Cheesey Cauli & Bacon Bake
Really I was all about the sauce and left behind most of the cauli. If you had told me back then that cauliflower would one day be one of my favourite vegetables, I would never have believed you.
That’s because I didn’t know cauliflower could taste like this!
The secret is to roast your cauli (rather than boiling it like my Mum did). Roasting completely transforms these little white trees into golden morsels that melt in your mouth.
And of course adding oozing melted cheese and some salty bacon doesn’t hurt!
If you want to save on washing up and make this a one pot meal, you can roast the cauli in the same dish you plan to serve in, but it takes much longer when crowded. And you don’t get the same roasted flavours.
- 1/2 medium cauliflower
- 4-6 slices bacon chopped
- 100 g (3.5oz) melting cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- salad or parsley leaves to serve
Preheat your oven on its highest setting. Chop cauli into bite sized trees. Place on a baking tray so the cauli is in a single layer. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle over some salt. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, stir and scatter over the bacon. Pop back in the oven for another 5 – 10 minutes (check and stir after 5). Until cauliflower is tender and a little brown around the edges.
Divide cauli and bacon between 2 x 2cup oven proof dishes. Or pile it all into 1 x 4cup dish. Mix mayo and cheese and spread over the top of the cauli. Bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
Place salad leaves / parsley on the side or on top and serve hot.
WINE MATCH: A big buttery Chardonnay.
Variations & Substitutions
different cheese – I usually use good melting cheese like gruyere, swiss or emmental. But any combo of cheese is good including cheddar. Sometimes I add a little parmesan for extra flavour but I wouldn’t use all parmesan because it doesn’t melt and go all stringy.
vegetarian – just skip the bacon. Replace bacon with sliced onion (add to the oven at the beginning to cook with the cauli) or use sun dried tomatoes, grilled peppers or sliced smoked tofu and add them where the bacon would go. Or serve scattered with roast or smoked almonds.
more substantial (carb lovers) – toss in cooked pasta or potatoes and do the final cheese melting in larger dishes. Or serve with garlic bread or better yet pile everything into a well buttered roll.
more substantial (low carb) – serve with poached or fried eggs or as a side to roast chicken or BBQ steaks.
more veg – add other veg to roast with the cauli. Sliced onion is lovely. Broccoli or diced root veg will also work.
dairy-free – roast the cauliflower and bacon and serve on a bed of hummus or broccoli hummus.
no mayo / egg-free – use olive oil instead.
spanish vibe – use crumbled chorizo for the bacon and toss in a chopped red bell pepper (capsicum) with the cauli and a pinch of smoked paprika with the cheese.
bacon alternatives – smoked chicken, salami, cooked sausage, prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes, grilled peppers.
homemade mayo - use this recipe.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but don’t do the final cheese melting and keep the salad / parsley separately. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, crank your oven back up to the highest setting and cook for 5-10 minutes or until everything is hot and cheese is melted.
Have fun in the kitchen!
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