Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin (Bacon Optional)

Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin (Bacon Optional)

Let’s talk about Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  First, in case you weren’t sure, rather than “brussel sprouts,” which is a common misspelling, these veggies are called “Brussels sprouts” because they are named after the city of Brussels.  As cauliflower season ends with the end of summer, Brussels sprouts come into season with the arrival of fall, so this recipe is a great transitional recipe to try as the seasons change.  But I must admit that I never was a big fan of Brussels sprouts as a kid, and I preferred cauliflower raw and crunchy rather than cooked.  Then as an adult, I learned that Brussels sprouts don’t have to be bitter and cooked cauliflower can be tasty.

But, if you are still skeptical, you may want to give this recipe for Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin a try because preparing veggies au gratin style makes almost any veggie better, and bacon makes everything better!  That means this scrumptious recipe, which combines both, has to be a winner, right?!  🙂

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To start, you need the florets from about 1/2 a head of cauliflower.  If you made the Roasted Cauliflower Steaks, then use the leftover florets.  (Click here for the Roasted Cauliflower Steak recipe.)
Cut the florets into small pieces so that each can be eaten in one or two bites.  Then quarter 6 Brussels sprouts.

To make sure the veggies are tender after they are baked, you need to pre-cook them a little.  Just bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil and add the veggies to the boiling water for 4-5 minutes.  (You can cut back on the cooking time if you want to keep the veggies a little crunchy.) Then thoroughly drain them.

While the veggies are boiling, cook 1 slice of bacon and chop it into pieces.  The microwave is great for cooking the bacon!

While the veggies are draining and cooling a little, you can make the creamy cheese sauce.  To save on dirty dishes, use the same pot that you cooked the veggies in.  Just dry it out.  Add a tablespoon of butter and melt it over medium heat.  Then whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour.  Keep whisking for a minute or two to cook out the raw flour flavor.   Then whisk in a cup of milk.  (You can use skim milk or 1% milk if you want to save some calories.  It will still taste great.)  Heat the milk mixture until it thickens and add salt and pepper to taste.  I also like to add a dash of freshly grated nutmeg!  It will add extra flavor and make everyone wonder exactly what made the sauce so special.

When the milk mixture is thickened, turn down the heat and stir in an ounce of Havarti cheese and an ounce of sharp cheddar.  (If you don’t have any Havarti, you can just double the amount of cheddar.) When the cheese is melted, gently mix in the cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and bacon.  Transfer the veggies to a buttered baking dish.

Now for the crunchy topping.  Melt a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over low heat.  Then add 1/2 a cup of Panko breadcrumbs.  Stir the breadcrumbs until they just start to brown.  Watch them carefully or they will burn!  Then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

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Bake the veggies in a 375 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes.  If the top is not brown enough after 30 minutes, then place the veggies under the broiler for a minute or two.  But watch them carefully to make sure that they don’t burn.

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Now it is time to enjoy your luscious, cheese-coated veggies!

Thanks to Ina Garten for inspiring this recipe with her Cauliflower Gratin Recipe. You can find the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe here.

Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin (Bacon Optional)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ a head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 6 brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 slice bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1½ Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 oz. Havarti cheese
  • 1 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the cauliflower florets into small pieces so that each piece can be eaten in one or two bites.
  3. Quarter 6 Brussels sprouts.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil and add the veggies to the boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Then thoroughly drain them.
  5. Cook 1 slice bacon and chop it into small pieces. The microwave is great for cooking the bacon!
  6. While the veggies are draining and cooling a little, make the creamy cheese sauce. To save on dirty dishes, you can use the same pot that you cooked the veggies in. Just dry it out. Add a tablespoon of butter and melt it over medium heat.
  7. Whisk in 1½ tablespoons of flour. Keep whisking for a minute or two to cook out the raw flour flavor.
  8. Whisk in a cup of milk. (You can use skim milk or 1% milk if you want to save some calories.)
  9. Heat the milk mixture until it thickens
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a dash of freshly grated nutmeg!
  11. When the milk mixture is thickened, turn down the head and stir in an ounce of Havarti cheese and an ounce of grated sharp cheddar.
  12. When the cheese is melted, gently mix in the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bacon.
  13. Transfer the veggies to a buttered baking dish.
  14. For the crunchy topping, melt a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over low heat.
  15. Add ½ a cup of Panko breadcrumbs.
  16. Stir the breadcrumbs until they just start to brown. Watch them carefully or they will burn!
  17. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the cauliflower and broccoli.
  18. Bake the veggies for 25-30 minutes.
  19. If the topping is not brown enough, put the veggies under the broiler for a minute or two. Watch them carefully to prevent burning.

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