Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Gruyere Cheese Sauce

This recipe and similar ideas has come across my Pinterest feed for a few holiday seasons and knew it was time to recreate my own. Cauliflower has become a popular ingredient over the past few years, whether as rice, as a chicken substitute, or served as thick cut steaks, the ways people are pushing this ingredient is fascinating. After a few visits to restaurants offering an updated take on vegetable fondue, you’ll love this recipe. The crunch on the cauliflower on the outside with buttery softness on the inside, truly changes everything. Topped with a delicious gruyere cheese sauce, it adds the creamy texture to juxtapose the crunch of the cauliflower. (If you’re looking for another amazing vegetarian side to add to a Thanksgiving, look no further than here.)

whole roasted cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Gruyere Cheese Sauce

Servings: 3-4 small plate servings, 1 main entree

Cooking time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


For the brine:

  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 2 t black peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed and core cut off

For the crust:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 T 21 seasoning blend
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1 t brown whole ground mustard
  • 1/2 t kosher salt

For the sauce

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 C 2 percent milk
  • 2 1/2 ounces Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 T minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 T minced fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Fill a dutch oven with water leaving room for cauliflower head. Bring water to boil. Stir in salt, pepper, lemon, bay leaves, garlic, and olive oil. Place core side up. Simmer for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Remove from pot with large slotted spoon and drain on cooling rack over a parchment lined baking sheet.

Meanwhile, whisk together cauliflower crust ingredients. Pat cauliflower dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Using a pastry brush, coat cauliflower with crush. Transfer to a cast iron skillet or round cake pan for baking. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is charred and brown.

Around 30 minutes into baking, begin to make your cheese sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. (You’re making the base to a basic roux/bechamel sauce.) Slowly whisk in cream and milk until smooth. Add salt and bring to boil. Then reduce to a simmer. To prevent sticking, whisk vigorously as sauce thickens. Cook for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to low heat. Whisk in grated cheese and herbs. Pour over cauliflower and save some for dipping. Enjoy one of our new favorite fall dishes!!


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