One-Skillet Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce ♥ Recipe

An easy way to cook cauliflower with a cheese sauce, all in the same skillet
Today's vegetable recipe: "Just in time for Thanksgiving" (what?!), fresh cauliflower cooked in milk that thickens into a cheese sauce. Finished with cheesy bread crumbs under the broiler.

Now please, no heart attacks, but there are only twelve more planning days til Thanksgiving -- if you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving on October 13, that is, which many readers of both A Veggie Venture and Kitchen Parade do and I intend to this year, in long-distance communion with my Canadian family.

So Canadian or American, there's no time like the present to start thinking about the stars of the Thanksgiving table -- what, you think that'd be a turkey? -- the vegetables. Long-time readers know that I go all out to share ideas for Thanksgiving vegetable recipes, loading up all the best recipes, crowd pleasers that can be prepped beforehand, then finished just before Thanksgiving dinner.

This cauliflower is so good, heavens, don't wait til Thanksgiving to make it. (If need be, tell yourself that you just might need to 'practice' once or twice. Not that practice is really needed, this is dead easy, but just, you know, to taste test.)

In recent weeks, vegetable lovers have been subscribing to A Veggie Venture in droves! Welcome! With any luck, one or two new recipes a week will provide just the inspiration new readers are seeking, perhaps new ways to cook our favorite vegetables? perhaps an occasional nudge to try a new vegetable?

Lest I forget: Thank you to long-time readers, it's humbling, truly, that home cooks invite me into their kitchens. Occasionally an e-mail will start, "I've been reading your recipes for years."How did that happen?! But yes, this site goes way back to 2005 and has become a huge collection of vegetable recipes.

If you would, let me know via a quick e-mail or a comment, what you'd most like to see in the coming months. More of what? Less of what? More slow cooker recipes? More Weight Watchers recipes? More vegetarian suppers?

Hint: If you're looking for a particular recipe here, check out Five Ways to Find the Perfect Recipe. Feeling overwhelmed by all the choices? Check out just the favorite vegetable recipes.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving: I thank you all.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves about 6 for every-day, more for bigger meal

1-1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head fresh cauliflower, outside leaves removed, core removed in a large V, sections cut into bite-size florets of roughly the same size (for even cooking)

1/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sharp cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon good mustard such as Dijon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (mostly for color)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

CAULIFLOWER In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the milk and salt on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the cauliflower as soon as it's prepped (the milk won't cover the cauliflower so place the stems down since they are more dense and take longer to cook), cover and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the cauliflower is nearly fully cooked. (Slip a knife into the center of a stem, if it goes in easily, it's done.)

CHEESE SAUCE While cauliflower cooks, in a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup milk and flour until smooth. Once the cauliflower is cooked, push the cauliflower to the side of the skillet. Slowly whisk the flour into the milk in the center of the skillet (it will start to thicken right away, just keep whisking). Stir in the remaining cheese sauce ingredients and let cook a minute or two, stirring occasionally to evenly distribute the cheese sauce. (If making ahead, transfer to a refrigerator dish and refrigerate until just before serving. Return the cauliflower to a skillet to warm through.) If you like, transfer hot cauliflower to an oven-proof serving dish, otherwise continue with the oven-safe skillet.

TOPPING Turn on the broiler, with a rack about six inches away from fire. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle across top of cauliflower. Put under the broiler to broil for 5 - 10 minutes or until topping begins to brown a little. Serve immediately.

DAY BEFORE Assemble the panko topping. Cover and refrigerate.
MORNING OF Cook the cauliflower and cheese sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
BEFORE DINNER Warm through in a skillet. Transfer to oven-safe serving dish. Top with crumbs and put under the broiler until beginning to brown.

For every-day, it would be fine to cook and broil the cauliflower in the same skillet. I didn't for the photograph here, the sides of the pan got a little mucky looking, not good for a food blogger working on her photography skills! But do, to save the extra dish.
In smaller serving dishes, this cauliflower reheats beautifully in the microwave.

