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Cauliflower Casserole (VRP 036)

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Cauliflower Casserole is a delightful dish that transforms the humble cauliflower into a creamy, cheesy, and utterly satisfying meal or side dish. With its layers of tender cauliflower, sautéed onions, and a rich, tomato-infused white sauce, this casserole is a fantastic way to enjoy a comforting, nutritious, and flavorful meal.

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Cauliflower Casserole

Cauliflower Casserole

Front of the recipe card for Cauliflower Casserole.

Cauliflower Casserole

Back of the recipe card for Cauliflower Casserole.

Food History

Cauliflower has been part of culinary traditions worldwide due to its versatility and health benefits. It became trendy in Western cuisine as a low-carb alternative in various dishes, including casseroles. Combining cauliflower with a white sauce is a classic approach in French and Italian cooking, often used to enhance the vegetable’s mild flavor.

Timeline

  • 1600s: Introduction of cauliflower to France from Italy.
  • 1700s: Cauliflower becomes popular in northern Europe.
  • 20th century: Cauliflower recipes proliferate in American and European cookbooks, often featuring béchamel (white sauce) and cheese.
  • Today: Cauliflower is celebrated for its versatility in recipes from simple steamed sides to complex casseroles and as a substitute in low-carb diets.

Recipe Discussion

This Cauliflower Casserole recipe incorporates lightly boiled cauliflower florets, ensuring they retain a slight crunch which contrasts beautifully with the creamy sauce. The sautéed onions provide a sweet and savory base, enhancing the dish’s overall flavor. The white sauce, enriched with a bit of tomato sauce, offers a subtle tanginess that complements the mild taste of cauliflower, while the cheese topping adds a deliciously gooey texture.

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  1. Casserole Dish – Ideal for baking and serving this hearty dish.
  2. Sauce Pan – This is used to make the white sauce and boil the cauliflower.
  3. Box Grater – To freshly grate Parmesan or cheddar cheese.
  4. Mixing Bowls – These are used to prepare ingredients before assembling the casserole.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this Cauliflower Casserole as a main dish with a side of crusty bread or as a side dish alongside grilled or roasted meats. It pairs well with a light, crisp salad to balance the richness of the cheese and white sauce.

Preparation Tips

To enhance the flavor, roast the cauliflower instead of boiling it for a deeper, nuttier taste. When making the white sauce, use low heat to avoid clumping and stir continuously for a smooth texture. Adding a pinch of nutmeg to the sauce can also introduce a subtle warmth that complements the tomato sauce beautifully.

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Cauliflower Casserole Recipe

Cauliflower Casserole
Yield: Serves 4-6

Cauliflower Casserole

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 2 medium onions, sauteed in a little oil
  • 3 tablespoon grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup thin white sauce, w/ a little tomato sauce added
  • Seasoning to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut cauliflower into small florettes & boil, covered, in a little water until nearly done.
  2. Reserve water.
  3. Cover bottom of [Pyrex] dish w/ cooked onions, arrange cauliflower over them.
  4. Make white sauce using water in which cauliflower was boiled.
  5. Add tomato sauce to taste.
  6. Pour over cauliflower.
  7. Sprinkle w/ cheese & dot with butter.
  8. Bake 375° for 20-30 min.

Whether you’re looking for a comforting meal on a fantastic evening or a hearty side that complements any main, this Cauliflower Casserole is sure to satisfy. Its combination of textures and flavors makes it a versatile, filling, and delicious dish, proving that even simple ingredients can be transformed into something extraordinary.

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