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Skinny Cauliflower Gratin

Skinny Cauliflower Gratin

A "healthified" take on a cheesy cauliflower gratin. MORE+LESS-

Make with

Progresso Breadcrumbs


head cauliflower, broken into small florets


tablespoon butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for greasing the casserole dish


small yellow onion, chopped


cup shredded gruyere cheese


cup shredded mozzarella cheese


container (8 oz) plain or Greek yogurt


tablespoon chopped scallions or chives


teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


cup Progresso™ Italian-style bread crumbs

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  • 2

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, then boil cauliflower, covered, for about 7-8 minutes or until slightly tender, but still firm (the cauliflower will finish cooking in the oven, so it shouldn't be fork-tender yet).

  • 3

    Drain cauliflower in a colander and rinse with cold water. Pour into a buttered casserole dish.

  • 4

    Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until onions just begin to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • 5

    In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, mozzarella cheese, yogurt, scallions and pepper. Stir in onion-garlic mixture.

  • 6

    Spread mixture over cauliflower, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs, remaining Gruyere cheese and butter. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until topping is a golden brown. Serve warm.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • I’m not a big fan of low-fat or fat-free versions of foods.My food philosophy is simple: I’d rather eat something with full fat in moderation than partake in something made from not-so-real ingredients.That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a classic dish better for you and your waistline. That’s why I also like “healthifying” some of my favorite dishes using real, better-for-you ingredients. Forget fat-free yogurt or low-fat butter; if I can make a dish taste delicious using half the amount of fatty ingredients (but still keep them real), I’m all for it.One of my favorite “healthified” dishes is this Skinny Cauliflower Gratin. It’s my lower-fat, lower-calorie take on the classic potato gratin side dish. Instead of carb-loaded potatoes, I use fiber-rich cauliflower; instead of heavy cream, I use yogurt; and instead of cheddar cheese, I use mozzarella and Gruyere. Of course, there’s still butter in the dish – but a lot less than you’d use in the regular version. The best part? The skinny version is just as tasty.
  • I don’t claim to be an expert on creating nutritious food. Believe me, I’m the first person to admit that I’m a sucker for potato chips and peanut butter and chocolate-flavored, well, anything. But I do have common sense – and for me, cutting out unnecessary fat and calories and replacing them with wholesome, healthy ingredients is a great way to create a nutritious recipe that isn’t lacking in flavor.So the next time you need a filling, yet healthy, side dish for dinnertime, try this recipe. It’ll leave behind nothing but smiles -- and a much happier waistline!
  • Check out more skinny recipes that taste great without the extra guilt.

Skinny Cauliflower Gratin - Recipes

A gratin that won’t weigh you down.

Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.

They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.

But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?

Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.

Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.

Find everything from “Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Fava Beans, Peas, and Arugula” (cooked in a Dutch oven with the lid on and almost all the liquid added to the rice at the start) and “Nori-Crusted Salmon” (made with home-made nori powder to create a crisp, flavorful crust on the fillets) to “Foolproof Boiled Corn with Chili-Lime Salt” (done with a method similar to boiling eggs, in which the corn is added to boiling water, the burner turned off and the corn left to sit until done).

This cauliflower gratin is plenty creamy — despite having no milk or cream in it. Instead, the cauliflower stems are boiled until very soft, then blitzed in a blender to create a thick smooth sauce that’s enriched with Parmesan cheese.

Cauliflower florets get tossed in a creamy sauce made of pureed cauliflower before being baked.

This sauce gets tossed with steamed cauliflower florets that go into a baking pan. Before the gratin is baked, it gets a crunchy topping of panko and more Parmesan.

The gratin is not completely virtuous, as there is one stick of butter in it. However, it still tastes much lighter than a conventional gratin.

What’s more, because heavy cream doesn’t obscure everything, you actually taste the nutty flavor of the cauliflower more intensely than you would normally.

After baking and digging into the dish, I did notice a slight residual puddle or two of water at the bottom of the pan. I’m not sure if it came from the sauce separating slightly or what. No matter, it didn’t detract from the dish at all. Just be sure to puree the cauliflower well in the blende, and don’t add much — if any — extra water if you can help it.

Because this is made with cauliflower rather than potatoes, this is a side dish perfect for those who may be on a low-carb or keto diet, too.

It’s a gratin that you can enjoy a big helping of without feeling the need to take a nap afterward.

