Cauliflower is one of the best veggies to serve as a side dish, and it certainly pleases a crowd. Another plus? It has more than a few health benefits. According to Healthline, cauliflower is full of nutrients, and it also might lessen your chance of developing cancer and heart disease. In addition, it’s low in calories and jam-packed with vitamins. Needless to say, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that this veggie has plenty of pros to it. Add a little bit of cheesy goodness to the dish and bake it, and what more could you even ask for in a tasty side?
Honestly, this recipe is so good, you’ll find yourself wanting to make it time and time again for the family and whenever you have company over, no matter the time of year. Recipe developer and private practice registered dietician Kristen Carli is the creator of this incredibly simple, cheesy dish. "YUM! This is a great one," she shares. "I love that this is a way to sneak in those veggies. Kids love this one!" If this will help us convince the kids and any picky eaters in the family to eat some veggies, then we’re all for it.
Now that your mouth is watering, it’s probably a good time to get started so that you can enjoy this healthy and flavor-filled dish as soon as possible.
Gather the ingredients to prepare this cheesy baked cauliflower
Another excellent part about this recipe is that you won’t need a lot to throw it together. As a matter of fact, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already. (Avoiding a long trip to the grocery store is always a major plus!)
For starters, you’ll need to gather a head of cauliflower cut into florets. In addition, the recipe calls for heavy whipping cream and unsalted butter. A lot of the flavor from this recipe is from spices, which include onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Last but not least is the sharp cheddar cheese that gives this recipe an extra special and delicious touch. Now that you have all of your ingredients rounded up and ready to go, it’s time to begin!
Prep the cauliflower, and preheat the oven to 375 F
For starters, preheat the oven to 375 F so your oven will be hot and ready to go when it’s time to pop in the cauliflower. Next, steam the cauliflower for about five minutes so it gets soft. There are a few ways you can steam the veggies, and both ways will produce great results. "I usually will use a microwaveable steamer to steam veggies," Carli says. "You could always use a pot with a lid."
Create the cheese mixture for your cauliflower
Now it’s time to get out a medium saucepan, and add your cream, butter, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Make sure you stir it on occasion so it blends well. Once it starts simmering, remove the pot from the heat, and sprinkle in 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese. Continue to stir to combine everything well. When the cheese melts, it’s good to go.
Last but not least, stir the cauliflower into the creamy, delicious mix. Your cauliflower will be absolutely covered in cheesy perfection, and get excited, because you’re one step closer to enjoying it!
Prep the baking dish
Get out an 8×8-inch baking dish for the cauliflower. This is what you will use for the baking step. Spray the dish generously with nonstick cooking spray to ensure nothing sticks to the plate when it’s finished baking. Trust us on this one — you won’t want to waste any of this delicious side dish. Next, pour the cheesy cauliflower mix into the baking dish, and top the cauliflower off with the remaining shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Set your timer for 20 minutes, and toss the dish in the oven to bake.
Take the cauliflower out, and enjoy
Once your timer goes off, take the cauliflower out of the oven. The dish is best when served hot, so once it cools off just a bit (so you don’t burn your tongue), you can dig in and enjoy it. Carli shares that this side pairs so well "with a protein such as honey garlic chicken or roasted salmon." As for leftovers? There is a good possibility that you won’t have any — this baked cauliflower is just that good. But if you do have any, they will be good for up to five days if stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, add the heavy whipping cream, unsalted butter, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once simmering, remove the pot from the heat, and add 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese. Stir to combine, until the mixture is melted.
- Stir the steamed cauliflower into the cheese mixture.
- Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pour the cheesy cauliflower into baking dish, and top it off with the remaining shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes.