So cheesy and full of ooey-gooey goodness! Grab your forks and dig into this yummy Cauliflower Casserole. This is home-cooked comfort food at its best!

Cauliflower Casserole

I tend to think of fall and winter as casserole season. It’s definitely the time of year that makes scalloped potatoes and shepherd’s pie seem like the BEST dinner ideas ever!

And while those dishes are delicious anytime of the year – as soon as the cold winds start to blow, I begin to crave being wrapped in the proverbial blanket of comfort food.

Well, I’m super excited to be sharing this cauliflower casserole recipe with you today, friends! It tastes indulgent, yet is still loaded with tons of the veggies our bodies crave. As we head into the coldest months of the year, I hope this will be in your steady dinner rotation at your house. It’s pretty dang yummy!

sauce for cauliflower casserole

What does this cheesy cauliflower casserole taste like?

Ben actually said that this recipe reminded him of cauliflower au gratin. And I’d say that’s pretty spot on!

On its own, cauliflower is quite mild in terms of flavor. It has a slight nuttiness – and is sometimes reminiscent of the flavor of cabbage. However, one of the best parts of using a vegetable like cauliflower is that it absorbs the flavors of the other casserole ingredients. 

Leeks deliver some of the flavors you might get from onions – but aren’t quite as strong. And that garden freshness is boosted by the smokiness from using bacon flavored bits (which are actually vegan… more on that in a sec).

The umami and earthy essence of miso paste brings it all together – making a vegetable and cheese casserole recipe that has all the savory flavors of the best home-cooking.

And from a texture perspective, the creaminess of the sour cream and cream cheese is countered by the faint crunch from the leeks and the soft bite of the cauliflower. 

ingredients for cauliflower casserole

Ingredients for a loaded cauliflower casserole

  • Cauliflower: Look for fresh cauliflower that has dense, tightly packed florets. It shouldn’t feel bendy or soft. Now, if you find that your cauliflower has a couple of faint brown spots on the exterior of the head, don’t worry! That browning is typically caused by oxidation. Just cut those spots out prior to cooking.
  • Leeks: We’re just using the white parts of this allium. The green bits (especially the dark green nearest the far tips) are much too tough and won’t cook well.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Use some of the good stuff 🙂 You’ll be using this to cook your leeks until they are tender.
  • Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and Miso Paste: This combination will form our creamy and savory casserole sauce. Use white or mixed (awase) miso paste for the most balanced flavor. Grab miso paste at your local Asian grocery store – or pick it up on Amazon.
  • Garlic Powder: Sweeter and less assertive than fresh garlic, this powder made from dehydrated and ground garlic-cloves is perfect for this flavorful recipe.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: This will form the top layer of our cheesy cauliflower casserole. Once baked in the oven, it will be creamy, bubbly perfection!
  • Scallions: These green onions are a superb topping because of their garden freshness and crunchy texture.
  • Vegan Bacon Bits: Crunchy, savory and oh, so smoky! Most mass produced bacon flavored bits are made from either soy flour or textured vegetable protein. And they work so well to deliver a cured, salty crunch in this recipe. These are the bacon flavored bits I used (Amazon).
cauliflower in mixing bowl

How to make cauliflower casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 ºF.
  2. Lightly grease a 1.5 quart casserole dish with cooking spray – or brush on a bit of olive oil.
  3. Fill a pot with water and 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring it to boil. Add your cauliflower florets and boil for 5 minutes – until they are soft but still yielding a crunch. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, add olive oil and leeks to a pan over medium heat and cook until leeks are tender. Once cooked, add them to the mixing bowl with the cauliflower. 
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk cream cheese, sour cream and miso paste until smooth. Stir in garlic powder and season well with salt and pepper. 
  6. Pour the creamy mixture over the cauliflower and leeks. Mix with a spatula until the vegetables are evenly coated. 
  7. Spread the cauliflower mixture into the casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and the cheese is melted.
  8. Take the casserole out of the oven and top with scallions and bacon bits. Serve.

How simple is that!? This cauliflower casserole is ready in about 35 minutes from start to finish. And while it might be easy to make, it will wow your family and friends with a TON of flavor!

casserole with shredded cheddar cheese

What to serve with cauliflower casserole

This cauliflower, cheese and leek casserole makes the perfect holiday recipe – whether you’re in need of a Thanksgiving casserole or a last minute Christmas dinner idea. Therefore, you could totally serve it alongside this slow cooker green bean casserole, this homemade easy vegan stuffing – or this lightened up corn casserole and be in great shape during the holidays!

But the great thing about casseroles in general is that they’re fantastic to make anytime you’re craving a bit of easy home cooking to scratch your comfort food itch. Check out these delicious and simple recipes that pair super well with this cauliflower recipe: 

Did you like this Cauliflower Casserole Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

Cauliflower Casserole Cauliflower Casserole Print

Cauliflower Casserole

You’re going to love this cheesy cauliflower casserole. It’s the comfort food equivalent of a warm blanket!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium cauliflower head (about 1 pound), chopped into bite size florets
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white or awase miso paste (optional but recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Vegan bacon bits (such as McCormick Bac’n Pieces)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ºF.
  2. Lightly grease a 1.5 qt casserole dish.
  3. Fill a pot with water and 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring it to boil. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 5 minutes, until they are soft but still yielding a crunch. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, add olive oil and leeks in a pan over medium heat and cook until leeks are tender. Add them to the mixing bowl.
  5. In a bowl, whisk cream cheese, sour cream, and miso paste until smooth. Stir in garlic powder and season well with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower and leeks and mix with a spatula until the vegetables are evenly coated.
  7. Spread the cauliflower mixture into the casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and cheese, melted.
  8. Take the casserole out of the oven and top with scallions and bacon bits. Serve.

Notes

Store any leftovers covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Keywords: Thanksgiving, Christmas, comfort food, winter food, side dish

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