Creamed Cauliflower

June 23, 2010

I went a little crazy when I was buying for my Father’s Day veggie tray. The platter was full and I still had green cauliflower left on the counter. I’ve always been fascinated by the bright Crayola yellow-green coloring. It definitely tastes different than the white cauliflower. I would say it’s more mild. Some people think it has a nutty taste to it, since mine was smothered in cheesy goodness, it was hard to tell.

The green cauliflower is actually white cauliflower that has been bred with the chlorophyll compound from broccoli. Designer for sure. Something I learned online this evening – Do not store cauliflower near apples, bananas or melons… as these fruits contain ethylene gas and are harmful to cauliflower – interesting, a sealed Ziploc it is. I tend to mix veggies and fruit because I buy way more veggies than fruit and I need the extra drawer space in the fridge. I don’t like room temperature apples or melon – gotta keep those chilled.

I spent Monday searching for cauliflower recipes online. I found one on myrecipes.com for Creamed Cauliflower with Herbed Crumb Topping (originally from Cooking Light, December 2004) and adapted it because I wanted a smaller portion and I didn’t want to make breadcrumbs from sourdough bread… I already had panko crumbs.

The Ingredients:

Got a little crazy with the ingredient photos – was trying out a different camera setting – so nice… half the ingredients are missing, hah!

1 Head of Cauliflower
3 oz. Panko Bread Crumbs
3 Chopped Leeks
4 Cloves Smashed Garlic
3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 3/4 Cup 2% Reduced Fat Milk
1 Teaspoon Salt – Divided
1 Cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (Expensive, but worth getting a nice chunk)
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Thyme
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

I put the cauliflower in a container and steamed it in the microwave with about 1.5 inches of water for 6 minutes. The recipe said to boil it in water, but I wanted to speed up the process… worked perfectly. While the cauliflower was steaming, I got the leeks washed and cut. I cheated this time and bought pre-washed packages from Trader Joe’s – they still needed a little washing – but it too helped with speeding up the process.

I added the chopped leeks to a sauté pan that had 1 tablespoon butter and 3 garlic cloves already in it. I sautéed them for about 6-7 minutes until tender.

The next step was to combine the flour and the milk. I stirred with the whisk and then added the mixture to the pan with the leeks.

I continued to stir until the sauce thickened – took about 2 minutes on medium heat.

You then stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, add the cheese and the pepper and then remove it from the heat before adding the steamed cauliflower.

 I stirred in the cauliflower and then spooned the mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray. I let that sit for a few minutes while I got the second tablespoon of butter in another pan with the last clove of garlic. I added a few more shakes of salt, fresh parsley and fresh thyme.

I then added the panko breadcrumbs to the butter and herbs and got them coated and slightly browned.

I spooned the bread crumb mixture into the casserole dish, coating the cauliflower evenly. I placed the casserole into the 400 degree oven and cooked until bubbly and browned. It took about 35 minutes.

As some of you know, I’m a huge macaroni and cheese fan. I can honestly say that this is an amazing substitute. Sure, it’s not pasta… but wow, I got the same comfort food feeling eating it.

I ate two servings last night – about 2 cups – and I packaged up 3 more generous portions for lunches the remainder of the week. Dan did not give this one a try. He was too busy with his new iPhone that came 2 days early.

I spent the evening eating my casserole and watching Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate”  – a perfect evening indeed.



  1. Totally love the way this dish looks. I have not head green cauliflower but am now going on the hunt for it. I love the white kind so I’m sure I’ll like this one too. This is a great looking recipe, love the addition of the leaks as well. Are you submitting your pictures to the big food sites yet? Try Photograzing.com, especially for the last one :o)

    • Thanks Susi – having so much fun looking at food photos on the 4 sites you highlight on your blog – you have some amazing shots!

  2. Looks so good!! Can’t wait to try this one.
    By the way, Zanotto’s just opened, today, where PW was, right around the corner. We’ve been waiting for a long time……years, for something to go in that space. Went there today to check it out!! I can get into a lot of trouble in that store….so many good things to choose from!

    • Oh my gosh…a Zanotto’s within walking distance – heaven! Can’t wait to see it next time I’m in town.

  3. I will definitely be making this one…I love that you say you got the same comforting feeling from it that you get from mac n’ cheese. As we know, carbs are not my friends so this will be a good substitute. And I laughed when you said you have to eat certain fruits cold. I’m the opposite – fruit has to be at room temperature. I always have a bowl of something sitting on the counter in the morning, warming up so I can eat it at lunch!

    • I really think you will feel the same way about the casserole – we gals need our comfort foods, LOL. As for the fruit, really? Room temp. grapes? I just can’t…hah!

  4. So not a cauliflower fan, but how can it not be good with cheese and panko! 😉

    • I’ll convert you yet!

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