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Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese is an all time favourite of mine. It’s simple to make, using seasonal steamed white cauliflower as the base. I don’t really get into making traditional béchamel style white sauces made from white flour, butter, cream and milk. My white sauce is dead easy to make. It’s basically made from fresh and creamy ricotta blended with milk and a hint of nutmeg in my Vitamix and it gives a perfect result every time. For a richer flavour you can throw in a handful of grated Parmesan or pecorino during the blending process.  Make sure to purchase your ricotta from a good supplier as the quality can vary quite radically. What I also love to do is combine the cauliflower with some leek and sometimes even roasted cinnamon pumpkin which enhances the flavour. (see notes below for white sauce options inc. Paleo and dairy free ).

What’s good about it:
Ricotta contains  protein to help build and maintain muscle, as well as nourish the immune system.  It’s also a good source of calcium for strong bones and tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that your body uses to make serotonin which can help you relax and beat stress.  Cauliflower is rich in sulphur that works as an anti-inflammatory that can support digestion and boost your immune system.

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 leek, washed and sliced
500 g (17  1/2 oz) ricotta
180 – 250 ml (6  1/4 oz – 8  3/4 oz) milk (your choice dairy, soy, rice, almond)
30 g (1  oz) grated Parmesan or Pecorino
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F / Gas 4).
Cut cauliflower into flowerets and place into a large  pot.
Add 1/2 cup (4  1/2 oz) water, cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes or until just tender, but not over cooked.
Saute the leek for 5 minutes over a medium heat in a little olive oil until soft.
Place the cauliflower and leek into an oven proof baking dish.
Combine ricotta, half of the milk and a little nutmeg and blend until smooth.
Add more milk until you achieve a smooth cream like consistency.
Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and leek then sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Serves 6

Nutrition per serve calculated with reduced fat milk
Protein: 14.7 g
Carbs: 6.8 g
Total Fat: 9.5 g
Saturated Fat: 5.7 g
Fiber: 2 g
Calories: 171
kilojoules: 716

 

NOTES:
To make a dairy free / Paleo style white sauce it is great to use a creamy style of milk such as almond, coconut or organic soy.
Saute 1-2 leeks until soft, combine into a blender with 80 g raw cashew nuts and 500 ml your choice of dairy free milk + a little nutmeg.

Vegetables help to thicken the sauce and so do white beans such as cannelinni as an option to cashew.
Pour over the sauce, scatter with some ground almonds for texture and bake as required. Delicious !

I also love to add some roasted cinnamon pumpkin chunks and combine with the cauliflower and leek before baking.


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17 Responses to “Cauliflower Cheese”
  1. Kirsty says:

    Yummmy! Great idea instead of the traditional bechamel, I’m not into it either. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Judy says:

    Dear Teresa, Thanks for all your recipes and good ideas. You have made such a difference to my cooking. Can’t wait to try your take on bechamel. Doubt I’ll be making traditional bechamel any longer.

  3. Jenny Coats says:

    Just made this and your yummy Golden Delicious Apple Cake only there was no Golden Delicious so I used Red delicious instead. Keep them coming, I love your recipes.

  4. ecobabe says:

    Looking forward to trying the Paleo version, having great results with my AS now that I’v eradicated grains and dairy!

  5. paleo version is really yum. The leeks thicken the sauce up wonderfully…you can add 1 or 2 depending on the size. :)

  6. Amanda says:

    Looking forward to trying. You mention making sure to purchase ricotta from a good supplier. In my area, I don’t have a proper continental deli, so the supermarkes is really the only option? Is that OK? Also, full cream or reduced fat ricotta? Many thanks, Amanda

  7. Kathie says:

    I LOVE cauliflower cheese but don’t eat if very often because of how bad it is for you. This is a perfect way to make it healthy! I use ricotta as a substitute for bechamel in lasgane and my husband and kids love it, so I should have thought of this sooner! I might add peas for some green…. Thanks Teresa!

  8. Ally says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and it tasted amazing! :) x

  9. Nat says:

    Love love love your cauliflower cheese. Had a serve for lunch today mixed with 1/2 tin olive oil tuna (drained), chopped up kale, rocket & baby spinach from the garden & cracked pepper. YUM!

  10. Tania says:

    I’m allergic to cashews – is there another nut I can substitute for the vegan option??

  11. Hi Teresa..
    Just want to say thank you for all your great food ideas.
    I’ve just started a small cooking business and have only
    just found you.. your ideas and cooking is exactly what
    I’m about. Good, healthy, tasty food that’s organic and cooked
    fresh.
    Going to make your cauliflower cheese recipe today..
    Yum!

  12. KCP says:

    Hi Teresa, I am pregnant so I am told to avoid ricotta. Would you mind suggesting an alternative cheese for it? Looking forward to making this..
    Appreciate your response.

  13. Cathy says:

    Just made this and it is delicious. Thanks for yet another fantastic healthy recipe!

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