Loaded Cauliflower Bake ~ Think your favorite baked potato in cauliflower form and loaded with cheesy goodness, crumbled bacon and chives.
This is the kind of side dish that can easily turn into a main dish in my home. The kids love it and since it’s not loaded down with butter and cream, as with baked potatoes, I’m okay with them having it with a side of chicken. See what I mean about it being a main dish?
This is also a side dish that will definitely be making an appearance at my holiday table. Speaking of which, can you believe we are only 4 months away from the holiday madness? I can hardly wait! But before I get ahead of myself and launch us into the holidays, let’s just get through summer first and make this cauliflower side dish for today.
Before you get started, let’s get a few questions answered in terms of prep for this Loaded Cauliflower Bake recipe:
Can I use another vegetable if my kids aren’t wild about cauliflower?
You can, but cauliflower is a good candidate because of its creamy, soft texture once cooked.
Do I really need to precook the cauliflower?
You don’t have to, but I would recommend it. Otherwise, the cauliflower sweats too much and leaves you with a lot of liquids. Of course, the excess liquid can be drained.
If I pre-cook the cauliflower should I roast or steam it.
Either way works. you can even microwave it. For me the easiest way is to roast it and then use the same pan to bake the casserole.
For more cauliflower recipes, be sure to check out these recipes. Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes, Roasted Cauliflower Ziti, and Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower Pizza
- 3 lbs cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives, divided use
- 1/2 cup crumbled bacon, divided use
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
- salt and pepper
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread cauliflower florets into a baking pan and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, in a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together milk, cream cheese, flour, half of the chives, garlic powder and onion powder and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup bacon. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove pan from oven (drain liquid if there is any) and pour cheese sauce over roasted cauliflower. Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Bake for another 30 minutes or. until cheese is melted and cauliflower is cooked to preferred doneness. Remove from oven and top with remaining 1/2 cup bacon and remaining chives.