The Easiest Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
A super simple side dish, this Cheesy Cauliflower Bake is slathered in mustard and mayonnaise, covered in cheese, then baked until hot and bubbly!
This recipe was originally posted in March 2017. It has been updated for content and photos.
Hands down my favorite way to eat cauliflower, this Cheesy Cauliflower Bake is super simple, cheesy and just delicious. It warms your heart.
Even if you’re not a veggie eater, you will love this cheesy cauliflower casserole. It’s got tender roasted cauliflower, creamy mayonnaise, tangy Dijon mustard, and ooey, gooey cheese. So much delicious cheese.
Plus, you can make it ahead of time, which is perfect for potlucks and holiday dinners.
About This Recipe And Why It Works
Way back in the dark ages, when microwave ovens were first available for purchase for our home kitchens, I got one for Christmas.
It was a Radar Range and I wish I had a photo of it. Compared to our sleek modern versions, its probably somewhat laughable. The appliance came with a cookbook illustrating how you could magically prepare anything from pot roast to desserts in a flash.
This new appliance seemed so daunting, I was compelled to take a class offered at our local Sears store. A demonstration type class, that lasted a couple of hours.
This is where I learned of this microwave cauliflower recipe, a recipe to microwave a whole head of cauliflower. Ive been making it ever since, and regularly for over 40 years.
Ive always claimed that even cauliflower haters would cozy up to this recipe. And being married to one, I can attest that even the Ranch Hand likes this one.
To steam cauliflower in the microwave yields a tender texture and sweet flavor.
Once the topping of mayonnaise, mustard and American cheese are added the tangy, creamy cheesy flavors truly enhance the entire experience.
If youre looking for easy cauliflower recipes, and looking for whole cauliflower recipes, you must give this one a try. Its so easy, creamy and cheesy.
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How To Serve Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Parmesan
The hardest part of this garlic parmesan roasted cauliflower? Serving it! But dont worry, Im here to help.
Here is how to serve whole roasted cauliflower:
- Carefully lift the full roasted cauliflower out of the dutch oven and onto a cutting board. I usually use two large forks and lift from underneath.
- Using a fork to hold the whole baked cauliflower with one hand, carefully cut the cauliflower. You can slice the cauliflower into steaks or cut it into thin wedges, kind of like a pie. I prefer wedges, but its up to you!
Cheese Frosted Cauliflower Ingredients
This cauliflower recipe uses 4 simple ingredients with a fifth optional ingredient to bring some sweetness to the flavors. The ingredients are fridge staples if you are a regular reader on this blog.
- Whole Head of Cauliflower – There is no substitute for this. You need a fresh, whole head of cauliflower.
- Mayonnaise – Don’t ask if you can use miracle whip. I don’t have miracle whip in my house, I have not tried it. I only use mayonnaise.
- Dijon Mustard – I like dijon mustard the best for this frosted cauliflower but you could use honey mustard or plain yellow mustard too.
- Colby Jack Cheese Slices – I have always used colby jack cheese because that is what I like. Slices work best but shredded could be used. If you like cheddar, colby, Swiss, or American cheese, feel free to use those options as well.
- Salt and Pepper
- Honey – Optional with the honey, but I love the combination of sweet and savory. If you use honey mustard for your mustard, obviously you don’t need more honey.
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How To Make Whole Baked Cauliflower
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How To Make This Easy Microwave Cauliflower With Cheese
Step 1: Using a sharp large chef knife, cut around the core area and remove the protruding core and outer leaves of the cauliflower.
Step 2: Place the cauliflower, core side down in a deep 2 3 quart microwavable casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook for 8 10 minutes on high.
Step 3: Make the sauce. While the cauliflower is cooking, combine the mustard, mayo, and onions and blend together with a fork.
Step 4: Remove the cooked cauliflower from the microwave and spoon the sauce over the top.
Step 5: Using the back of a spoon, coat the cooked cauliflower with the mayo, mustard sauce. Make sure to coat the cauliflower as far down the sides as you can.
