If you try to avoid carbs in your diet, and especially that ridiculously high-glycemic white potato that is right up there with pure sugar, you are probably familiar with cauliflower as a low-carb substitute for potatoes, especially mashed with a little cream cheese, in place of mashed potatoes. Cauliflower also works in casseroles and gratins as a potato substitute, and that’s what I’m making here. It’s not low fat; it’s not low calorie; it’s not without dairy; it just avoids some of the high carbs of potatoes. For me, the fat and dairy, and even the calories are not so much a problem, but if they are for you, you might want to use lower fat varieties of the dairy products and lean ham instead of bacon.
Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter a shallow, oblong baking dish
1 large head cauliflower
8 oz bacon, chopped and browned
4 green onions, chopped
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2-1 cup heavy cream or half and half or a combination of cream and milk
2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or Mexican blend
- Remove leaves from the cauliflower, leaving enough of the stem to hold the head together.
- In pot large enough to hold the cauliflower comfortably, bring one inch of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower head, cover and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
- Remove head of cauliflower and break apart, cutting away the tough stem. Place cauliflower pieces in buttered baking dish. Optional: mash some of the cauliflower before adding to the dish for a mixed texture.
- Sprinkle green onions and browned bacon over cauliflower. At this point, you could put it in the refrigerator, adding the sauce and baking later.
- Make the sauce: In small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese and sour cream until fairly smooth. Add enough cream or milk to make a pouring consistency. You want to be able to pour it over all the cauliflower. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese.
- Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. It should cover the top, but don’t worry about stirring; it will all melt down in the dish and create a smooth, almost soufflé consistency on baking.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese over the top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until browned. If you have refrigerated the dish, bring it to room temperature before adding the sauce and baking.
I did not think the finished dish needed salt.