Crisp-tender cauliflower baked in a silky sauce flavored with onions and thyme, topped with crisp breadcrumbs and pungent Gruyere cheese equals delicious make ahead Monday!
I absolutely love cauliflower – I know, I say that about everything, but it happens to be my favorite vegetable. I know a lot of people dislike cauliflower for whatever reason, but with this gratin recipe, even the top cauliflower critics will change their minds!
Cauliflower has always been my favorite vegetable – even as a kid. Whenever I would spend time at my Grammy Al’s house she would always take me to the grocery store and let me pick out a few things that I wanted to eat while at her house. Now, most kids would choose candy, cookies, chips or some other form of junk food, but not me – I always went for the cauliflower! I’d gladly take it steamed, boiled, roasted, even raw, but this recipe makes it something special.
Sometimes it’s nice to go meatless for a night (for me it’s most nights) during the week. I know I’m always looking for new ways to eat my veggies, and what a better way than baked gratin style? Seriously, if you love potatoes au gratin, you’re going to love this!
The sauce is much lighter than a classic gratin – onions are cooked in a little butter and olive oil, thickened up with some flour, and made creamy with low-fat milk. Toss in some fresh thyme and your cauliflower and pour in your baking dish. I top with a little cheese and breadcrumbs – it gives you a great cheesy, crunchy crust, and makes you think you’re eating something really indulgent.
I’m choosing to serve the gratin as a main dish alongside a salad, but you can easily make this as a side dish to chicken or fish. It’s very simple to put together and perfect for making ahead, which means it would also be a great addition to your holiday dinner menu!
This gratin is a perfect meal on its own, or as a side dish. Oh, and if you’re wondering – the cauliflower I used is homegrown!
| Serves: 4-6 | Prep Time: 20 Min | Bake Time: 45 Min |
4 Cups Cauliflower, from 1 large head, cut into florets
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tsp. Fresh Thyme, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Milk
¼ Cup Gruyere Cheese, grated
¼ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 425º.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the cauliflower until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are soft; season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and mix well; cook for about 1 minute and then add the milk. Allow the milk to come to a simmer and slightly thicken, and then add the cauliflower and toss to coat.
In a small bowl mix together the Gruyere and panko; set aside.
Pour the mixture into a 9×9-baking dish and top with the cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Bake the gratin at 425º for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.