The Cheesiest Cauliflower Cheese Recipes
Cauliflower cheese has always been a family favourite, not just because it tastes great, but because it’s also quick, easy and relatively inexpensive to make.
The simplest version involves boiling or steaming the cauliflower; making and pouring over a cheese sauce; topping with grated cheese or breadcrumbs; and baking in the oven. A more classy version calls for the addition of bacon and leeks. But it doesn’t stop there because there are also lots of options when it comes to the cheese sauce, depending both on taste and dietary needs. With high fat, low carb gaining popularity worldwide, some people will want to omit the flour and breadcrumbs. Those on low fat diets will want to cut the fat off the bacon.
For me it’s the best of both worlds: bring on the bacon and sneak on a few breadcrumbs!
Simple Cauliflower Cheese
This is the one I’ve made all my life and imagine is based on what my grandmother used to make because I’ve never needed a recipe.
- 1 large cauliflower steamed in a covered pot with just enough lightly salted water to cover the stalk at the base
- 600 ml milk brought just to the boil (you’ll see tiny bubbles appearing)
- 50 g each of butter and flour
- about two cups grated cheddar cheese (mature cheddar will give considerably more flavour to the dish)
- salt, pepper and a tiny bit of grated nutmeg to taste
As far as I’m concerned, the secret of a good cauliflower cheese – whichever way you decide to cook it – is to avoid overcooking the cauli. That’s why I like to steam it in just enough lightly salted water to cover the bottom stalk. That way the bottom stalk stays soft, but the florets don’t go mushy. Put the cooked cauliflower in a round dish that is deep enough to hold the sauce and set aside.
While the cauliflower is cooking make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pot and then stir in the flour. Bring the milk to the boil, take off the heat before it begins to bubble over, and add progressively, no more than a third at a time. I generally take it off the heat while adding the milk and then return to the stove stirring while it thickens. Once it has thickened so that it is still easily pourable, remove from the heat and add about two thirds of the cheese, stirring until it has all melted. Season with salt, pepper and mustard.
Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and a little paprika.
Serve with sausages and a wholesome salad.
Two Cheese Cauliflower Cheese
- 2 medium sized cauliflowers, centre stem trimmed and leaves removed
- 60 ml (4 Tbsp) butter
- 250 g pack of back bacon, sliced or diced
- bunch of medium-sized leeks, thinly sliced
- 1-2 big cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- bay leaf
- 5 ml (1 tsp) dried thyme
- 100 ml flour
- 125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
- 750 ml milk or cream
- 15 ml (1Tbsp) dry English mustard
- 15 ml (1 Tbsp) lemon juice
- 375 g (1½ cups) grated Cheddar cheese
- 125 g (½ cup) grated Pecorino or Parmesan
- 125 ml (½ cup) thin cream
- salt, coarsely ground black pepper and grated nutmeg to taste
- about 250 ml (1 cup) very fine breadcrumbs lightly friend in a hefty lump of butter and a handful of grated cheese; cayenne pepper