Bookmark it you’ll definitely want to make it come Thanksgiving or Christmas — if not much sooner.

No milk. No cream. Yet still plenty satisfyingly creamy tasting.

Modern Cauliflower Gratin

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

2 heads cauliflower (2 pounds each), cut into 1 1/2-inch florets, stems halved lengthwise then sliced thin crosswise, cores sliced thin (12 cups florets and 3 cups stems and cores)

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool. Once cool, add 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss to combine set aside.

Combine sliced cauliflower stems and cores, 2 cups florets, 3 cups water, and remaining 6 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Place remaining florets in steamer basket. Once mixture is boiling, place steamer basket in pot, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Steam florets in basket until translucent and paring knife slips easily in and out of stem ends, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove steamer basket and set aside florets to drain. Re-cover pot, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook stem mixture until very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer drained florets to 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Transfer stem mixture and cooking liquid to blender and add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Process until smooth and velvety, about 1 minute (puree should be pourable adjust consistency with additional water as needed). Combine cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water in small bowl, whisking with fork to dissolve then, with blender running, add cornstarch slurry to blender. Season cauliflower puree with salt and pepper to taste. Pour puree over cauliflower florets in dish and toss gently to coat (it will be quite loose), then smooth top with spatula.

Scatter panko mixture evenly over top. Transfer dish to oven and bake until sauce bubbles around edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Let stand 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Note: When buying cauliflower for this recipe, look for heads without many leaves. If your cauliflower does have a lot of leaves, buy slightly larger heads — about 2 1/4 pounds each. This recipe can be halved to serve four to six cook the cauliflower in a large saucepan and bake the gratin in an 8-inch square baking pan.

From “Cook’s Illustrated Vegetables Illustrated” by America’s Test Kitchen

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try: Cauliflower Salad with Eggs and Anchovies

An Easy Side Dish with Roasted Cauliflower

We mentioned the low carb part of this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Gratin just because it&rsquos an added bonus. If you happen to be following a low carb diet then this is the side dish recipe for you!

Even if you&rsquore not on a low carb diet, this cauliflower gratin is really one of my most favorite cauliflower recipes. Cheesy, hearty and comfort food all comes to mind when I&rsquom thinking about this cauliflower gratin&hellipand most of all delicious.

You can serve this side dish for most any dinner, steak, chicken turkey, pork. You name it, this gratin recipe is going to go perfectly with all of those. And if you&rsquore searching for that show stopping holiday side dish? This is it.

Healthy Cauliflower Recipe Swaps

Cauliflower might seem like a bland white veg fit only for the occasional raw veggie platter, but it’s a heavy hitter when it comes to nutrition!

It’s part of the superfood family of powerful cruciferous just like Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli. So don’t be fooled by it’s snowy white complextion, cauliflower is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and choline, just to name a few.

I consider cauliflower to be a wonderful “basic food” that you can cook and flavor a million ways. It has a mild flavor and is easy to find in your local grocery store, year round. It’s one of the few vegetables that I enjoy steamed, but if you want to reap its incredibly dense nutrient load, you have to steam it correctly! Cauliflower is rich in water-soluble vitamins (like C) so use small amounts of water or a steamer basket so there is less vitamin loss into the water.

Start by cutting your cauliflower into 2-inch wide florets, 1 head yields about 5 cups. Place 1-inch of water into a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the florets and cover with a lid. Steam 4 to 5 minutes, on high heat, for an entire head’s worth of florets — until they are tender when pressed with the tines of a fork. Add a 1/4 cup of water if the level goes down drastically or evaporates.

Don’t overcook cauliflower, you’ll know from the unpleasant smell and mushy texture — this also damages the vital sulfur compounds that are the heart of all their healing properties. Serve immediately or try these tasty ways to dress it up. Just prep your fixings while you steam, to top on hot cauliflower.

Whisk one egg yolk with the zest and juice of one lemon. Toss the yolk mixture with your hot cauliflower for a lemony treat.

Cheese and cauliflower are a match made in gourmet heaven. Instead of making a cheese sauce that requires a ton of grated cheddar, simply place your cooked cauliflower in a small dish. Layer one slice of any cheese (about 100 calories) over top and place in the toaster oven at 400°F for about 1 minute until the cheese melts.

Bacon isn’t bad for you when you enjoy it in moderation — and a few slices go a long way when it comes to flavoring a dish. Top your cauliflower with 3 slices of nitrate-free bacon, cooked and chopped, for around 70 calories and 4 grams of fat.

