Mashed Cauliflower Gratin

Mashed Cauliflower Gratin
Mashed Cauliflower Gratin. Photo © Laura Dolson
Total Time 60 min
Prep 25 min, Cook 35 min
Yield 10 servings (132 calories each)

Whether as part of the holiday dinner table or enjoyed on cold winter's night, potato gratin is a welcome and comforting side dish. But if you are watching your carbs or looking to increase your nutritional intake, potatoes don't really fit the bill. That's where mashed cauliflower gratin comes in—you will still savor the creamy, cheesy goodness while getting the health benefits of cauliflower. Cauliflower has significantly fewer calories and carbohydrates than potatoes, along with a little more fiber. Some of your guests may not even be able to tell you made the swap from potatoes to cauliflower since the flavors and consistency are so similar.

This recipe is essentially a mashed cauliflower with the addition of eggs, cheese, and a little nutmeg, baked in a casserole or gratin dish. If you add an extra egg, it becomes more custard-like and puffs a bit more. This can be made ahead and baked before serving; if cold, it will take 15 to 20 extra minutes to cook.


  • 1 medium head
  • cauliflower, chopped or cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons instant mashed potatoes, optional
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook the cauliflower until fork-tender—either microwave, covered, with a small amount of water, or steam on the stovetop.
  3. Blend cauliflower with the cream, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, nutmeg, and instant potatoes if using. An emersion blender works well, but you can also use a regular blender or food processor. (If you use a regular blender, let the mixture cool somewhat before blending. Warm ingredients are fine, but a hot mixture has the tendency to "explode" when blended with a lid on.)
  1. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add eggs and blend. Mix or blend in 1 cup of the cheese.
  2. Pour into a casserole or gratin dish, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  3. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown. Exact time will vary by the shape of the baking dish.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

The instant mashed potatoes are optional but they will help thicken the mixture by adding a little bit of starch. And although the name may not make them sound like they'd be natural and nutritious, instant mashed potatoes are actually dehydrated cooked potatoes, so they supply protein and fiber and are a good source of B vitamins and vitamin C.

The amount of butter and cream you will need varies slightly with the individual cauliflower, as the exact amount and moisture content varies. (You can use a large head of cauliflower—just add an egg and a little more of the other ingredients to achieve a creamy consistency.) Also, milk can be substituted for a less-rich casserole, with slightly more carbs.



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