Whole Roasted Cauliflower Cheese Recipe

This whole roasted cauliflower cheese recipe makes the ultimate vegetarian centrepiece. Cauliflower is baked to crisp perfection before being drowned in the most delectable cheesy sauce.

whole roasted cauliflower cheese

Cauliflower cheese is easily one of the most comforting foods in the world. However, when served up in its regular, casserole-style form, it doesn’t tend to be the most impressive-looking dish.

A whole roasted cauliflower, on the other hand, makes an instant centrepiece. So, I figured, why not make a recipe that combines the best of both worlds? Cue my whole baked cauliflower with cheese.

The recipe is inspired by my favourite cauliflower cheese of all time, by the legend Ottolenghi. The cheese sauce packs a huge amount of flavour, thanks to the addition of mustard, curry powder and chilli. It sounds bizarre, but it just works.

whole roasted cauliflower cheese

How to Roast a Whole Cauliflower

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C and line a baking tray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, lower cauliflower head down into the water and boil for 6 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain for 10 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix oil, butter and salt. Brush the cauliflower with the mixture.
  5. Place in oven (cauliflower head facing up) for 1 hour 30 minutes. Every 20 minutes whilst cooking, re-brush cauliflower with butter mixture.
  6. Once cauliflower is tender and turning dark golden-brown, remove it from the oven.

How to make Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 8 minutes, until turning golden. Add cumin, curry powder, mustard and chillies and cook for another 4 minutes.
  2. Add in mustard seeds, cream, milk, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.

whole roasted cauliflower cheese

Ingredients Notes for Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Cheese

CAULIFLOWER: Make sure you use a whole cauliflower with its leaves slightly trimmed (so the whole cauliflower is revealed. You’ll want to keep the leaves intact for this recipe- they are delicious when roasted!

CHILLIES: Use mild red chillies to bring a kick of spice without overwhelming the flavour of the roasted cauliflower with cheese. Deseed or omit completely if you’re spice-sensitive.

CURRY POWDER: Curry powder brings brilliant complexity of flavour to the cauliflower cheese sauce. You can omit this ingredient, but I’d highly recommend trying it!

MUSTARD: Dijon mustard works best, however, you can use whatever mustard you have on hand (or mustard powder) in place.

CREAM: For best results, use double cream. This will give the most luxurious and creamy texture to the cheese sauce.

CHEESE: Mature cheddar works perfectly for this recipe as it brings a real depth to the flavour of the cauliflower cheese. Substitute for another hard cheese of your liking if you wish.

whole roasted cauliflower cheese

What to serve with Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese

This whole roasted cauliflower cheese stands on its own as a fabulous centrepiece. You can serve it alongside a vegetarian spread with dishes like green rice, broccolini and/ or a hearty salad.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Cheese

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Cheese

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This whole roasted cauliflower cheese is the ultimate vegetarian centrepiece. Cauliflower is roasted to crisp perfection before being drowned in the most delectable cheesy sauce.

Ingredients

Roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 large cauliflower (leaves intact but lightly trimmed)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Cheesy mustard sauce:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 red chillies, finely diced (deseeded for less heat)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C and line a baking tray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, lower cauliflower head down into the water and boil for 6 minutes. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix oil, butter and salt. Brush the cauliflower with the mixture, then place in oven (cauliflower head facing up) for 1 hour 30 minutes. Every 20 minutes whilst cooking, re-brush cauliflower with butter mixture. Once cauliflower is tender and turning dark golden-brown, remove it from the oven.
  4. Make cheese sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 8 minutes, until turning golden. Add cumin, curry powder, mustard and chillies and cook for another 4 minutes. Next, add in mustard seeds, cream, milk, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Place cauliflower into an ovenproof dish. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower, making sure it covers all sides. Sprinkle over remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Place back in oven at 180˚C and bake for another 10 minutes, then switch to grill for 2 minutes or until top is bubbling and turning golden.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment & review above or share a photo on Instagram tagging @polkadotpassport so I can reshare your creations!

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whole roasted cauliflower cheese
Nicola Easterby Bio Image

Hey, I'm Nicola!

I am a travel + food blogger on a mission to discover the best destinations & dishes in the world. Thanks for joining the adventure!

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