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Quick and Easy Cauliflower Cheese Recipe

I used to help in our family restaurant, and I love good food. I enjoy thinking up creative ways to use leftovers to avoid food waste.

Cauliflower cheese in a metal baking dish

Cauliflower cheese in a metal baking dish

Cauliflower Cheese: Easy Vegetarian Recipe in Just 10 Minutes

Cauliflower cheese is a traditional English dish that is both delicious and nourishing. I love this dish—it's so simple to make that even a beginner would find it easy.

It is nutritious, looks good and tastes delicious—comfort food at its finest. It can be used as a great vegetarian main course or as an accompaniment to other food.

In order to prevent it from becoming a bit mushy and strong-smelling while cooking, the secret is to only parcook, or partially cook, the cauliflower before pouring the sauce over it, because it will carry on cooking in the oven.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

25 min

35 min

4 servings

Equipment Needed

Assemble your equipment before starting:

  • Large oven-proof dish
  • Large saucepan
  • Small saucepan, preferably non-stick
  • Tablespoon for measuring
  • Wooden spoon for mixing
  • Cheese grater

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 ounce butter
  • 3/4 pint milk
  • 1teaspoon mixed Herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Optional additions:

  • Pinch crushed chilli seeds or paprika
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 red pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash the cauliflower and cut it up into florets. You can also use the leaves, cut small.
  2. Cover the cauliflower with water, and boil for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7 (250).
  4. Then remove the partly cooked cauliflower from the water and put it in an oven-proof dish, retaining the water for later use.
  5. Meanwhile, whilst the cauliflower is boiling, melt the butter in a saucepan, preferably non-stick, over low heat.
  6. Add the flour, a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, to make a roux (a thick paste). Keep stirring the mixture and pressing it against the side of the pan, to prevent lumps forming. Once you have made the roux, gradually add the milk, a very little at a time, stirring constantly to make a smooth paste, and squashing out the lumps. Keep stirring until you have added all the milk and it gradually thickens. If you are short of milk, you can use some of the water in which the cauliflower was boiled.
  7. Add most of the grated cheese, holding back about 1 tablespoonful, which will be used to sprinkle over the top in due course.
  8. Continue stirring, being careful to scrape the mixture from the bottom of the pan, as it will have a tendency to stick to the base and sides. When it comes to the boil, it should have the consistency of thick but not solid custard. If it is too thick, add a little of the vegetable water until it is slightly runny, but not sloppy. Whilst you are stirring, add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. If you like a slight tang, add a few chilli seeds or paprika (see photo). Remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as it has boiled.
  9. Mix any further optional vegetables (chopped onion, chopped garlic, and/or chopped red pepper) in with the cauliflower and then pour the sauce over it, covering all the cauliflower. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top.
  10. Place the oven-proof dish in the oven for about 20 minutes on the top shelf, until it is lightly browned.
  11. Then serve.
  12. You can choose whether you want the top to be pale brown as in the photo below, or darker brown like the one in the introductory photograph.

Photo Guide

Boil the cauliflower.

Boil the cauliflower.

The cauliflower should be only lightly cooked.

The cauliflower should be only lightly cooked.

Grated cheese

Grated cheese

The cheese sauce

The cheese sauce

The finished cauliflower cheese. Some people like it like this; others prefer it to be more browned on top, like the one in the introductory photo.

The finished cauliflower cheese. Some people like it like this; others prefer it to be more browned on top, like the one in the introductory photo.

Variations and Additional Vegetables

The traditional dish is simply cauliflower cheese, but I frequently add leeks, and occasionally I add sliced lightly fried onion, courgette, kale, and/or broccoli—just whatever I have available or that needs to be used up.

Doctors Say We Should Eat at Least Five Pieces of Fruit or Vegetable a Day

Video: Cheese Sauce

© 2010 Diana Grant

Do leave a comment! I love to get feedback (no pun intended).

Martha DeMeo from Little River, South Carolina on June 20, 2020:

I love cauliflower and cheese and have made a dish similar to this, even with broccoli. Thanks for sharing a delicious recipe.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on January 26, 2020:

I like cauliflower cheese. I like cauliflower with macaroni cheese too, in fact, probably anything with cheese sauce or even just cheese! I like to add a teaspoon of mustard powder to my cheese sauce to give more of a bite. I might try some chilli flakes in the next one though, I haven't tried that, not have I tried adding extra vegetables, like broccoli and leeks. That would be a nice change. Thanks.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 26, 2020:

Oh, good. I'm always looking for vegetarian recipes, and this is a keeper. Would I cook in on say 350 degrees F in my electric oven?

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on February 23, 2014:

This looks great, and I just happen to have a cauliflower in the fridge! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 23, 2014:

@RPWag: If you are not used to cooking much, you need to look out for "quick and easy recipes" - I've even done pages on how to cook vegetables - I hadn't a clue how to cook anything whatsoever when I left home, apart from toast, so I like to explain the basics to people who haven't got a helpful mother-in-law like I had.

RPWag on February 23, 2014:

I really do love quite a few vegetables, but hardly ever eat them. Easy recepies may be the answer. Thank you

David Stone from New York City on February 20, 2014:

Nice simple recipe with foods I really like. Nice to learn about it.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 20, 2014:

@BritFlorida: That's great, thank you so much

CherylsArt on February 20, 2014:

It looks and sounds good. : )

Jackie Jackson from Fort Lauderdale on February 20, 2014:

Just to let you know that I added this to the British recipes page at https://hubpages.com/food/british-recipes - if you have more,let me know :)

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on July 29, 2013:

@Lorelei Cohen: Or you could even have both

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on July 29, 2013:

@Raymond Eagar: Me too

anitabreeze on July 28, 2013:

This looks great, will try it out for sure!

Lorelei Cohen on July 28, 2013:

Looks delicious. I would substitute the red pepper with broccoli. Oooooh so good.

Raymond Eagar on July 28, 2013:

I love cauliflower

Avi Wolfson from Massachusetts on June 23, 2013:

Great recipe, I use the Orgreenic frying pan, it works great!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on January 21, 2013:

I will sure have to try your Cauliflower Cheese Recipe. I love cauliflower but forget about purchasing it and cooking it. Thanks for the heads up on a great sounding recipe.

Frischy from Kentucky, USA on January 18, 2013:

This sounds delicious and might be a way to get my cheese-loving daughter to eat cauliflower! I'm going to give it a try!

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on January 18, 2013:

@BarbaraCasey: Delighted and bon appetit!

BarbaraCasey on January 18, 2013:

Printed and in the recipe binder!

mrsclaus411 on May 08, 2012:

Looks delicious.

poutine on April 26, 2012:

Must try it soon. sounds so delicious.

anonymous on April 26, 2012:

Oh, this cauliflower cheese is now on my must try list of recipes. It sounds wonderful! My Aunt used to fix something similar only she used cabbage and it was always so good.

bjslapidary on April 12, 2011:

What a great recipe. Can't wait to try it. Again you have the best lens. Great work.

LikinTrikin LM on February 26, 2011:

Oh that looks soooo YUMMY....my husband is the cook in the family can't wait to share this with him.

myraggededge on February 19, 2011:

I lurve cauliflower cheese. We have it at least once a week, often with added leeks (being in Wales, see?). Blessed :-)

anonymous on February 19, 2011:

Nice lens

knit1tat2 on February 19, 2011:

excellent sounding recipie, and thanks for sharing it with us! Next cauliflower I get, will go into this!

mockingbird999 on February 18, 2011:

Cauliflower and cheese is one of my favorites. I haven't had it in ages. Now I'm hungry for it.

Sniff It Out on February 03, 2011:

I love cauliflower cheese, I agree about not overcooking the cauliflower, its not nearly as nice if it goes mushy.