Chop 1/4 cup of your favorite olives, such as Moroccan, green Cerignola, or mixed spicy olives, and toss onto your florets. Add orange, lemon, or lime zest for extra fresh flavor.

Mix cooked cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil based mayo and 1 to 2 teaspoon of sriracha for a creamy kick that spice lovers will crave.

Nummy Mash
Mash 1 head of hot steamed cauliflower with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, along with 2 tablespoons sour cream. Mix in chopped scallions, wasabi, or your favorite spice.

Sweet and Savory
Tart balsamic and sweet golden raisins are delicious mixed with any cruciferous veggie, start with 1 tablespoon of balsamic and 1/4 cup golden or red raisins with your cooked cauliflower.

Garlicky Goodness
Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet with 3 cloves minced garlic. Cook over medium-low heat for about 1 minute until the garlic becomes golden. Turn the heat off and carefully add the cauliflower florets. Toss well and serve.

Just Kidding Around
Cauliflower is a kid-friendly food, even for the worst veggie hater. Try cutting cauliflower into “mini-florets” and floating them in homemade or store-bought chicken broth along with their favorite noodles. Or add cauliflower mash to any cheesy kid food, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, or cheddar soup.

South of the Border
Sprinkle cooked cauliflower with taco seasoning and top with 1/2 cup grated cheese and a few tablespoons of salsa.

Do you love chicken Parmesan? Then this dish is for you! Top cooked cauliflower with 1/2 cup of your favorite marinara (or homecooked marinara), then sprinkle with 1 cup grated mozzarella and 1/4 cup grated Parmsan. Place in the oven at 400°F for about 4 minutes until the cheese melts, then serve immediately.

Mix and match your cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower and broccoli, for a dish with more interesting texture and color. Make an easy peanut sauce by mixing one tablespoon of peanut butter with two teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce. Toss in steamed or sauteed cruciferous and enjoy!

What a Noodle
Love your rich homemade beef stew, but want to give it a healthy boost? Serve it over steamed cauliflower in place of noodles or white potatoes. Pass cauliflower through a potato ricer for optimal texture.

Thanksgiving Day Feast
Cauliflower gratin makes a delectable side-dish. Toss 5 cups of cauliflower with 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of chicken broth mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour. Dot with 4 tablespoons of goat cheese and top with 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs. Cover with cooking spray and bake at least 45 minutes at 350°F.

Fritter Time
Use cauliflower to make a savory fritters along with other veggies. Chop florets in a food processor and toss in with grated potato or zucchini.

Perfect for Pasta
Love pasta but looking to cut back on portion size? Instead of serving yourself 3 cups of cooked pasta, swap one cup out and add sauteed or steamed cauliflower florets.

Tangy Tomato Ginger Cauliflower

Studies show that mixing cruciferous veggies with tomato actually increases the uptake of their nutrients. Tangy ginger and sweet tomatoes make a delectable combo that will become your new favorite flavor combo.

1 head cauliflower, any color, cut into florets
2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, minced
1/4 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg (optional)
1 28-ounce canned, diced tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the oil along with the florets. Sprinkle the florets with salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, while the florets brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, allspice or nutmeg (if using) and cook 1 to 2 minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Simmer 10 to 15 minute until the the cauliflower is tender and a thick sauce forms. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Stats Per Serving (Serving size: 1 1/2 cups): 139 calories, 4 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 7g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 551 mg sodium

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound purple potatoes, peeled and sliced*
  • 1 ¼ cups whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1.75-2 pound head purple cauliflower, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 shallots, peeled and halved
  • ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Thyme sprigs and lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange potatoes in the bottom of a 2-quart au gratin or baking dish. In a small bowl stir together the cream, 1 teaspoon of the herbes de Provence, and 1 teaspoon of the salt pour over potatoes. Sprinkle potato layer with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Top with cauliflower slices and any pieces that break off, shallots, and remaining salt. Cover with foil bake 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining cheese, panko, remaining herbes de Provence, and butter. Uncover cauliflower sprinkle with panko mixture. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes more or until golden. Remove let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with thyme and lemon zest.

If desired, substitute 8 ounces Japanese eggplant, trimmed and sliced, for the potatoes.

Watch the video: Mari Maris prepares Gratin Savoyard (November 2021).