Cauliflower & Parsnip Gratin

cauliflower gratin

Hey Yo! I wanted to make a low carb version of “Mac & Cheese” made with vegetables instead of macaroni. All the ingredients I thought of using for this were white, so I embraced the monochromatic theme and thought of it as a white cheddar mac, even though there wasn’t any cheddar in it, if that makes sense.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 (or more) parsnips
  • 1 can of butter beans
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk (warmed)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp of horseradish
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets.  Peel and cut the parsnips into pale rounds. Spread out the veggies on a large baking tray, coat with some olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg and roast in the oven on high (375-400) till tender about 20 minutes. For faster cooking time, steam the veggies in a covered pot of 1-2″ of water for about 8 -10 min. and drain.

cauliflower

While the veggies are roasting, prepare the sauce, a basic ‘roux’ of roughly equal parts flour and fat. Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a sauce pan on low. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2-3 min. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of flour at a time, stir thoroughly into melted butter. Slowly add warmed milk, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and add 3/4 cup of shredded cheese and 1 Tbsp of Horseradish. I used the last of the Italian 5 cheese blend I had, a mix of Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan.

Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with butter. Pile up your roasted (or steamed) cauliflower and parsnips into the baking pan. Mix in 1 can of drained butter beans. I pureed 1/2 the can of beans and added it to the sauce, but this is optional, whole beans add a nice texture. Butter beans are a great starchy substitute for pasta, and add protein. Pour sauce over veggie and bean mixture. Stir in 2 handfuls of Panko bread crumbs.

Sprinkle the remainder of cheese (1/4 cup) and another handful of Panko on top. Brighten with a dash of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Bake for 10-15 minutes till golden and bubbly on top.

plated cauliflower gratin

Served with a simple salad of spinach, tomato, avocado, black olives and marinated artichoke hearts.

Some variations that I think would work well next time I make this, would be to add either imitation crab meat, mushrooms, carrots or sweet potatoes (not all together). Put your own spin on it! It was as comforting as Mac and Cheese but with healthier carbs and loaded with hardy vegetables.

sewing dog bed

In other news, Jazzy dog is enjoying the new custom bed cover I sewed for her.

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