Bake this cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole with bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese in just 30 minutes. If you love loaded potatoes, I urge you to give this recipe a try.
This delicious side dish will satisfy your cravings while keeping things light and nutritious. Packed with flavor and loaded with all your favorite toppings, it’s a dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.
With the addition of bacon and the cheesy sauce, this is hearty enough to serve as a main dish. Yum, good stuff.
Low-Carb Gluten-Free Version of Loaded Baked Potatoes
If you’re looking for a tasty alternative to traditional potatoes with all the flavors of a loaded baked potato, this recipe is a game-changer. Tender cauliflower takes center stage, offering a low-carb and gluten-free option that doesn’t skimp on taste.
With a creamy and cheesy base, combined with crispy bacon, green onions, and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, this casserole is a true delight for your taste buds.
If you are on a keto diet, this cauliflower recipe is for you.
Why We Think You’ll Love this Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Not only is this Loaded Cauliflower Casserole incredibly delicious, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. With just a few simple steps, you’ll have a crowd-pleasing dish ready to serve in no time. Whether you’re hosting a family gathering, a potluck, or simply want to elevate your weeknight dinner, this recipe is a perfect side dish that our whole family loves.
- Easy Side Dish Recipe
- Done in 30 minutes
- Crowd-pleasing dish
- Full of cheesy bacon flavor
- Cauliflower is tender with a flavorful creamy sauce
- Natural ingredients that are gluten-free, low carb, and keto
- Hearty and satisfying side dish
Get ready to dig in and savor the creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying flavors of this Loaded Cauliflower Casserole.
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Side Dish Ingredients and Substitutions
Let’s delve into the delicious ingredients of our Loaded Cauliflower Casserole and explore some potential substitutions that you can try:
Cauliflower: The star of the show! A head of cauliflower provides a low-carb and gluten-free base for this dish. If you prefer, you can substitute it with broccoli florets for a slightly different flavor and texture. Use fresh cauliflower or frozen cauliflower for this recipe.
Shredded Cheddar Cheese: This adds a wonderful cheesy goodness to the casserole. Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese, such as Colby Jack, Mozzarella, or a combination of your favorites. You can also use dairy-free or vegan cheese alternatives for a plant-based version.
Bacon: The crispy bacon bits are the perfect salty and savory addition to this casserole. If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan option, you can substitute the bacon with plant-based bacon or omit it altogether. Smoked tempeh or coconut bacon can be great alternatives. You can leave out the bacon and enjoy a cheesy cauliflower casserole.
Green Onions: These add a fresh and mild onion flavor. If you don’t have green onions on hand, you can use finely chopped regular onions or shallots as a substitute.
Sauce and Seasonings
Sour Cream: Sour cream provides a creamy and tangy element to the casserole. If you prefer a lighter option, you can use Greek yogurt, cream cheese, or plain yogurt instead. For a dairy-free version, try using coconut milk yogurt or a non-dairy sour cream alternative.
Heavy Whipping Cream: The cream adds richness to the dish. If you don’t have heavy cream, you can use half-and-half or whole milk as a lighter substitute. For a dairy-free option, use a plant-based heavy cream alternative like coconut cream.
Bacon Fat and Butter: These add richness and flavor. If you prefer a dairy-free option, you can use a plant-based butter substitute or omit the butter altogether.
Garlic Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper: These seasonings add depth and enhance the flavors of the casserole. Feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences. You can also experiment with additional herbs and spices, such as paprika, dried thyme, or onion powder, to customize the flavor profile.
Make This Cauliflower Side Dish Ahead of Time
If you like to meal prep for the week or assemble this ahead of time for your Thanksgiving Dinner, it is simple to do.
Just get everything done and place it in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to 2 days ahead. Bake as directed, but it may take longer if you place it in the oven directly from the fridge.
How to Store Leftovers
If you happen to have any leftovers, just place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
To reheat, just warm leftover casserole in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until warm.
Freeze for up to 4 months. Place it in a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before heating, or bake from frozen at 325 degrees F, until hot.
What does cauliflower pair well with?
Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that pairs well with a variety of flavors and ingredients. Here are some popular pairings for cauliflower:
Cheese: Cauliflower and cheese make a delicious combination. Cheddar, Parmesan, and Gruyere are common choices that complement the mild flavor of cauliflower.
Herbs and spices: Cauliflower can be enhanced with the flavors of herbs and spices. Some popular options include garlic, thyme, rosemary, cumin, turmeric, and paprika.
Lemon: The bright and citrusy flavor of lemon can add a refreshing twist to cauliflower dishes. A squeeze of lemon juice or some lemon zest can lift the flavors and provide a tangy element.
Nuts: Adding toasted nuts like almonds, cashews, or pine nuts to cauliflower dishes can provide a satisfying crunch and nutty flavor that complements the vegetable’s mild taste.
Creamy sauces: Cream-based sauces, such as a rich cheese sauce or a creamy garlic sauce, can add a luscious and indulgent element to cauliflower dishes.
Roasted vegetables: Combining cauliflower with other roasted vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or sweet potatoes can create a delicious medley of flavors and textures.
Curry spices: Cauliflower works exceptionally well in curries. The earthy flavor of cauliflower pairs beautifully with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala.
Tomato-based sauces: Cauliflower can be incorporated into tomato-based sauces, such as marinara or curry sauces, for added depth and texture.
Why do you soak cauliflower before cooking?
Soaking cauliflower before cooking is an optional step that can be done to help remove any dirt, debris, or potential insects that may be hiding in the florets. It is particularly recommended when you’re dealing with fresh, whole cauliflower heads.
By soaking the cauliflower in water, you allow the water to penetrate the crevices and gaps between the florets, helping to dislodge any impurities. Soaking also helps to loosen any stubborn dirt or debris that may be clinging to the cauliflower.
Additionally, soaking cauliflower in water can help to freshen and hydrate the vegetable, especially if it has been stored for a while or feels slightly wilted. This can improve the texture and overall quality of the cauliflower when cooked.
To soak cauliflower, simply submerge the whole head or the separated florets in a large bowl of salt water. Let it sit for 30 minutes. After soaking, rinse the cauliflower under running water to ensure it is clean before proceeding with your preferred cooking method.
While soaking cauliflower is not always necessary, it can be a good practice, especially if you want to ensure your cauliflower is thoroughly cleaned and refreshed before cooking.
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Side Dish Recipe
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- 6 Cups Cauliflower 1 large head
- 8 Ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 9 slices Bacon
- 3 Small Green Onions
- ¾ cup Sour Cream
- 4 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Bacon Fat
- 1 Tablespoon Butter melted
- ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C).
- In a microwave steamer basket, add a little water in the bottom of the steamer, then add the cauliflower florets. Microwave on high for 9 minutes until it is fork tender. Steaming is a great way to cook the cauliflower quickly.
- While the cauliflower is in the microwave, fry the bacon. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large skillet and fry until crisp and golden. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Save 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, heavy whipping cream, bacon fat, butter, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, until smooth.
- Stir in half of the cheddar cheese, half of the bacon, and half of the green onions.
- Add the steamed cauliflower to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a small 1.5 quart (1.4 L) casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese and bacon. Bake for 15 minutes until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining fresh green onions.