Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce, a quick and easy recipe that makes a fantastic side dish or a vegetarian alternative to a traditional roast join. The bechamel sauce is cheesy and delicious, giving the cauliflower the wow factor.
Cauliflower Cheese must be one of my favourite side dishes. And if you add bacon to it, it really can't get any better than that. But how about a whole roasted cauliflower, rather than cooked florets? It's as delicious, and really simple too. The cooking time is just a tiny bit longer, all depending on the size of the cauliflower head.
If you have embraced a vegetarian lifestyle or you simply fancy a meat-free dish from time to time, this whole roasted cauliflower is a great recipe for you. It's simple enough for anyone to cook, but also posh enough to be served as your main meal on a special occasion.
Otherwise, just serve it with your favourite roast as a side after breaking it into florets, and you are good to go. I opted for a delicious bechamel sauce, as it works so well with it, but you can add any seasoning of your choice.
- cauliflower head
- butter - I prefer salted for the sauce
- flour - plain flour should do
- milk - full-fat milk is preferred, but semi-skimmed is also ok
- grated cheddar cheese
- dijon mustard
- black pepper
Step-by-step photos and instructions
Pre-boiling the cauliflower reduces the roasting time considerably, otherwise it will not be tender enough. and chances are it might burn before it's proper cooked.
- remove any leaves that are around the cauliflower
- place it in a pan large and deep enough for the cauliflower head to be completely submerged in water
- bring it to a boil, and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is starting to become tender, but it's still holding its shape well and has a slight bite to it
- meanwhile, make the bechamel or cheese sauce
NOTE! The sauce is made by melting the butter, adding the flour to make a thick paste, then pouring the milk in for a silky smooth sauce. Add the grated cheese, dijon mustard and black pepper, and you have the best cheesy sauce.
- once the cauliflower is ready, place it on a roasting tray, and pour the sauce all over it
- roast it at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling hot
This recipe is really straightforward, and it's hard to go wrong with it. A very few notes though. Make sure the sauce is not made in advance, otherwise it hardens, and it will be difficult to pour it all over the cauliflower head. If it does harden a bit, just place it on the stove for a minute or so to warm it up gently.
No need for an awful lot of sauce, this sticks very well to the cauliflower, so a little amount goes a long way. You can sprinkle some more grated cheese over if you wish, although it's not compulsory, the sauce is already cheesy.
Make sure you roast it in the middle rack of your oven, so it can roast evenly rather than the top browning too quickly. Otherwise, enjoy a fabulous dish, you are in for a treat!
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
- 1 cauliflower head
- 15 g butter (½ oz)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Remove any leaves from the cauliflower, then add it to a deep and large enough pan filled with boiled salted water.
- Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is beginning to soften, but still has a slight bite to it.
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk well.
- Pour in the milk, and whisk continuously to get a smooth sauce.
- Add the cheese, dijon mustard and black pepper.
- When the cauliflower is ready, arrange it on a roasting tray, and pour the sauce all over it.
- Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling hot.
- Pre-boiling the cauliflower reduces the roasting time considerably, otherwise it will not be tender enough. and chances are it might burn before it's proper cooked.