Cheesy Cauliflower


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 1½ cups milk

  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, grated salt and pepper

  • optional additions: breadcrumbs
    1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    4 scallions, finely chopped 1 lemon, zested
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1/2 tsp thyme


Set the oven to 400 °F.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the salt and the cauliflower, then leave it for 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, butter a baking dish large enough to comfortably accommodate all the cauliflower. I usually use a pie dish. Drain the water from the cauliflower and pour it into the baking dish.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and bay leaf, then cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir quickly. The flour-butter mixture is called a roux.

You want the roux to get just a little brown; this will probably take another minute. Slowly add the milk to the pot, stirring all the while to incorporate the roux.

Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring every now and then to make sure the sauce doesn’t get scorched on the bottom.

Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Drop in any additions at this point. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as needed. You should have a creamy, smooth, savory sauce.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Place the dish in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly. You can also add some breadcrumbs to the top of the dish before baking if you like extra crunch.

Enjoy with a green salad, and try it with salsa on top.

This recipe features creamy, cheesy sauce over cauliflower, baked in the oven until the edges get crunchy and bubbly. It’s like a healthier and more flavorful version of macaroni and cheese. Alternatively, try this with broccoli or cooked winter squash—everyone will love it.

Recipe reprinted from Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, courtesy Leanne Brown.