Creamy Cauliflower Gratin

Sometimes you just need something different to do with a cauliflower than mash it or steam it. This dish is gooey, comforting and vegetarian and I’m sure even non-cauliflower fans would like it because it’s topped with cheese. Who doesn’t like to find ways to add cheese on top of everything?

My sister-in-law was in town a couple of years ago and a dinnertime fridge raid turned up a cauliflower that needed some attention, along with a sorry bag of carrots and a few odds and ends. We shared some much needed girl time over vegetable chopping and cheese shredding and this star was born. Over time, this dish became a staple to us and because it reheats so well, I’d make a large batch and prep it for work lunches. Filling and healthy–win win!







Small florets work the best–any larger and it’s more chunked cauliflower than a creamy casserole-style dish.

 Onions and garlic start cooking in melted butter

 Milk is starting to cream

 Added spices–leveled the mixture

 Look at that cheesy goodness ready to be broiled! Let the cheese sit on top; don’t stir.

 Finished product!


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Creamy Cauliflower Gratin

Hearty vegetarian main or side dish perfect for Fall!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Autumn Flavors
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people, as main dish
Calories 240kcal
Author thedachshundmom


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese = 1/2 block
  • 1.5 tbls. flour
  • 1 tbls. butter
  • 1 tbls. fresh parsley, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil carrots for 5 minutes, or until firm-tender.
  • Add 1/4 tsp. salt and the cut cauliflower to pot with the carrots. Boil 5-10 minutes more, or until cauliflower is easily cut but not mushy.
  • Remove cauliflower and carrots from water and set aside.
  • In a large oven-proof skillet, melt butter on low heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower and carrots to onion/garlic pan and heat through.
  • Sprinkle flour around pan and stir into vegetable mixture until no flour pockets remain.
  • Add milk and stir into mixture. Let simmer on low until milk creams.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt along with black pepper, nutmeg and parsley. Mix well and spread vegetables around evenly in pan.
  • Top evenly with cheese but do not stir.
  • Broil on low in oven until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.


Most any oven safe pan will work for this dish---I have used a stainless steel deep side dish as well as a cast iron pan and both gave excellent results.
 Fresh shredded cheese is a must have---anti-caking agents in bagged cheese prevent it from melting as well. We have found that Colby Jack is the best option--cheddar is too oily for us but if it's blended with another cheese it works okay.
 Dried parsley can be used in place of fresh, but I would add a dash more.
 This dish is a great leftover lunch! Serve with salad as a main dsh, or serve as a hearty side. Serves 4 as a main dish and 6-8 as a side.


Calories: 240kcal

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