Healthier cauliflower cheese
- October 2013
- Serves 6
- Takes 15 minutes to make, 45 minutes to cook
This healthier cauliflower cheese recipe, made with skimmed milk and a crunchy breadcrumb topping, has fewer calories and fat than traditional recipes. (But we’ve got that too, if you want something more rib-sticking.)
- 13.2g (6.5g saturated)
- 19.3g (8.5g sugars)
- 15g butter
- 15ml rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 40g plain flour
- 600ml skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 125g vintage cheddar, plus 3 tbsp extra for the topping, grated (see tip)
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets, steamed for 3-4 minutes, then drained (see Know-how)
- 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Put a sauté pan over a high heat. When it’s hot, add the butter and oil, then add the onion. Stir to coat, then turn the heat down and fry very gently for 15-20 minutes until the onion is pale golden and translucent.
- Add the garlic to the pan and fry for 2 minutes. Add the cayenne and flour, then cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Turn up the heat and add a little of the milk. Stir quickly – it will thicken immediately. Keep adding milk gradually, stirring constantly. The sauce should be the consistency of double cream. If it looks too thin, bubble to thicken before continuing. When all the milk is added, stir in the mustard and 125g cheddar, then season well. It should taste slightly too salty to balance the mild flavour of the cauliflower in the finished dish.
- Put the steamed cauliflower in a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish and pour the cheese sauce all over it. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and the 3 tbsp cheddar, then transfer to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden and crisp and the sauce is bubbling. Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes before serving with a crisp green salad.
Steaming rather than boiling the cauliflower results in it taking in less water, so the sauce doesn’t need as much thickening.
Use the strongest cheddar you can find for this – the more flavour and mouth-tingling bite the cheese has the better.
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