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Course: Sides & Salads
Keyword: Casserole, Cauliflower Say Cheese, Sides, Thanksgiving, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Cauliflower Say Cheese

Cheesy cauliflower casserole in a glass casserole dish.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 17 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
If there's a better way to consume cauliflower than in a cheesy casserole spiced with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, I haven't discovered it.
This recipe first appeared in Season 14 of Good Eats.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large (2-pound) head cauliflower
  • 4 1/2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated and divided
  • 1/2 cup homemade coarse bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Cheesy cauliflower casserole in a glass casserole dish.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 17 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • Grease an 11-by-7-inch flameproof baking dish with the butter and set aside.
  • Place 1 oven rack in the middle position and 1 in the top position and heat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Place the cauliflower in a small glass bowl, stalk end up. Use a paring knife to remove the lower leaves. Trim the curds (the white florets) off of the stem, keeping them as intact as possible. Try to keep the size uniformly large and make as few cuts as possible. Discard the leaves and stem. Cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Rest, still covered in plastic, for another 4 minutes. Uncover and rest for 4 to 5 more minutes while preparing the rest of the dish.
  • Combine 4 ounces of the cheese, the bread crumbs, egg, salt, mustard, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. When 1 minute remains on the cauliflower rest period, microwave the cream on high for 30 seconds. Add the cream to the bowl with the cheese mixture and stir to combine.
  • Using your hands and a tea towel if the cauliflower is still hot, rub the large florets between your hands to break up the curds. Add the curds to the cream mixture and stir until the cheese is thoroughly combined.
  • Spread the cauliflower mixture in the prepared baking dish, place on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish and turn the broiler to high. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 ounce cheese atop the cauliflower. Place on the top rack and broil until the top is bubbly and appropriately brown, about 3 minutes. Rest 10 minutes before serving.
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