Recipes, Sides

Cauliflower Gratin

2 Comments 04 October 2013

Sis Blogging Partner and I love to pin gratin recipes on our Pinterest board we keep for ideas and inspiration. Gratins are some of the easiest ways to get a decadent, delicious side for special occasions (though, admittedly, some can be complex). But what about non-special occasions? What about, oh, I dunno – Tuesday night? Why do the Special Occasions get to be the only special days, huh? Therefore, we demand gratins on non-special days we want to feel special! What day is better than those tiring, routine-laden work nights? For this, we turn to Food Network Magazine’s awesome compilation of seriously easy things to make during the weeknight.

Cauliflower Gratin-1

So, the basics of your gratin: the main thing being delish-i-fied (in this case the ever ambiguous cauliflower), heavy cream, and cheeeeeeese. To this we’ll add some basic seasonings and breadcrumbs. Is this looking easy on a work night or what? Somethings’ about to be special!

Cauliflower Gratin-2

Hello, cauliflower. You look like popcorn, essentially enabling you to fool me, but only once. I didn’t appreciate this veggie enough growing up, I admit. And now with a husband who flinched when I ask him what he thinks of having it, needless to say, I don’t cook with it often.

This could all change.

Cauliflower might look like the Casper version of broccoli, but it’s much easier to break into pieces by hand. Just snap florets off the bigger clumps and place them in your casserole dish.

Cauliflower Gratin-3

It’s a little hard to tell in this pic, but I invited my good friend, Mount Cheese, to be part of the fun. I splurged and bought the more expensive brand of Gruyere this time (you know, the kind that actually comes from Switzerland), so I grated all of it. All of it when in this gratin. Because Tuesday’s gonna be special, dagnabbit.

Also because I didn’t want to forget about one small piece of Gruyere, left in the fridge to die a cold, moldy death.

And it tasted gooooooood. So, yeah. All of it.

Cauliflower Gratin-5

Sauce for a gratin is just poured onto the main ingredient, and the oven does all the glorious caramelizing, thickening work for you. We added a little fresh ground pepper and some dry, ground mustard. Why the mustard? I really just could not tell you, but in it went cuz the directions say so. At this point, you could also add some other seasonings of your choice, even some fresh herbs. This is such a basic, easy recipe that you can alter it to suit you. I think next time I’m adding some of my favorite fresh herb – thyme! I know, so original, but hey, me likes.

Cauliflower Gratin-6

Just pour that soon-to-be-thick sauce over the veggies and you’re almost ready to bake.

Cauliflower Gratin-7

Hold up – don’t forget Mount Cheese! Get on there, buddy! Do your awesome, melting thing.

Cauliflower Gratin-9

This is the moment we like to call, Get In My Belly! Seriously, folks. Cauliflower is awesome roasted, especially with a little seasoning, cream and cheeeeese. This is like a magical elixir whose main goal in its elixir life is to lovingly wrap veggies in yum. Gots. To. Love it.

Cauliflower Gratin-15

The outcome is a very tender (but not too much so), veggie that’s been doused in crisp flavor thanks to the melted cheese and breadcrumbs. It transforms the cauliflower completely. It’s delicious and it’s really easy. This is just what you need for busy the weeknight when you want something different, and it’s plenty good enough to hold its own at a holiday type meal as well. Way to go cauliflower, way to go.

Cauliflower Gratin

originally from Food Network Magazine via

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: about 45 minutes    Level: Easy    Serves: 4-6

  • One head cauliflower, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the cauliflower pieces in a 2-quart baking dish. In a separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and seasonings. Pour over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top, followed by the breadcrumbs. Bake about 45 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and golden.


I used the first breadcrumbs I could find in my pantry, just some regular (albeit Italian seasoned) crumbs that were a little too finely crumbled. They worked, but you can use whatever kind suits you, panko for example. You can also make your own by toasting some older bread in your oven to dry it out, then crumble it, maybe mixed with a small bit of melted butter. Or you can take that older bread, process it in a small food prep machine and toast it in a pan on your stove top.

If Gruyere is too expensive for you, substitute another cheese such as fontina or even Swiss. Maybe top with a little fresh-grated Parmesan to bump it up a little. Check to see if your store offers a store brand in their deli for these kinds of cheeses, since those tend to be a little more affordable.

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- who has written 347 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and Day Job Do-er, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Kim says:

    I think I will actually buy cauliflower now. =p This was absolutely delish, so glad we tried it.

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