~ Cauliflower Cream ~
~ Cauliflower Tomato Medley ~
~ Creamy Cauliflower Gratin ~

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Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2008

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This sounds delicious. I do like crumb toppings on my vegetables. They look so pretty! And I really like your "prep ahead" tips. It is a great asset to have a beautiful side dish waiting in the refrigerator rather than have to fuss with every detail right before the meal.

  2. I would love to see Weight Watchers slow cooker recipes. Thanks!

  3. oh cauliflower how i love thee but alas is never cooked as often as i would like. maybe because i need great recipes like this.

  4. Mmmm! I love cauliflower, my husband loves cheese sauce on veggies, and I was looking for something 'new' and savoury to bring to Thanksgiving this year (we're in Canada). Thanks, Alanna, for providing this as a ONE DISH meal, since I'd usually make cheese sauce on the side and end up having more dishes to do ;)

  5. I adore all of your recipes. I would say I like the WW ones, but since all of them are usually healthy anyway, I would just say keep doing what you're doing :)

  6. Cauliflower is very under appreciated...and my husband and I love to eat it! We'll have to try this out soon, thanks!

  7. I just recently found your blog and I have already made some great recipes from it. Thank you!
    I like seeing low point weight watcher recipes and the slow cooker recipes are always appreciated since I'm a working mom and it is a great way to get dinner on the table.

  8. I agree - this sounds easy and delicious!!

  9. Hi! This looks delicious! I love getting veggie inspiration in my e-mail, and this recipe is particularly well timed--my sister came back from a roadside farm stand today with a head of cauliflower that won't fit in the crisper drawer. It must be the size of a medium watermelon (no kidding!). We're looking forward to trying this soon.

    Another cauliflower recipe I love was posted by Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks: Cauliflower Soup with Blue Cheese. (I use the smaller amount of cheese and sour cream instead of creme fraiche.)

  10. What if I do not have an oven-safe skillet? Is there any other kind of dish or pan I can use? Also, can I use dried chives or is fresh the only way to go?

  11. Hi Michelle,

    Here's an idea, just skip the oven part. Instead, cook the cauliflower and cheese sauce on the stovetop, then use a small skillet to brown the bread crumbs and olive oil, stir in the cheese and stir to melt a little bit, then sprinkle over the top of the cauliflower.

    Fresh chives would be best -- it adds just that little bit of freshness and color -- but you could use any other fresh herb, too. Or -- skip it, this is really about the cauliflower and cheese. If you wanted a little onion, chop a half onion and let it cook along with the cauliflower in the milk.

    Hope this helps!

  12. I am one of those recent additions to your readership - great site! I would love to see more in-season veggie suppers. The other night, we had a great lentil soup which my kids devoured. And my husband was so impressed, he did not miss the meat! Since we subscribe to a CSA, in season veggie stuff is a must for us, look forward to seeing what you have in store!

  13. Great dish and yes, could appear on the Thanksgiving table.

  14. I love your site for side dishes, desserts, salads, etc, but more main dishes would be wonderful. Something with protein in it, but still vegetarian. We eat meatless twice a week during most of the year, for religious reasons, and three times a week during some parts of the year, so I'm always looking for new ideas.

  15. Lisa ~ Crumbs somehow 'finish' a dish, don't they? Thanks for feedback on the make-ahead tips.

    Vickie ~ Good combination, thank you for the suggestion.

    Meeta ~ You must! Or I'll come cook it for you!

    VeryGoodYear ~ I liked the one-dish feature too. Happy Thanksgiving, early!

    Magpie ~ You made my day, Magpie, thank you!

    Katelyn ~ Agreed.

    Jenny ~ Looks like WW and slow cooker are big hits. I do appreciate the feedback, thank you.

    Pille ~ xo

    Libby ~ Timing can be everything, can't it?! Sounds as if you'll have plenty of cauliflower for both the casserole and the soup!

    Gudrun ~ Thank you for being a reader, I do so appreciate your feedback. In-season veggie suppers, got, many thanks.

    Peter ~ A Greek table, perchance?!

    Ranee ~ More main dishes, great, thanks for the feedback.

  16. This sounds wonderful! It is definitely on my list of "must try soon" recipes.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna