Cauliflower may not be winning many popularity contests these days, but it’s still a favorite, and this cauliflower gratin is sure to reignite that love, too! Imagine perfectly roasted cauliflower with rich and salty. This dish is worthy of a festive feast but wholesome enough to serve every day!
Do you have a head or cauliflower lying around that you haven’t yet used? (Guilty!) The solution is this gluten-free and plant-based side! Just ten ingredients are required. We’ll show you exactly how to do it!
What is Au Gratin?
The French technique of gratin (also known as au-gratin) involves creating a delicious brown crust on a dish. The usual topping includes breadcrumbs, grated cheddar, butter, and egg. However, this recipe is made using plant-based as well as gluten-free.
It’s delicious on cauliflower, as well as pasta or potatoes!
Cauliflower Gratin: How to Prepare it
To maximize the amount of creamy coating on each bite, cauliflower is cut into tiny florets. We steam the florets to perfection, giving them an early start on the cooking process.
The Easy, Creamy Sauce is made by first sautéing the onion and garlic. Next, add cornstarch, arrowroot, or coconut milk to thicken.
You can cook the gratin in a skillet that is oven-safe (such as cast iron), so you don’t need to use another pan to create a golden top.
It develops a beautiful golden brown crust in the oven. If your range doesn’t do a good job of browning the food, you can use a broiler. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
- Cut one medium head of cauliflower into small florets. (7-8 cups)
- Add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil or vegan butter (if you don’t have oil, use water instead and add more as necessary).
- One cup finely chopped onions (1/2 small onion).
- Four cloves garlic, minced
- Use two tablespoons of cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- 1 (14-oz.) can light coconut milk
- 1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast ( optional )
- Add more salt to taste.
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese
Optional FOR GARNISH
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375° F (190 C).
- Cut cauliflower into small, even florets. Steam in a large, covered pot using a steamer basket until it is tender when pierced by a fork. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly uncovered.
- Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat (we prefer cast iron). Add the vegan butter (or olive oil) and onion to the skillet and cook until the onion is translucent and soft — approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant for about 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat. Add the cornstarch (or arrowroot) and whisk it in. Cook for one minute.
- Pour the coconut milk in little by little while whisking continuously to ensure that it is incorporated. Slowly pour in the coconut milk to avoid clumps. Continue adding milk until it is all added. Stir frequently and simmer for 8-10 mins or until the sauce is thickened.
- Add the salt and pepper, nutritional yeast, nutmeg (optional), and nutritional yeast. Seasonings can be adjusted to taste by adding more salt, pepper, or nutritional yeast, depending on your preference. The mixture should be very cheesy to season the cauliflower.
- Add the cauliflower to the sauce and coat it well. If needed, taste again and add salt. Note: If you did not use an oven-safe skillet, you can now transfer the mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle vegan Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 12-15 mins, uncovered. Bake until the top is golden and crispy. For a crispier topping, if you are using a cast-iron pan, broil it on high (while watching closely) during the last 1-2 minutes. Let the dish stand for 5-10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Serve hot and garnish with thyme (optional).
- Fresh is best. In the fridge, leftovers can be stored for up to 3-4 days. The freezer is not recommended. Reheat any leftovers at 350 F (176 C).