Roasted Cauliflower Gratin - this twist on a french cauliflower gratin features roasted cauliflower topped with a cheesy sauce and baked until bubbly and golden. This is a delicious side dish for beef, pork, chicken, or seafood.
My obsession with roasted cauliflower continues with this cauliflower gratin. Roasting is absolutely my favorite way to prepare cauliflower. I love the crisp-tender texture and the slightly charred edges. So delicious! So, just when I thought cauliflower couldn't get any better, I baked it in a cheesy, creamy sauce - a nod to a french cauliflower gratin. And the result is just heaven!
What is a gratin (french gratin)?
A gratin is a casserole of vegetables baked in a Bechamel (cream) sauce. 'Gratin' refers to the crusty top which forms while baking, typically from cheese and/or breadcrumbs added to the top of the casserole.
Why you will love this dish
Any recipe that is baked until bubbly and golden brown is my kind of dish. This recipe is my twist on a french cauliflower gratin.
Easy to make - The sauce can be prepared while the cauliflower roasts. The preparation is minimal - cut the cauliflower into florets and shred the cheese. The other ingredients are likely already in your pantry or refrigerator.
Lighter than traditional gratins - This isn't a low-calorie dish per se, but the sauce isn't as heavy or laden as traditional cheesy cream sauces. This sauce is made with half milk and half vegetable broth - as compared to all milk or part milk and part cream as is common in most white sauces. The broth adds a nice balance of flavor and pairs well with the cauliflower.
Lots of flavor - Most french cauliflower gratin recipes call for parboiling the cauliflower. I prefer to roast the cauliflower. Roasting enhances its flavor and creates delicious caramelized edges. Also, all of the nutrients stay in the cauliflower when roasted - and not in the water if parboiled.
Cauliflower - When buying cauliflower, look for white, firm heads with compact florets and fresh leaves. Avoid ones that have brown blemishes on the florets.
Vegetable broth - I like the blend of broth and milk in creating a less-heavy sauce. The broth adds another layer of flavor. If you don't need this recipe to be vegetarian, chicken broth can be used instead.
Gruyere cheese - Gruyere is a popular cheese for gratins. It melts well and has a wonderful nutty flavor. Gruyere can be found in the gourmet cheese section of most supermarkets. If you have trouble finding Gruyere, swiss cheese can be used.
Fontina cheese - Fontina is not traditional in gratins, but I love the creaminess it adds. It melts beautifully and has a mild flavor.
How to make
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and transfer to a sheet pan. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes until slightly charred around the edges.
- While the cauliflower roasts, make the cream sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisk to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes to cook the raw flavor out of the flour. Season with pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Slowly add the milk and the broth, whisking to incorporate. Cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Add half of the Gruyere and Fontina cheeses, whisking while the cheese melts. Add the remaining Gruyere and Fontina cheese, whisking until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a pie dish or shallow baking dish. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and golden around the edges. Serve warm.
What do I serve with cauliflower gratin? This twist on a french cauliflower gratin pairs beautifully with many entrees. Serve with beef roast, pork tenderloin, or roasted chicken. It would also be delicious with salmon, shrimp, or scallops.
Can I make gratin ahead of time? Yes, this dish can be made ahead of time. After combining the roasted cauliflower and cheese sauce in the baking dish, let cool, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Allow 5-10 minutes of additional bake time.
Can I freeze a gratin? For best results, I do not recommend freezing cauliflower gratin. Cauliflower has a high moisture content, and the texture may become mushy after freezing. Also dairy can separate after freezing, so the cheese sauce may not have as desirable of a consistency. It's best to eat any leftovers within 3-4 days.
More roasted vegetable recipes
- Roasted Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Green Beans with Orange Butter and Crispy Pancetta
- Pesto Cauliflower
- Roasted Radishes and Green Beans with Blue Cheese Butter
- Roasted Broccolini with Pistachios and Lemon
Roasted Cauliflower Gratin
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded
- 2 ounces Fontina cheese shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated + extra for topping
- parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Add the cauliflower florets to a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 12-15 minutes until the cauliflower is slightly charred and golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add the butter to a saucepan set over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour until combined. Cook for 1-2 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Whisk in the black pepper and nutmeg.
- Slowly add the milk and vegetable broth, whisking to incorporate. Cook for 2-4 minutes until thickened slightly.
- Add ½ the Gruyere and Fontina whisking to incorporate while the cheese melts. Repeat with the remaining half of the cheese. Once melted, whisk in the Parmesan and remove from the heat.
- Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a pie dish or shallow casserole. Pour the sauce over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and golden around the edges. Serve warm.