How to Bake a Cauliflower Casserole in an Oven
After researching healthy foods to add to my diet, cauliflower stood out like a large boulder in a riverbed of tiny rocks. So naturally, I had to add this amazing vegetable to my weekly grocery list. Learning how to cook it so that I would enjoy its flavor seemed like a huge challenge in the beginning. Now, it is easy stuff and I look forward to cooking and eating it every week for both its flavor and nutritional value.
How to Steam Cauliflower
For the recipe that follows, you will first want to steam your cauliflower. This is very easy to do and quick as well. According to Grethe Iren Borge, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, “From 20 to 50 percent of the vitamins, minerals and healthy plant matter can go down the drain with the used water if the vegetables are boiled.”
Directions for steaming cauliflower:
- Rinse cauliflower and remove leaves.
- Cut florets off of cauliflower and into smaller pieces.
- Place florets in a colander that will fit inside steaming pot.
- Fill the steaming pot with 1-2 inches of water and boil.
- Place the colander into steaming pot and steam for 8-10 minutes (firm but done), 15-20 minutes (soft and mashable)—your preference.
How to Steam Cauliflower
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 head cauliflower, steamed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil bottom of casserole dish to prevent sticking.
- Steam cauliflower until tender and soft. Spread cooked cauliflower evenly in casserole dish.
- Melt butter in saucepan. Remove pot from burner and stir flour into melted butter and stir quickly to bind the two ingredients until no lumps appear.
- Return pot to burner and immediately begin adding cream to mixture while stirring. Burner should be set at a high temperature.
- After all the cream is added and is a thick consistency, begin adding milk, stirring constantly. Mixture should thicken after a few minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt. If you like spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir in shredded cheddar until melted.
- Pour cheesy sauce even over cauliflower. Place in the preheated oven and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. For a crispy brown top, turn on broiler for 1-2 minutes at the end of the cook time.
Have you tried it?
Tips and Tricks
- Add salt at the end. Flavor is stronger and less is needed.
- Store covered in the refrigerator and eat all week long.
- Serve as a meal.
- Use different cheeses: parmesan, Havarti, white cheddar—yum!
- Omit cheese for a simple buttery cream sauce.
- For faster prep, use frozen cauliflower.
- To add some color, use purple or green cauliflower.
- Sprinkle top with cheese for extra cheesy, crispy topping.
Nutritional Info About This Powerhouse
According to the American Diabetes Association, or ADA, cauliflower is classified as a non-starchy vegetable. Erin Coleman, a registered and licensed dietitian, confirms, "It’s low in calories and carbohydrates and an excellent addition to any healthy meal plan, including diabetic and low-carb diets. Although cauliflower does contain some carbohydrates, the amount of carbs is much lower than starchy vegetables, like corn, peas, and potatoes."
Just last week, my 81-year-old, pre-diabetic stepfather was told by his doctor that his sugar intake was too high and that he had to lay off the starchy carbohydrates. That was a crushing blow for this meat and potatoes man. So I paid him a visit and showed him how delicious my cheesy cauliflower casserole can be. He loved it.
Here are some amazing nutritional facts about cauliflower:
- Very low in saturated fat and cholesterol
- A good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus
- A good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese.
Source: Self Nutrition Data
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Aids a healthy digestion providing fiber
- High in antioxidants
Source: All the Best Diets
- Helps reduce cancer risk
- Decreases risk for heart disease and brain disorders
- Aids in weight loss
- Helps balance hormones
- Preserves eye health
Source: Dr. Axe