Cheesy Cauliflower Bake With Leeks

Looking for a delicious savoury, golden smoked cheesy cauliflower bake recipe?

This scrumptious dish redefines comfort food. It’s the perfect accompaniment to virtually any meal – complementing a classic roast beef or chicken dish.And it’s a great addition to your Easter feast! 

Cheesy-Cauliflower-Bake-With-Leeks-and-Smoked-Cheese-By-The-Culinary-Cartel

You get cauliflower – and then you get cauliflower. For some, it stimulates childhood memories of lazy Sunday lunches and loads of melted cheese or old-school Béchamel sauce. For others, cauliflower was something you had to endure just to get to the dessert. And, until relatively recently, it’s a veg that was often tolerated in certain households rather than celebrated. But we’re about to change that.

This smoky, cheesy cauliflower bake is delicious, simple to make, and if required, can be prepared ahead of time, too.

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake: Indulgent, but Surprisingly Healthy

When it comes to extraordinarily healthy plant-based nutrition, cauliflower punches far above its weight. In fact, as a cruciferous veg, it’s rich in antioxidants which reduce inflammation, decrease cell damage, and help protect against chronic diseases. It’s heart-healthy and high in beneficial fibre.

If you’re gluten-averse, it’s also a great low-carb substitute for good old mac ‘n cheese. And because it offers such a rich, smoky flavour, you’re also adding a zesty Gremolata to cut through that richness and add a twist of herby lemon to an already decadent dish.

If you’re really looking to impress – take a look at our Elevated Potato Stacks with Caviar or Truffle  and you can also take a look at other tasty side dishes here

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake with Leeks Made By Culinary Cartel Chef.

Choosing the Perfect Cauliflower for your Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

Picking out the best head of cauliflower for your cheesy cauliflower bake is part science, part art. So here are a couple of chef’s recommendations for you:

  • The cauliflower you select should feel heavy in relation to its size – an indication of density.
  • Choose cauliflower that has florets packed tightly together, with minimal separation or trace of wilting.
  • The leaves (if any) should be a vibrant green with a rigid, crisp appearance.
  • The whiter and cleaner the cauliflower, the better. Blemishes or scrapes indicate poor / excessive handling or a sub-par grade of produce.
  • Freshly harvested cauliflower typically has a very subtle scent – almost unnoticeable. A pungent “vegetable” smell is a sign that it is beginning to degrade slightly. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gremolata?

Gremolata is a parsley-based condiment somewhat similar to pesto or even chimichurri. It’s a traditional Italian side that does a wonderful job of providing a palate-cleansing contrast to foods that are typically rich in flavour.

In this version, the Gremolata simply combines the zesty freshness of lemon with a touch of garlic to liven up the deep herb freshness of the parsley and add an exciting contrast to the rich creaminess of the cheesy cauliflower bake. 

Why should the cauliflower be roasted?

Cauliflower contains a lot of moisture, and roasting it allows some of that moisture to evaporate. This means intensified flavour, and prevents the cauliflower from becoming soggy or adding too much liquid to the cheese sauce.

Can I omit the leeks?

You could – but the leeks contribute toward a wonderfully cohesive, jammy consistency in the bake. They also offer a nuance of flavour that’s hard to achieve using a replacement. And they contrast nicely with the cauliflower. Go on. Add those leeks! 

What is a roux?

A roux is a sauce typically made by combining melted butter and flour. In this recipe, it provides a wonderful base for our white sauce, which highlights the flavours of ingredients like the smoky cheese, herbs, and touch of mustard. 


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Cheesy-Cauliflower-Bake-With-Leeks-and-Smoked-Cheese-By-The-Culinary-Cartel

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake With Leeks


  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Looking for something scrumptious as an accompaniment to virtually any meal? This savoury, golden smoked cheesy cauliflower bake redefines comfort food – and offers a perfect complement to a classic roast beef or chicken dish at Easter!


Ingredients

Units

CHEESY CAULIFLOWER BAKE

  • 450g Cauliflower
  • 250g Leeks
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 35g Flour
  • 25g Butter
  • 450ml Milk (warmed just before adding)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 25g Wholegrain Mustard
  • 150g Smoked Cheese / Cheese of Choice

GREMOLATA

  • 15g Parsley (approx. 1 handful)
  • 1 Lemon Zest and Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic

Instructions

  1. In an oven proof casserole, sauté off the leeks until just softened. Grate in the cloves of garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  2. Toss the cauliflower florets in oil, then distribute them evenly on top of the leeks. Roast at 220C on convection for 10-12 minutes, until the cauliflower is a little golden in places – but a little al dente when pierced with a knife.
  3. While the cauliflower is roasting, make the cheese sauce. Add your butter to a pot and cook until melted. Next, add and blend in the flour to form a roux. Cook out the roux until it’s a uniform light golden colour. Then, slowly whisk in the warm milk, and cook until thickened. Cook for 5 minutes until there is no floury taste.  Lastly, add the whole grain mustard, add HALF the cheese, and add the nutmeg. Whisk everything together and season to taste.
  4. Now, remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, and top everything with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly – bearing in mind that bake times will vary a little depending on the oven you’re using. As always, monitor the progress as you go along.
  5. To prepare the Gremolata: Chop the parsley. Zest the lemon, then juice it. Grate the garlic. Combine all the ingredients and add salt to taste.

Whether it’s a family dinner favourite or an Easter weekend celebration lunch, this is a year-round dish for all seasons – and one that deserves to be shared.

Notes

You can use frozen cauliflower, too – just be aware that the texture and flavour is often not as appealing as with fresh cauliflower.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Bake

Nutrition

  • Calories: 318.09kcal
  • Sugar: 8.38g
  • Sodium: 437.84mg
  • Fat: 19.36g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.18g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2.93g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.35g
  • Fiber: 2.73g
  • Protein: 15.15g
  • Cholesterol: 67.33g

Keywords: Cheesy Cauliflower Bake with Leeks

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4 Responses

  1. Made this dish and there was none left and we were scrapping the bowl!!! Delicious thank you for sharing !!






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