Cauliflower Cheese

I simply can’t go another day without talking about Cauliflower Cheese.  I was going to hold this one back for a special occasion, but then Sunset Magazine went and published my image on their Facebook page and suddenly everyone was clamoring for it.

Cauliflower Cheese is one of my childhood all-time favorite food memories; along with Sainsbury’s Steak and Kidney Pie and crinkle-cut chips (fries), and anything topped with mashed potatoes or smothered in cheese sauce.  And when I say cheese sauce, I am not referring to anything that comes out of a tube, a container of any kind, and / or glows in the dark, effectively reminding you of the last time you saw one of these.

If I remember correctly, I was making cheese sauce before I could tie my own shoelaces; and to be honest, although I didn’t look up a recipe for Cauliflower Cheese, or even surf the web for a cheese sauce, it doesn’t feel right taking kudos for this recipe.  I watched my mother make this countless times, usually while I was sitting atop the kitchen counter, swinging my legs and snatching a few shards of grated cheese whenever I thought she wasn’t looking.  Of course, she knew.  Mothers always do.

Cauliflower Cheese

My friend Steve, who lives in England and runs with wolves at the weekends, makes a fantastic Cauliflower Cheese.  I was the fortunate recipient of many a plateful back in the ’90s.  Yes, cauliflower in cheese sauce has had quite a part to play in my life over the years.  It’s one of my go-to comfort foods.

Jonathan wouldn’t approve – so let’s just keep this between ourselves – but sometimes I’ll just eat the entire dish of cauliflower cheese and call it good for dinner.  It’s awesome; despite the fact that I can hear Bailor babbling in my brain, “Where’s the protein?”  Word to the wise, if you’re like me and do the Cauliflower Cheese deal for dinner one night, make sure you’ve had all your protein earlier in the day.  That should keep Bailor bubbling, rather than babbling.  You can think of his smiling face as you watch the cheese sauce bubbling under the grill (broiler).

Cauliflower Cheese

This isn’t something I eat all the time – the milk and cheese make it less SANE than most things I cook – but for me it’s a simply wonderful thing to throw in among all the *SANEity, and I can’t imagine any other way I’d eat an entire cauliflower in one sitting.

If you struggle with getting your veggies in, this might be a good way to help get you there.  When we were in the studio recording the other day, Jonathan confessed that he spent most of his life hating vegetables, and now look at him.  I am thinking of having him change his name to Jonathan Vegetable Bailor.

Whatever will help you get there, do it.  Add them to smoothies, turn them into soups, cover them in cheese sauce.  Whatever works.  Just enjoy.

In other news – it’s always fun to almost set the kitchen on fire. As long as it’s almost. Kitchen Tip of the Day: Always turn the burner off before you lay tea towels over it. Always.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Cauliflower Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 2 cups / 1 pint milk ( thin coconut, almond
  • 1 oz. / 30g butter
  • 1 tsp. konjac flour (glucomannan powder)
  • 5 oz / 140g strong Cheddar cheese, grated (shredded)
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Discard the outer leaves of the cauliflower and separate the head into florets.
  2. Steam florets in a steamer for 15 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife.
  3. Place florets in a baking dish, head side up.
  4. Meanwhile, place 1 cup of the milk and the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until hot.
  5. In a small bowl rapidly whisk the konjac flour and the remaining cup of milk to make a smooth slurry.
  6. Reduce the heat under the saucepan to low, and stirring constantly add the flour slurry to the pan.
  7. Stir until the sauce has thickened and then simmer for 1 minute.
  8. Add 4 oz / 110g of the cheese and stir well.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Once the cheese has completely melted, giving you a smooth, thick sauce, pour it evenly over the cauliflower florets.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top of the sauce.
  12. Place under a hot broiler (grill) until the top is lightly browned and bubbling.

Cauliflower Cheese

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

liz - Like you I too LOVE cauliflower cheese but since becoming vegan it has been of the cards.
Have you tried using an alternative milk? Whizzing almonds in Vitamix with water. This would also add protein- or even hemp.
I substitute Yeast flakes and mustard to give a ‘cheese’ sauce with ground cashew nuts.

carrie - You can sub out any milk you prefer – coconut, hemp, almond – I just still like the taste of cow’s milk better :-) The yeast / mustard / ground cashews is interesting!!

Ladyp1234 - I am eating this now. I looked at the pile of veg (broccoli and courgette cos I forgot to buy cauli!) covered by the sauce and thought I’m never going to enjoy those veg, but I am enjoying it sooooooo much. And the kids have got it too,all with pork steaks on the side. Yum, and thanks.

carrie - Hurrah for cheese sauce to make all veggies fabulous!! :-D

ggtexs - Carrie, is this whole milk you are using? just checking cause I only have 2% for the kiddos in the fridge…

carrie - Use whatever milk you fancy!

Ggtexs - One last question! I can’t find garbanzo bean flower anywhere!!!! what can i use instead?

carrie - Ggtexs – chick pea flour or ground chick peas = garbanzo bean flour. You can also use coconut flour.

Kevin Burnham - Lovin the Cauliflower Cheese Carrie like you im a brit but still in country and have loved this since i was a kid. Ive used rice flour(insane) and thought coconut or almond flour be good have you tried them as thickeners. Would you need to make them like a roux frying flour with the butter then adding the milk slowly or is that just for the old style wheat flour.
By the way i love the outer leaves of the Cauli chopped into smaller scices and steamed with the rest also lovely adding carrot to the dish and for a real treat( and to keep Jonathan happy ( surely the cheese counts for some protein) i add crispy bacon into the cheese sauce and ALWAYS ALWAYS in add slices of tomato right along the centre line of the top of the sauce laden flowers then add the grated cheese on top and brown under the grill to finish….delish!!!!!!
Kev
PS we get Cathedral City lower fat cheese here which is fantastic for browning up when grilled works better than real cheddar parmesan etc .. Worth knowing must be the higher protein profile …

carrie - I love this, Kevin!!! I should do a Cauliflower Cheese 2.0 post – Kev’s Cauliflower Cheese Supreme :-) Coconut flour will work, almond flour not. No need to make a roux as it does not need to be cooked like wheat / corn flour. yes, the cheese will add a *little* protein, but really you’re just adding more carbs. Love the whole bacon and tomato deal!! Can you send me a picture next time you make it? I expect the low-fat cheese browning thing is more to do with higher sugar profile, but I’d have to read the label to know. Great to have you here!

Kevin - Thx Carrie will take a shot of next bake. Coconut flour it is too. My son Tom showed me a good idea for the sauce he made for roast leeks with dinner lat night. He simmered flax/linseeds in the milk with juniper berries for flavour too then strained and it makes it really velvety. You only then need a tiny amount of your flower to bolster it and less cheese or the same but it has more flavour. Apparently its the protien in the flax ( he is a 19 yr old chemistry student who loved Heston B so he would know) may try this too

Also i forgot we always add english mustard to the sauce adds a great back note.

Keep up the gtreat work Carrie flours and gum bought start baking some of your stuff soon when decorating done

dennis daniels - great stuff

Matt - Carrie,

I’m finding that I’m having a difficult time getting the sauce to thicken when I make this. The first time I made it, it was really runny, and I ended up throwing most of it out. I’ve since tried it again, and essentially cranked the temperature once I mix in the slurry and stirred it through a rapid boil until it thickened, and that seemed to work alright. Just wondering if I’m missing something, or if maybe I just need to use more heat when I make it.

Thank you, and thank you for all of the wonderful recipes :)

Tessa - I also had trouble getting this to thicken. It has a good flavor but was very runny. Is the key “slow and low” or do I need a higher heat? Also, are you measuring the cheese by weight or volume? By my measuring cup I actually added 6 oz. but by the scale I only added 2. Please clarify. Thanks for the recipe.

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