Our loaded cauliflower casserole recipe showcases a hidden aspect of the tiny trees.
When someone mentions vegetables, we immediately think of the usual salads, sautés, soups, and such. Of course, they’re all tasty, but once in a while, something different would be nice.
Today’s recipe transforms cauliflower into a super creamy bake with bacon and cheese on top. It is literally loaded with creaminess and flavor, making for the ultimate, deliciously appealing, comfort food.
And as with our other recipes, we designed this loaded cauliflower casserole recipe to be healthy so you can indulge without feeling the guilt. We’ll share how we did it in this article.
What Is a Casserole That’s “Loaded”?
A casserole is a baking dish filled with different ingredients and cooked slowly in the oven. A casserole recipe can call for anything, from vegetables and meat, to even pasta.
A ‘loaded’ casserole defines the casserole as having a lot of one particular ingredient, typically the main ingredient and a dairy product. It’s a go-to if you want to treat yourself with something creamy and indulging.
We love this vegetable’s versatility. It’s crunchy when eaten raw but becomes more and more tender as it cooks down.
In this recipe, we want to highlight its tenderness. It’s first steamed to fork-tenderness, then fused with the cream sauce in the oven.
To cut back on the prep time, you can use frozen cauliflower. It requires 5 minutes longer of steaming, but you’ll save time on chopping and washing, so we think it’s more convenient.
2. Flavorful Cream Sauce
The base of this sauce is a roux and milk.
A roux is made by cooking flour and butter together in a pan. After the butter has melted, flour should be stirred in quickly so it’s evenly cooked.
Next, milk is added to the roux, and as the two incorporate, the milk thickens and reaches a creamy consistency. This ‘sauce’ was still a little thick at this stage, so we added a good amount of broth to loosen it a little, and provide some extra savoriness.
All that it needed now was flavor. We seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder — the base of the flavor in many dishes.
To add an extra hint of sweetness, we sautéd minced garlic with the butter before adding the flour. It later formed a coating for the florets, which we think you will love.
After we placed the florets and cream in the baking dish, we topped it off with cheese and bacon. We used cheddar for its appetizing golden color and the bacon crumbles that we had made earlier.
It won’t look like a lot but we don’t recommend adding too much as it can pile on the saturated fat levels, and you want to save room for the main dish that is served with it.
4. Fresh Herbs
As the casserole came together, we sprinkled freshly chopped parsley and scallions on top to garnish.
You can boil water in a fast-boiling kettle and then pour it into the pot to cut down on waiting time. You can also place the florets in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover it with cling wrap, and microwave for 7 minutes.
If you can’t find frozen cauliflower, you can make them at home. This article about making frozen broccoli will help you as the process is similar.
We used parsley and green onions to garnish, but you can swap the onions for chives. Their peppery, more pungent aroma might be more to your taste.
How to Store and Reheat Casserole
If you plan to eat the leftovers within one week, cover the whole baking dish with cling wrap and refrigerate it. To keep them for longer, we recommend storing them in the freezer.
To freeze the casserole, portion it out into containers and seal them tightly. You can seal them with cling wrap or use Ziploc bags if you don’t have airtight containers.
To reheat, transfer the casserole into a room-temp container — a larger one if you’re reheating many servings. Cover it with foil to avoid burning the top, and bake at 430°F for 10 minutes (20 minutes if it’s frozen).
Instead of baking, you can also microwave the container on high for 2 minutes (7 minutes if it’s frozen).
More Cauliflower Recipes Here
Who knew cauliflowers could be the key ingredient of indulgent foods? Well if you’re in the mood for sneaking this delightful veggie into your “cheat” food, give these recipes a try:
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
Loaded cauliflower casserole is a healthy alternative to traditional loaded potato dishes.