Cauliflower Gratin — Vegan Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

This vegan Cauliflower Gratin recipe is a combination of cauliflower and a vegan cream sauce topped with bread crumbs. This tasty side dish transforms simple cauliflower into a rich, creamy casserole that’s way more than the sum of its ingredients. A healthy cauliflower au gratin is the perfect side dish! See post tips for making this stovetop cauliflower recipe gluten free too.

A casserole dish is full of freshly baked cauliflower gratin with a browned bread crumbled topping.

It’s that time of year. Time to start testing those recipes for the big family holiday dinner! I started testing recipes early – in search of that perfect recipe that’s healthy but also show-stoppingly delicious. Here’s what I landed on: easy Cauliflower Gratin.

I love making gratins because it’s basically a vegetable in a gravy sauce with either a crumbly or cheesy topping. Take, for example, this Vegan Green Bean Casserole. See that creamy sauce? And that delicious fried onion topping? Yep, that’s just another gratin by another name.

Another example is this Vegan Scalloped Potatoes recipe. The familiar creamy sauce is a give-away. Although this one is topped with tasty vegan cheddar cheese. Yum!

The thing is, I wanted to make this best cauliflower gratin healthy too. I think you’ll agree I found the sweet spot between healthy and delicious with this recipe!

What is cauliflower gratin?

A cauliflower gratin is a casserole recipe with a creamy cauliflower filling topped with crusty, buttery bread crumbs.

Is cauliflower healthy?

Cauliflower is a low-calorie, low-carb, nutritious vegetable. Because of its neutral flavor, you can use cauliflower to replace potatoes in many recipes to create low carb side dishes.

I love adding cauliflower to my everyday diet because cauliflower is so healthy! Cauliflower is a member of highly touted cruciferous vegetable family. That means it’s a great source of nutrients, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and more.

How to Make Cauliflower Gratin

Wondering how to make this yummy recipe for Cauliflower Gratin? Easy! Of course, you can roast the cauliflower to tenderize it first.

If you want a roasted cauliflower gratin, just heat your oven to 400F. Toss cauliflower florets on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ensuring that each piece is coated. Season with sea salt to taste. Roast on lower rack until the vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize on the edges, about 20 minutes.

However, I prefer the stove-top method. It’s simpler, and I know we all love easy vegan recipes!

Bread crumbs are in the bottom of a glass bowl.

For the Cauliflower Gratin

Bread Topping: Start with 2 slices of whole wheat bread and cut it into cubes and crumbs. Sprinkle with melted vegan butter and spices and toss to make sure it’s all coated.

Make the Creamy Sauce. You’ll work in a skillet over medium heat to cook the onions in some vegan butter. Then add some garlic. Finally, you’ll add some flour to make the thick sauce.

Vegetable Broth. I prefer to use Better than Bouillon here because there’s such diversity in the quality of vegetable broths. I’ve found Better than Bouillon to be the best. Stir it with the water in a bowl.

A skillet is full of cauliflower cooked in a gravy-like sauce.

Make the Gratin. Pour the vegetable broth in with the flour mixture in the skillet. Stir constantly to make sure you don’t get any lumps in the creamy sauce. Add the vegan cheese and stir that in. Then add the cauliflower. Stir to coat the cauliflower. Then bring this to a simmer and cook, stirring ocasionaly, for 10 – 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is beginning to get tender and the sauce has thickened.

Bake. Transfer the creamy caulilfower mixture to a casserole dish. Sprinkle with the seasoned bread crumbs, distributing it equally across the top of the cauliflower. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly around the edges. 

A hand holds bread crumbs and is dropping them over a cauliflower mixture in a casserole dish.

When done, remove from the oven and allow it to cool a little before serving. Serve warm.

You can always sprinkle more vegan parmesan in the creamy sauce too! Everyone loves a cauliflower parmesan casserole!

Looking down on a casserole dish with bread crumbs on top. There's a spoon in the dish and a blue kitchen towel on the left.

Cauliflower Gratin Toppings

Technically a “gratin” has bread crumbs on top. However, there are lots of great gratin toppings you can choose from:

  • Sprinkle the top with 1 cup shredded vegan cheddar
  • Use gluten-free bread (and then use gluten-free flour in the sauce) to make a gluten free cauliflower gratin
  • Fried onions can make a delicious topping for just about any recipe!
  • I’ve even used quinoa as a topping! Simply use 1 cup cooked quinoa in place of the bread crumbs. It’s delicious!
A spoon rests in a casserole dish full of cauliflower gratin. A blue towel is behind it.

This recipe gets two thumbs up because it comes with a another benefit. Vegan Cauliflower Gratin is the perfect side dish I’ve been looking for — it’s crazy delicious and healthy which means I can bring it to our family holiday dinner.

OK. Now I can check that off my “to do” list. Now, what’s next? Deciding on a college. Um, maybe I’ll go back to searching for recipes because I’m not ready for that one yet!

That’s it for this scalloped cauliflower dish! Looking for Thanksgiving cauliflower recipes? This one should be on your short list! Of course, it’s not only a great side-dish for your holiday dinner, it works for any dinner!

Vegan Cauliflower Dishes

Of course you love this baked cauliflower with cheese and breadcrumbs! Who wouldn’t! But that just whets your whistle for even more cauliflower dishes. Here are some favorites:

A hand holds a spoonful of cauliflower gratin, hovering over the rest of the casserole dish.

I hope you love this recipe as we do. Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

A spoon rests in a casserole dish full of cauliflower gratin. A blue towel is behind it.

Cauliflower Gratin

This Cauliflower Gratin is the perfect creamy, vegan side dish! You'll love how simple it is to make and just how delicious it is too!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

Crouton Topping

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 slices bread (preferrably whole wheat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cauliflower Gratin

Instructions

For the Crouton Topping

  • Chop the bread slices into small cubes and crumbs. Add the bread cubes and any crumbs to a bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and drizzle over the bread. Use a spatula to toss the bread to distribute the melted butter throughout. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and vegan parmesan. Toss to combine. Set aside.

For the Cauliflower Gratin

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place a skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons vegan butter. Once that melts, add chopped onion and cook until tender, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add garlic. Stir and cook for one minute. Then whisk in the flour. Stir and cook for another minute.
  • In a bowl stir together the water and bouillon. Pour this in with the flour mixture in the skillet, stirring constantly. Add vegan mozzarella and stir to combine. Add cauliflower florets. Stir to coat the cauliflower. Then bring this to a simmer and cook, stirring ocasionaly, for 10 – 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is beginning to get tender and the sauce has thickened.
  • Transfer the creamy caulilfower mixture to a casserole dish. Sprinkle with the seasoned bread crumbs, distributing it equally across the top of the cauliflower. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly around the edges.
  • When done, remove from the oven and allow it to cool a little before serving. Serve warm.

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Notes

On Cauliflower: You can use frozen cauliflower florets. For this recipe it would take 2 12-ounce bags of frozen cauliflower. Add frozen cauliflower directly to the sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Then use a spatula to break the larger cauliflower florets into smaller pieces. However, fresh cauliflower florets works for this recipe too.
Make it Gluten-Free: Make this casserole gluten free by using gluten free bread for the topping and by using a 1:1 gluten free flour in the sauce.
Nutrition Facts
Cauliflower Gratin
Amount Per Serving
Calories 207 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 672mg28%
Potassium 640mg18%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 446IU9%
Vitamin C 98mg119%
Calcium 72mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

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