Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

5.0
(1)

A vegetable casserole so good, you'll want to eat it alone.

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
Servings:
8

From cauliflower rice to gnocchi, lots of cooks are catching on to the virtues of using cauliflower as a low-carb substitute for your favorite starches. Like potatoes, cauliflower has a mild flavor that can be easily upgraded with the addition of some cheese. Need more proof? Meet our Loaded Cauliflower Casserole.

This side is essentially a veggie-forward version of a loaded baked potato, in casserole form. By steaming the cauliflower for 20 minutes before folding in the cheese mixture, the florets soften significantly, resulting in a texture that bears resemblance to mashed thick potatoes.

According to our Test Kitchen professionals, this is not necessarily a "light" recipe. The combination of cream cheese, sour cream, and two different cheeses have the potential to weigh the casserole down, but the cauliflower really lightens the whole dish up to make it a justifiably indulgent side.

Best of all, this dish can be made up to 3 days ahead, and the leftovers keep well. When you're getting ready to serve, just pop it in the oven, top with bacon for crunch and chives for freshness, and you're well on your way to an easy Sunday dinner.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 (1 1/2-lb.) heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups), divided

  • 6 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups), divided

  • 8 bacon slices, cooked and coarsely chopped, divided

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. Fit a large pot with a steamer basket, and fill with 1 inch of water. Add cauliflower florets, and cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium, and steam until cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl until very smooth, about 1 minute. Fold in garlic powder, 1 cup each of the Cheddar and pepper Jack, half of the bacon, and 3 tablespoons of the chives. Fold in warm cauliflower. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining bacon, Cheddar, and pepper Jack.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted and top starts to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve hot.

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