Do you love “comfort food?” Who doesn’t! I am sure that at the top of any “comfort food” list you will find “Mac N Cheese.” After all, we all grew up enjoying Mac N Cheese. Maybe it was homemade and delicious and maybe it was out of a box – yuk! Our new low-carb lifestyle means changes in diet and the macaroni shells in this dish are a “no no.” We have the answer – our Low Carb Cauliflower Au Gratin!
The three cheese blend melted together and thickened with an almond flour roux will add just the right flavor and texture. It is a perfect side dish to compliment any meal. Joanie makes a superb breaded pork chop using chicharrones for crumbs and baked to perfection. That was our choice last night. The pork chop can be seen in our “Easy-Peasy Creamed Spinach” recipe. We will post that recipe soon – so check back often.
Joanie finds many of our plates and bowls at her favorite store (The Gold Mine). She loves this antique hand painted casserole baking dish, from Portugal. It is as comfortable as the recipe.
The three-cheese blend consists of Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmesan. We use equal parts of Gruyere and Cheddar and a smaller amount of grated Parmesan. The Parmesan has a stronger nutty flavor and the other cheeses melt so well and are so creamy. You can choose your own cheeses and if Gruyere is not handy, feel free to use a good Swiss cheese. Our gratin is just like Mac N Cheese – adopt your favorite recipe!
For thickening the sauce our roux is a simple blend of almond flour and butter. You can use coconut flour if you prefer – anything but wheat flour. Remember it is all about the low-carb lifestyle. You can also use Xanthan Gum as a thickening agent.
We toasted our “Soul Bread” crumbs with butter and smoked paprika, but, as we mentioned, chicharrones will also work well. This will give your Cauliflower Au Gratin a little crunch on top. Some recipes add broccoli or bacon on top, and although we love bacon on anything, we like the cheese to take “center stage” in this recipe.
My comment about boxed Mac N Cheese made me think of a tip that applies not only to this cheesy delight, but also to any recipe calling for cheese. Grate your own! Pre-packaged shredded cheeses contain fillers to avoid clumping and they add carbs that are not needed. Fresh is always better.
Do not over-cook your cauliflower. Al dente is perfect. Remember it will be baking in the oven and you do not want your cauliflower to be mushy and tasteless.
A final tip would be to make sure all of the lumps are out of your thickening roux. Whisking vigorously is necessary to make a smooth sauce.
Our Cauliflower Au Gratin is the perfect side dish with pork, roasted chicken, or ham. We have a delicious meatloaf recipe that would be great when paired with this recipe. It can also serve as a casserole for your perfectly planned summer picnic, with a burger or a hot dog! Regardless of your “comfort food” companion, we know you will soon crave this Cauliflower Au Gratin as your “go to” side dish. It is Tasty Low Carb, for sure!
Low Carb Cauliflower Au Gratin
If you miss Mac N Cheese you will love this side dish. Three creamy delicious cheeses poured over low-carb cauliflower - yum!
- 1 head cauliflower cut into small florets
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper to taste
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese grated and divided
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese grated and divided
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 cup Soul bread crumbs for topping
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 stalks green onions sliced
Blanch cauliflower florets for 5 minutes in pot of salted water, over medium-high heat. Drain thoroughly and place in a buttered casserole dish.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add almond flour and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes to make a roux.
Pour in heavy cream, bring to a simmer, whisk constantly until sauce thickens and there are no lumps (about 10 minutes).
Lower the heat, add salt and pepper and onion powder and taste (adjust as needed). Add 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese, 1/2 cup of the Cheddar cheese, and all of the parmesan and stir until melted (approximately 2 minutes).
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere and Cheddar cheese over the top.
Melt two tablespoons of butter, add the soul bread crumbs and smoked paprika and stir until combined and coated.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until browned. Remove and top with sliced green onions to garnish.
You can substitute Swiss cheese for Gruyere - it is easier to find. Also, if you do not have Soul bread handy for crumbs, just use Chicharrone crumbs.