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Cracklin' Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

Cracklin' Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

What could entice kids to wolf down their veggies and ask for more? A topping of buttery cracker crumbs and panko. And with its blend of nutty cauliflower, Gruyere cheese sauce, and a subtle hint of horseradish, this gratin makes for one irresistibly crunchy and creamy side dish.



  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) grated Gruyere


  • 8 reduced-fat buttery crackers, crushed (we used Ritz)
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce (1/4 cup) grated Gruyere


Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and the cauliflower. Partly cover the saucepan and let the cauliflower simmer until just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and rinse it under cold water. Drain it well again.

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking often, for about 1 minute, then simmer for 1 minute more, still whisking, to thicken it.

Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the horseradish and mustard, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and the nutmeg. Stir in the cheese, then the cauliflower. Pour the mixture into a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.

To make the topping, combine the crushed crackers and panko in a small bowl. Melt the butter and stir it into the mixture.

Sprinkle the ounce of cheese over the cauliflower, then top with the crumb mixture. Bake the gratin on the bottom oven rack until it's bubbling and golden, about 15 minutes. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving (T of the gratin): Calories 239

Total Fat 15 g (23% DV)

Saturated Fat 9 g (45% DV)

Cholesterol 42 mg (14% DV)

Sodium 351 mg (15% DV)

Total Carbohydrate 16 g (5% DV)

Fiber 3 g (11% DV)

Sugars 6 g

Protein 11 g (21% DV)

Vitamin C (74% DV)

Calcium (29% DV)

Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.