevating its flavor and creating a more sophisticated taste profile.
- Panko breadcrumbs: You'll also need some breadcrumbs for the crunchy top layer. I've used Panko breadcrumbs since they have a dryer and flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs, which makes them crispier. Alternatively, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you'd like.
How to Make Cauliflower Au Gratin Step by Step
Making this delicious Cauliflower Au Gratin recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
1. Precook the vegetables
Start by preheating the oven to 375 F.
Then bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, cauliflower florets, and potatoes, and cook it on medium heat for 7 minutes. Once done, drain the water.
2. Prepare the white sauce
In a medium saucepan and over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add flour, and whisk to combine until no lumps remain.
Then add warm milk, and stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
Remove the pan from the heat and then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, pepper, ¼ cup of Gruyere cheese, Parmesan, and nutmeg to it. Give it a whisk to combine the ingredients well. Now taste the sauce and add more salt if needed.
By this point, you should have a silky smooth white sauce that works great in so many recipes.
3. Assemble Gratin
Transfer cooked cauliflower and potatoes into the 8 by 11 inches baking dish. Cover with a white sauce and carefully mix to combine the ingredients.
Sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs, drizzle it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and sprinkle ¼ cup of Gruyere on top of the gratin.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Turn on the broiler and bake for 2-3 minutes until the top of the gratin is golden brown.
Your delicious Cauliflower Au Gratin is ready to be served.
What Other Types of Cheese Can I Use For Cauliflower Au Gratin?
For this cauliflower potato cheese bake, I really recommend Swiss Gruyere cheese. It has a wonderful nutty aroma and texture and works great in any recipe.
If you can't find Gruyere, any other hard cheese with a distinctive flavor will work. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Grana Padano
- Aged Gouda
- Aged Cheddar
- Aged Provolone
How to Make Cauliflower Au Gratin Ahead of Time?
What I really like about this cauliflower potato bake or any other gratins is that you can make them ahead of time, which is very convenient for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Just assemble everything in a baking dish, cover with a foil and store in a fridge for a few hours or even overnight until you're ready to bake it.
Tips For Making the Best Cauliflower Au Gratin Every Single Time
To ensure that your cauliflower au gratin comes out perfectly every time, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:
Don't overcook the cauliflower and potatoes: When boiling the cauliflower florets and potatoes, be careful not to overcook them. They should be cooked just until they are tender but still slightly firm. Overcooking can result in mushy vegetables, affecting the texture of the gratin.
Use freshly grated cheese: For the best flavor and texture, it's recommended to use freshly grated Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated cheese melts more smoothly and blends better with the sauce, ensuring a creamy and cohesive gratin.
Adjust the seasoning to taste: The seasoning amounts in the recipe are a guideline, but everyone's preference for salt and pepper can vary. Taste the sauce before adding it to the cauliflower and potatoes, and adjust the seasonings accordingly. This way, you can make sure the gratin is perfectly seasoned to your liking.
Allow the gratin to rest before serving: Once the cauliflower au gratin is baked to perfection, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and the gratin to set slightly, making it easier to portion and enhancing the overall presentation.
Pairing and Serving Suggestions
Side Salad: Serve the cauliflower au gratin alongside a fresh green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. The crispness of the salad provides a refreshing contrast to the creamy gratin and adds a pop of color to the plate.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, or asparagus, make a fantastic side dish to serve with the cauliflower au gratin. The roasted flavors and caramelization of the vegetables add depth and complexity to the meal.
Grilled Chicken or Steak: For a heartier meal, pair the cauliflower au gratin with some grilled chicken breast, pork, or steak. Here are some recipes you can pair it with:
- Greek Lemon Oregano Chicken: This dish is made with minimal ingredients but is packed with flavor and goes great with the cauliflower gratin.
- Pork Tenderloin With Seared Peaches: This is the perfect recipe for busy weeknight meals!
- Steak Chateaubriand: Here's a French classic that can be ready in under 30 minutes.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Cauliflower Au Gratin
Cauliflower au gratin is a classic comfort food dish that can be enjoyed in countless variations. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Cheese: You can switch up the cheese for a different flavor in your cauliflower au gratin. I've mentioned some great ideas up above that I recommend you check out.
Veggies: Another great idea is to mix other veggies such as broccoli florets with the cauliflower in your gratin! You can use any other you like as well such as zucchini or leeks.
Protein: For a non-vegetarian option, you can add chunks of cooked bacon, ham, or chicken to your casserole for a heartier version of this delicious classic.
Herbs: You can also garnish this delicious cauliflower gratin with chopped fresh herbs such as fresh thyme.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is My Cauliflower Au Gratin Watery?
Overcooking the cauliflower is one of the main reasons why a cauliflower au gratin could turn out watery. Make sure you follow my instructions to not overcook them. They should still be firm and not be falling apart when you drain them. Also, make sure to drain the water entirely.
Can I Make Cauliflower Au Gratin Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can prepare the cauliflower au gratin ahead of time. Prepare the dish up until the point of baking. Cover it tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, bake as instructed in the recipe, adding a few extra minutes to account for the chilled ingredients.
Can I Add Other Vegetables to the Gratin?
Absolutely! Cauliflower au gratin can be customized with other vegetables. You can add diced carrots, peas, or even spinach to the mix. They all need to be cooked to a certain doneness before using them in this dish. For example, we boiled cauliflower and potatoes for 7 minutes for this recipe.
Can I Make Individual Portions of Cauliflower Au Gratin?
Yes, you can make individual portions by dividing the ingredients and assembling them in individual ramekins or oven-safe dishes. Adjust the baking time accordingly, as smaller portions may require less time in the oven.
How to Store Leftover Cauliflower Au Gratin
You can easily store cauliflower au gratin in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for 1 to 2 days. To reheat, preheat the oven to 350F. Then pop the Cauliflower Au Gratin in the oven and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until it's warm all the way through.
While it is technically possible to freeze cauliflower au gratin, the texture may slightly change upon thawing and reheating. The cheese sauce can become grainy, and the vegetables may become softer.
If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below and rate it. I always appreciate the feedback. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Cauliflower Au Gratin
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, cauliflower florets and potatoes and cook on a medium heat for 7 minutes. Drain.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add flour and whisk to combine. Add warm milk, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.
- Remove pan from the heat. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, pepper, ¼ cup of Gruyere cheese, Parmesan and nutmeg. Give it a taste and add more salt if needed.
- Transfer cauliflower and potatoes into the 8 by 11 inches baking dish. Cover with a sauce and carefully mix to combine the ingredients.
- Sprinkle Panko and the remaining ¼ cup of Gruyere on top of the gratin and drizzle with 2 tablespoon of melted butter.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.Turn on the broiler and bake for 2-3 minutes until top of the gratin is golden brown.
- Serve immediately.