Step 6: Add the slices of American Cheese to the top of the sauced cauliflower. Alternate the angle of the cheese slices for even melting.
Step 7: Cover the pan with the lid and return the cauliflower to the microwave. Cook on high for 2 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the mayonnaise mustard sauce. Let the cauliflower stand, covered, for two minutes before slicing.
Step 8: Using a sharp knife, slice the cauliflower in wedges and serve immediately.
Parmesan Crusted Baked Cauliflower
Yesterday, Mr EN and I ate this entire head of cauliflower in 10 minutes. Yep, and we had NO TROUBLE doing that. We ate it as a snack, in-between making homemade spaghetti sauce gluten-free brownies, and a Balsamic Chicken, Potatoes and Tomatoes sheet pan dinner. In our defense, were delivering the spaghetti sauce to friends today, but we did manage to put away the rest of the dishes mentioned here.
One thing our family has been doing to stay in touch while social distancing is to share what were cooking via text or social media. This morning my sister and sister-in-law asked for this Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower recipe so Ill get right to it and to the point: THIS DISH IS SOOOO good and its easy to make. Just follow the instructions below and in 30-40 minutes youll have a cheesy, salty, mustardy, mind-and-taste-bud-blowing cauliflower experience in your mouth I guarantee it.
What are you cooking today? Id love to know. Ive gotta hurry and get this posted. I hear Mr. EN fumbling around in the kitchen and Im pretty sure I smell Pumpkin Pancakes.
Peace, love and good eats, from our Empty Nest to yours.
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Tools To Make Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Paring Knife Wondering how to roast a whole cauliflower head? Start with the prep a paring knife makes it easier to cut the woody stalk while keeping the head intact.
- 6 Quart Enameled Dutch Oven Cook the roasted garlic parmesan cauliflower recipe in a dutch oven for the ultimate tender-crisp texture. This one is the perfect size to hold a head of cauliflower.
- Porcelain Serving Platter Put your cauliflower whole roasted recipe on display on a white porcelain serving platter.
Can I Freeze Cheesy Cauliflower
I cant vouch and say yes it will work. Cauliflower itself freezes nice but the mayo and cheese could separate or curdle a bit in the freezing process. You are welcome to try but I cant make any promises.
If you want to try freezing wrap the head of cauliflower in aluminum foil tightly, then place it in a freezer bag to store. This will help to prevent air from reaching it. Freeze up to three months.
The texture will be slightly off but thaw in the fridge the night before you want to eat, the heat in the microwave or oven.
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How To Make The Sauce
The sauce is obviously where the magic happens with this Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe! It imparts so much flavor into the cauliflower and turns it from blah to AMAZING. The elements of the sauce are:
Mayo- mayo is the base of this sauce recipe! If you are vegan, you can absolutely substitute this for vegan mayo of your choice!
Dijon Mustard- for a tiny bit of kick, the dijon mustard in this recipe is perfect! If you dont have or dont want to use dijon, a stone ground or spicy mustard would also be delicious.
Lemon Juice & Zest- lemon adds the perfect zest to the sauce to help round out the flavors. I love using both the juice and zest, but if you do not have a zester, I would recommend using the whole lemon for juice!
Parmesan Cheese- the parmesan in this recipe is what thickens the sauce so that it sticks to the cauliflower and doesnt completely slide off. If you are wanting to make this recipe vegan, I suggest substituting with nutritional yeast. I would not recommend leaving this out, as it is really important for the texture of the sauce!
Smoked Paprika & Chili Powder- the seasonings and spices used in this recipe are smoked paprika and chili powder. You can sub regular paprika if thats all you have, but smoked paprika is really something special! If you want the cauliflower to have some heat, add ¼ tsp cayenne powder.
A Whole Roasted Head Of Cauliflower Is Delicious And Impressive It Can Also Be Easy And Relatively Quick Thanks To A Helpful Shortcut
A whole roasted head of cauliflower can be really impressive: beautifully golden brown with a delightfully savory, lightly nutty flavor. It can also take a really long time to cook.
But it doesnt have to.
