Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

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This Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole is the classic all around comfort we all seek when it comes to making an incredible side dish. This recipe is loaded with chunks of cauliflower, bacon, and cheddar cheese while tossed in a delicious creamy cheese sauce.

Comes together easily, full of flavor, and the perfect side dish for any meal or special occasion!

Casserole dish filled with creamy cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives.

CHEESY LOADED CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

This Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole dish is every bite of comfort you’ve been looking for but a little lightened up. If you miss having the traditional loaded baked potato casserole, then swap out the potatoes for cauliflower for a lower-carb option.

This casserole contains blanched cauliflower combined with cream cheese, greek yogurt, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon and chives. So if you’re like me and in ultimate comfort food mode – then this is the recipe for you. Add some diced chicken to make this a complete meal!

CAULIFLOWER

Are we all still riding the train of amazement at the versatility of cauliflower? Or have you grown bored with your typical cauliflower recipes and need a little something different? Well, you’ve come to the right place because this Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole is about to wow your taste buds and give cauliflower its game back!

We have tried everything when it comes to using cauliflower as a replacement in our household: 

Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops with Cauliflower Risotto – we enjoyed the comforts of risotto but with cauliflower rice instead of traditional arborio rice.
Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce – this in replacement of the incredibly decadent alfredo sauce. You barely even taste the difference! Perfect for dipping breadsticks into! And if you want a full dish that is still low in carbs, try my Grilled Chicken Cauliflower Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles dish!

And, of course, the ever-so-popular Mini Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizzas! Well worth the extra work to enjoy a little pizza in your life without the guilt.

Casserole dish filled with creamy cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS CASSEROLE

Full recipe with directions can be found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. Keep scrolling! 🙂

  • cauliflower florets
  • bacon
  • butter
  • onion – yellow or white
  • minced garlic
  • all-purpose flour
  • almond milk
  • cream cheese
  • plain greek yogurt – 2% fat or higher
  • half and half – or more milk
  • salt & pepper
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh chives

HOW TO MAKE THIS CHEESY LOADED CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

Blanching the cauliflower 

Start by blanching the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower well & leave it to rest on a plate lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. You want to remove as much water/moisture as you can. Keep in mind: Water will leave the cauliflower as it cooks.

Crisp up the bacon 

I recommend chopping the bacon before frying it. This helps the bacon bits crisp up and cook more evenly. If you have pre-cooked bacon on hand, crumble and set aside.
Once the bacon is fully cooked, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and carefully wipe the pan clean. 

Note: the next step will be caramelizing the onions. If you prefer to use the leftover bacon grease, leave approximately 1 tablespoon in the pan.

Casserole dish filled with creamy cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives.

Make the roux 

Add 1 tablespoon butter to hot pan. Once melted and bubbling, add the chopped onion. Sauté 2-3 minutes or until caramelized. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Sprinkle in the all-purpose flour and whisk to combine. Allow the flour to cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously as you pour. Bring to a low simmer.

Pour in the half and half and continue to whisk. Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes. Add the cubes of cream cheese, stirring until fully melted. Remove from heat, stir in the plain greek yogurt, half the cheddar cheese, and half of the cooked bacon bits. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine and bake

Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add the cooked cauliflower and then pour the cheese sauce overtop. Gently toss the cauliflower to fully coat. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and bacon on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork-tender. Cook times will vary depending on how thickly cut your florets are.

Casserole dish filled with creamy cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives.

SERVE GARNISHED WITH FRESHLY CHOPPED CHIVES AND A DASH OF BLACK PEPPER!

MORE SIDE DISHES TO TRY



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Casserole dish filled with creamy cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives.

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

5 from 3 votes
This creamy, cheesy cauliflower casserole is loaded with cheese, bacon, chives, and cauliflower - tossed in an indulging creamy sauce. The perfect side dish for any holiday or occassion!
Print Recipe Rate Recipe
Course: Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bacon, Casserole, Cauliflower, Cheesy, Side Dish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (1/2 cup)
Calories: 264kcal

Ingredients:

  • 2 small heads of cauliflower (chopped into small florets)
  • 6 slices bacon (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (yellow or white)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (3-4 cloves)

Cheddar Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or thickener of choice *See notes below)
  • 2 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup half and half (or more milk)
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (more or less, to taste)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (freshly shredded)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9x13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower florets and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels (to absorb some water). Set aside.
  • Chop the bacon into small pieces and add them to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Once the bacon has started to sizzle, cover with a lid, and cook until golden (or preferred doneness). Don't overcook as bacon will continue cooking in the oven.
    Remove from heat and transfer bacon bits with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  • If using butter, wipe the saucepan clean of any leftover bacon grease and add 1 tablespoon to the pan.
    If using bacon grease, discard all but 1 tablespoon to fry.
    Return the saucepan to medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for 3-4 minutes or until caramelized. Add the minced garlic, stir, and cook 1 minute.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the additional 2 tablespoons of butter to melt. Once melted, sprinkle with flour and whisk until a paste forms. Allow the flour to cook 1 minute.
  • Slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you pour to fully combined. Pour in the half and half, whisk. Bring to a low simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding the cream cheese. Continue whisking until all of the cream cheese has melted.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in the greek yogurt, 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, and half the bacon. Season the sauce with salt and pepper - to taste.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce overtop and gently stir to combine. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and bacon.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork-tender. Garnish with salt, pepper, and freshly chopped chives.

Notes:

 
Add chicken to make this a complete meal!
Keto-friendly option: you can either omit the flour entirely, allow the milk to cook down a little more or use a little less milk and a bit more cream cheese and cheddar cheese for a thicker sauce. Another option is guar gum or xanthan gum.
Gluten-free option: use the GF version of all-purpose flour or cornstarch as a thickener.
Freshly shredded cheese will always melt better and more easily than prepackaged. 
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NUTRITION:

Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 264 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 11g55%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 695mg29%
Potassium 296mg8%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 563IU11%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 319mg32%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimer:The nutritional information provided on each recipe on With Peanut Butter on Top is given as a courtesy and as approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Nutritional information varies per brand/product. We recommend using an app to calculate full and accurate nutrition based on your ingredients used per recipe. Thank you! 🙂
Casserole dish filled with creamy cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives.
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