There are a handful of side dishes I make that I think are as attractive as they are delicious! This Cauliflower with Cheese sauce is one of them. This dish became popular in the US in late 70’s, but was actually something that was already a staple item eaten in Europe as a vegetarian main dish, not just a sided as I typically serve it.
This Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce is a Family Favorite!
I remember in the 4th grade going over to a friends house for dinner, and was served cauliflower with cheese sauce. The cheese, if you can actually call it that, was a somewhat liquid-like cheese we squirted onto our cauliflower at the table. At the time, my 9 year old brain thought this was so cool, but I didn’t actually like the flavor of it and the texture was odd. It tasted more like salty milk, than the cheese I was used to. This stuff came in a can and was like silly string made for cheese. The 70’s were ripe with odd, fake foods though and I have no idea who thought this invention was a good one.
My mom always served a vegetable side dish with dinner and Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce was a regular. She boiled a whole head of cauliflower, drained the water and then placed it in a pyrex dish and mixed up pretty much the same recipe for cheese sauce that I use today. This whole head of cauliflower was basically frosted with this sauce and when baked in the oven and looked like a huge, golden-orange, orb when set on the table. It was spectacular looking to my little kid self.
The pitfall to the huge, orb of orange cauliflower, was that when you cut a piece off with a serving spoon, the cauliflower on the inside didn’t get the same cheesy love that the outside got OR my older brother scraped too much of the cheese off onto his plate and I was left with mostly cauliflower and not enough cheese!
This Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce is the perfect side dish!
Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
- 1 head Cauliflower, cut into flowerettes
- 1 cup mayonaise
- 2-3 Tablespoon yellow mustard adjust depending on your taste for mustard
- 2 dashes cayenne pepper
- 2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
- Cut cauliflower into flowerettes. Place in pot of water and cook until fork tender.
- Grease a pyrex dish to prevent sticking
- Drain cooked cauliflower in colander and then pour cauliflower into greased pyrex dish.
- Mix mayo, mustard, cayenne and cheddar cheese in a bowl. Spread this mixture over the top of the cauliflower
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cauliflower into hot oven, uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned on top.
When I was old enough to make this on my own, I broke down the cauliflower into flowerettes and cooked them, then spread the cooked cauliflower into a baking dish where it was then all covered with equal portions of cheese sauce, problem solved!
This dish couldn’t be easier to make. The ingredients are all simple and likely in your fridge right now. You can make some alterations to the recipe in the form of your choice of cheese. You can use extra sharp, mild or even pepper jack. I like to add cayenne to my sauce, and use standard yellow mustard, but I have used Dijon and Jalapeno mustard in the past, which gave it a very nice flavor. However you choose to make this Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Does your family have a side dish that shows up on your dinner table on a regular basis like this Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce?