Super easy to make cheesy cauliflower casserole is every bit as yummy as mac and cheese, without all the noodles.
If you’re a fan of macaroni and cheese, then you’ll love this cauliflower casserole version packed with veggies instead of noodles. This is the perfect place to start when you’re trying to get the kids to eat cauliflower, cheese makes it all tasty, right?
A little secret? If you want your family to eat more vegetables but you are getting resistance, try replacing a little of the starchy ingredients (macaroni, spaghetti) with veggies, slowly. Or make their favourite dishes with added veggies.
Easy Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole is so delicious and simple that it’s also a great choice for pot luck, holiday meals and just about any time!
Here’s what you’ll learn with this Easy Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole recipe:
- what is a roux?
- what gluten-free flour makes the best cheese sauce
- how to steam cauliflower (mush free)
What is a roux?
It’s funny, well not so much funny as it is odd, that someone who loved the art of cooking as much as I did, not to know what the term “roux” meant. So if you know, awesome! If you don’t, then you will in five seconds. A roux is the fat (in this case, butter) and flour (equal parts) paste that is used as a thickening agent for sauces, stews and soups. You can get full instructions on how to make the perfect roux in my recipe for the perfect bechamel sauce.
Healthier flour options for cheese sauce
Often we avoid delicious cream sauces because they have white flour, but you can make a typical recipe healthier by using a better flour. If you’re gluten-free, I highly recommend rice flour for the roux, it works and taste great! For those of you who can eat wheat, the switch to whole wheat flour is better for you.
Mushy cauliflower is not appetizing! The best way to avoid this is to lightly steam the cauliflower before baking the casserole. Fill a medium pot with 1 or 2 inches of water, place a mesh steamer basket inside, and set it over high heat. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn it down to low, add the cauliflower florets to the basket, and cover with a lid. Steam until it can easily be pierced with a fork, 5 to 10 minutes. If you don’t have a mesh steamer basket, steam the cauliflower in larger pieces and place into the boiling pot and follow the instructions above. You will need to cut the florets smaller after steaming (just easier to remove from the pot in larger pieces).
You may like to try my Perfect Macaroni and Cheese Bake as well. It’s made with all real food ingredients , like cheese, milk and butter. It’s my number one requested dish!
Easy Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole (kid approved)
Make ahead, perfect pot luck, kid approved. Easy, Cheesy, Califlower Casserole is so delicious and simple that it’s going to be everyones new favourite dish!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Category: Main Meals
- Method: Baking
- 1 large head cauliflower , big stem removed and cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat (gluten free rice flour) flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs (optional)
- Fill a medium pot with 1 or 2 inches of water, place a mesh steamer basket inside, and set it over high heat. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn it down to low, add the cauliflower to the basket, and cover with a lid. (see notes)
- Steam until it can easily be pierced with a fork, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Spread into one even layer in the bottom of an ungreased 8X8 baking dish.
- In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
- Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until the mixture begins to darken in color (but not burn). Cook the roux for at least 2 minutes to cook thoroughly or you’ll have a floury taste.
- Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to boil.
- Lower the heat to a light simmer and cook until the milk thickens, whisking occasionally.
- Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent scortching.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and spices.
- Pour over top of the cauliflower until well coated.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake until golden brown on top and bubbly, about 30 -40 minutes.
- Serve warm.
If you’re going for the gluten free version, you can use bread crumbs that are gluten free or totally omit them. I recommend Glutino brand.