The cauliflower makes a nice side dish for a holiday meal or Sunday dinner, and there are plenty of ways to elevate the dish with other vegetables and flavors. Replace some of the cauliflower florets with broccoli florets or steamed sliced carrots for extra color and flavor.
203 Calories 11 g Fat 21 g Carbs 7 g Protein
- 1 medium head cauliflower (or two 10-oz packages frozen cauliflower florets)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt (plus more, to taste)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- Dash ground black pepper
- Optional: Dash cayenne pepper
- Optional: Dash of nutmeg
- Break the cauliflower into bite-size florets.
- Add water to a large saucepan to a depth of about 2 inches. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and bring the water to a boil.
- Add the cauliflower florets to a steamer basket and place the basket in the pan. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is just tender.
- Drain the cauliflower and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Melt the butter in a small (1-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Whisk the flour into the butter until smooth and well-blended. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Gradually add the milk and continue cooking until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne or nutmeg (if using) and then pour over hot drained cauliflower. Gently mix to coat the florets.
- Speed up the cooking process in the microwave. Put the cauliflower in a microwave-safe container and add about 1 inch of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover and microwave for about 4 to 6 minutes.
- To add more flavor to the white sauce, saute two minced cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons chopped shallots before you add the flour.
- Add a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh parsley or chives to the sauce just before it’s ready for some greenery on the top.
- Add a buttery breadcrumb topping by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup of dry breadcrumbs to the hot melted butter and cook until the crumbs are golden brown. Sprinkle the crumbs over the cauliflower and sauce just before serving.
- Make it a casserole: Butter a 2-quart casserole and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Make the cauliflower and sauce following the instructions and then transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole. Top the casserole with buttered breadcrumbs and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is browned.
- Cheese it up: If you prefer a cheese sauce, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese or about 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese to the sauce mixture a few minutes before serving. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted and then pour it over the hot drained cauliflower.