Monday, December 7, 2015

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon recipe

Fresh cauliflower is smothered in a creamy sauce then topped with a sprinkling of bacon and baked until bubbling with gooey melted cheeses; Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon receives two thumbs up from all of my kids every time I make it.

It never fails to amaze me that my kids who would never choose to eat cauliflower on its own will happily devour multiple servings of it when it is prepared this way. Of course, what's not to love about vegetables covered in a spicy cheese sauce and topped with bacon, right?

This Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon is an awesome side dish for almost any meal, but it's plenty hearty enough to be a main dish as well. For my meat loving family, I typically serve this with oven roasted or pan-fried chicken thighs.

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon
Yield: 6 servings as a side dish or 2-3 servings as a main dish
(printable recipe)

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded Pepper jack cheese, reserve a cup or so for topping
Optional: 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces and cooked until crisp

Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower. Remove all the leaves. Slice from the top to the bottom stem, into 1/4" thick slices. The cauliflower should basically fall apart. The idea is to create thin bite size pieces. Layer the cauliflower into the bottom of a baking dish, I use a 10-inch square or round dish. Season the slices generously with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the starch and whisk to combine. Add the milk and continue whisking until smooth and heated through. Add half of the cheese and stir to combine. Continue whisking until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth again.


Add the rest of the cheese (reserving about a cup's worth for topping) and stir again until the sauce is smooth and the cheese has completely melted. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with bacon, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden browned and bubbling. Enjoy!

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon recipe


{originally published 2/24/14 - notes and photos updated 12/7/15}

23 comments:

  1. Love cauliflower cheese and how good does this one look.

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  2. Cauliflower is my favourite cooked veggies, I need to try this! Looks perfect for a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish too.

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  3. Mmm, we're on the same bacon page today. Love the cauli in here!

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  4. Yummy! I had to drop out of the group because I had a conflict but I would have made my "mac n cheese' with cauli too! :)

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  5. Bacon + cheese were made for each other. Love this!!

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  6. I've been on a cauliflower kick lately and this looks amazing!

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  7. I think this looks decadent and delicious - everything is better with bacon!

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  8. I'm so in love with cauliflower, I just...can't even... WANT.

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  10. I really love roasted cauliflower. I can't wait to add some cheese to it!

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  11. I'm loving all the bacon and mac and cheese combinations!!! Thanks for helping us kick off this event!!! Can't wait to try all the recipes.

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  12. What a brilliant idea to substitute cauliflower for the macaroni!

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  13. Mary!! I HAVE to make this for my man!

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  14. Love cauliflower cheese! It's the only way I can enjoy cauliflower, but boy do I enjoy it! :D

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  15. Yum! I did a cauliflower sauce mac and cheese today. I cannot get over how creamy and delicious cauliflower can be. Plus the addition of bacon is always a plus! Thank you for helping us kick off Mac and Cheese Mania!

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  16. I love this recipe. Cauliflower is so under-rated by some folks. It's so versatile and we love the taste. This is perfection, I can't wait to try this.

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  17. I love this, I am a huge cauliflower fan. Unfortunately my family won't go near it. But maybe covering it in cheese would help!

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  18. I made this today and it is so delicious!!!

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  19. Hi Mary, I'm making this tonight. Realized I don't have cornstarch. I have plain and self rising flower. What - and how much - can I substitute? Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kim, I emailed you back, but just in case you missed that, you can substitute two tablespoons of regular flour for the cornstarch. It should work just fine.

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    2. O M G ! ! ! Mary, this was AWESOME!!! Thank you for your help. I think I'll start a pinterest board for Tried It & Liked It. This will be the first pin on it!! Love your recipes and how you are so good to reply to questions!

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