This recipe may seem fancy, and while it is worthy of special dinners , its 100% doable any night of the week. Thanks in part to a clever shortcut, the preparation is deceptively easy.
Theres even a quick video below!
Though we most often think of cauliflower as a supporting player on a dinner plate, you could serve the whole roasted head as the centerpiece of a meal. The cut wedges form the basis of a light-yet-satisfying dinneror even a fun lunch.
You could also use the recipe below as a framework, keeping the preparation barebones with a light coating of olive oil, salt, pepper, and any spices of choice.
When roasted that way, the cauliflower is an ideal foil for sauces like Romesco, tahini, or even a favorite hummus, from the classic rendition to one of the many flavor variations . Just cut the finished cauliflower into wedges and spread with your sauce of choice. Served this way, it makes a light, plant-based meal thats both satisfying and special.
The downfall of some similar recipes is that the cauliflower takes a very long time to cook. Its dense, so that makes sense. To make the preparation far quicker, I make use of a convenient shortcut: the microwave.
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Ingredients To Make Microwave Cauliflower
- Cauliflower: 1 whole head. Any size will do. I always grab a large sized head of cauliflower for more servings and leftovers.
- Mayonnaise: A good quality mayo works well for cooking. Dukes or Best Foods are good here.
- Mustard: Plain yellow prepared mustard.
- Onion: Fine diced sweet or yellow onion.
- American Cheese: Individual slices of American Cheese is a beautiful melting cheese.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Whole Baked Cauliflower:
How long does cauliflower need to be cooked for?
Cauliflower florets takes 7-10 minutes to steam or 20-30 minutes to roast. A whole head of cauliflower needs to be baked for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Is it necessary to boil cauliflower before cooking?
No, it isn’t necessary to boil cauliflower before steaming, baking or roasting. However, parboiling cauliflower for 5 minutes can reduce baking time for a whole head by about 15 minutes.
Can you eat cauliflower raw?
Yes. Cauliflower is excellent served raw with dips or in salads. Just be sure to cut the stems small enough to bite through.
What goes with roasted cauliflower?
You can serve roasted cauliflower as a main dish paired with a salad, or as a side dish with chicken, steak or fish. It’s also excellent added to egg dishes such as omelets or frittata, or added to pasta.
How long do you bake whole cauliflower?
A whole head of cauliflower takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to bake in an oven set to 350F-375F.
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Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Recipe
- 1/2cupParmesan Cheese, grated*
To prepare cauliflower, remove the stem and green leaves from the bottom of the head. Trim the base of the core so that the head will stand upright.
Place the whole head of cauliflower into a steamer basket, place the basket in a large pot, and add one inch of water. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until tender when pierced.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the head of cauliflower into a baking dish or pie plate.
In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, and mustard spread the mixture over the cauliflower. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.
Bake, uncovered, approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and melted.
Makes approximately 2 to 4 servings.
Baked Whole Cauliflower With Cheese
Learn how to make a delicious Baked Whole Cauliflower with cheese , fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon zest. This whole roasted cauliflower recipe is baked in a Dutch oven and can be served as a savory vegetarian side dish. Its easy to prepare and perfectly tender.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my affiliate disclosure.
If you love cauliflower, you absolutely need to try roasting a whole head! Not only does this cooking method produce the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower, but it also skips the step of cutting a cauliflower into florets. Say goodbye to those crumbly white pieces that get all over your kitchen!
I first made this baked whole cauliflower with cheese recipe a couple years ago, but I wanted to give it a makeover and share it again during the holiday season. Cauliflower roast is a great addition to a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal.
It looks gorgeous on a holiday table, front and center just like a turkey. You can even dress it up with the mushroom sauce from my Roasted Kohlrabi Steak or with another type of gravy. Actually, the mushroom and lentil gravy from my cookbook would be the perfect addition, since its packed with plant-based protein to make the dish more filling.
Whether you serve it as a side or bulk it up as a main dish, its sure to be a huge hit! Id love to hear what you do with your roasted cauliflower head in the comments.
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