Stuff I Would Cook or Make: Cheesy Baked Cauliflower

Over the weekend my friend T. described a cheesy baked cauliflower dish that she’d made. It was a riff on mac-n-cheese, except with cauliflower.

It sounded delicious.

I decided to make my own version. Without a recipe.

(Danger!)

If you are a regular reader, you know that I hate all domestic chores, but especially cooking, so this was a bold and unusual move.

I started with a 16 oz bag of crumbled cauliflower rice.

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Photo from Pinterest

I decided to add protein via a 15 oz can of (rinsed) garbanzo beans mixed with the cauliflower.

To make it creamy, I added 8 oz of fat-free cream cheese.

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I put all of these in a microwave-safe bowl and cooked for four minutes. After stirring and tasting, I decided it sorely lacked flavor and added about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Big improvement.

Here’s where I made a mistake: in my zeal to make this dish healthy, I used two cups of fat-free shredded cheddar.

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Don’t use this

This was a bad decision. Not only is this cheese waxy and flavorless, it does not melt well. Do yourself a favor and get reduced fat cheese, the sharper the better. Or go nuts and get full fat. Just avoid the orange stuff above.

I stirred half of the cheese into the cauliflower mix and poured it into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. The rest of the cheese went on top.

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Before

The casserole went into a 350 F oven for about 35 minutes. I kept waiting for the cheese to melt and make a satisfying golden brown crust, but that never really happened.

I served it with a salad.

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Verdict: in the end, this was pretty tasty. No joke! I liked it enough to have leftovers at lunch the next day.

My kids hated it, though. Spouse didn’t try it.

So there you have it.

P.S. I think this dish still has potential, especially if you get the cheese right. There is also room to add in a lot of other veggies. Sun dried tomatoes would be terrific in here.

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