Cauliflower cheese is the type of indulgent side dish we like to see on a dinner table during the cold winter months.
Cauliflower cheese is a perfect comfort food side dish for any warming roast dinner, or even on the big day itself as part of your Christmas dinner celebrations! You can also serve this recipe as as a delicious stand alone meal served with a side of green veg, because who doesn’t love a cheesy dish for dinner?
This deliciously cheesy dish will be on the table in no time! A classic vegetable dish combining cooked cauliflower florets with a rich and creamy cheese sauce, it’s super simple to pull together. To make this quick cauliflower cheese you’ll need to use a well-flavoured mature Cheddar for the sauce and for an extra cheese flavour boost you can add some crumbled Stilton or a little finely grated Gruyère or Parmesan cheese.
Cauliflower cheese makes the perfect accompaniment to any grilled meat or poultry. Plus, it’s a perfect vegetarian-friendly side dish.
- 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 600ml milk
- 100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 5-6 mins or until just tender. Drain well and tip the florets into a large ovenproof gratin dish.
Heat the butter in a pan until melted, then quickly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook over a low heat, stirring, for 2 mins. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring frequently.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in nearly all the cheese. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour over the cauliflower. Scatter over the rest of the cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 mins until the top is golden and bubbling.
If you fancy adding a twist to the traditional cauliflower cheese recipe, add breadcrumbs and cherry tomatoes to the top of your dish once cooked. Pop back under the grill for a couple of minutes to brown the breadcrumbs.
Top tip for making Cauliflower cheese
For a mixed vegetable gratin replace half the cauliflower with broccoli florets and green beans and add a handful of cherry tomatoes to the dish before pouring over the sauce.
When buying a cauliflower for your veggie dish choose one that has firm creamy-white florets with no blemishes or brown patches and crisp green outer leaves. If you want to add a bit of colour to your dish, buy a broccoli too, chop it up and mix it in with your cauliflower to make it a cauliflower and broccoli cheese. Switch to the grill for the last five minutes of cooking for a crispy top.
If your cauliflower cheese has become watery it is likely due to overcooking! Cauliflower is full of water so as it cooks it breaks down and releases into your sauce. Never fear - to help thicken up your watery cauliflower cheese in a seperate bowl mix one tablespoon of flour or cornstarch for every two tablespoons of your cheese sauce until you reach the thickness you desire!