Meat Free Monday – Cauliflower Cheese Gratin

I had one of those days today when you just feel sluggish and in need of a quick and easier dinner for the whole family nothing fancy just good old fashioned home-cooking. Freddie had preschool today so was ‘mega’ hungry and needed feeding fast. This cauliflower cheese recipe definitely hits the spot – a quick, easy and satisfying dinner. If you are having an organised day you can prepare it in advanced and then simply reheat it later in the day and crisp up the gratin topping under the grill.2014 03 17_1788

Neither of the children are big milk drinkers so I am often looking for ways to get extra calcium into their diets and this meal definitely helps them get their daily calcium needs. If you are wondering what the daily requirements are for children aged 1-3 years they need around 500mg of calcium and 4-8 years need around 700mg of calcium. Here’s what that means as food:

  • 200ml milk = around 300mg of calcium
  • 40g hard cheese = around 300mg of calcium
  • 50g sardines = around 200mg of calcium
  • 15 almonds = around 40mg of calcium
  • 1 cup baked beans = around 125 mg calcium

If your children aren’t all that keen on dairy giving them snacks like hummus, smoothies and nuts and seeds and sneaking in the green veggies can help meet their daily calcium needs.

Cauliflower Cheese Gratin
Suitable from around 7 months
Freezes well without topping
Makes:2 adult and 2 preschooler
Preparation & Cooking time:
30 minutes

Cauliflower Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
30g butter
30g plain flour
700ml semi skimmed or standard milk
50g grated tasty cheese
1/2 a large cauliflower cut into florets

Gratin Topping
2 slices of wholemeal bread made into breadcrumbs
30g tasty cheese

To make the sauce:
In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter and sieve in the flour. Cook the paste for a couple of minutes. This will stop the sauce tasting floury.

Slowly add the milk stirring with a whisk to prevent it becoming lumpy. (If you do have a disaster and the sauce goes lumpy simply pass it through a sieve before completing the next step to ‘save’ it!)

Once the sauce starts to thicken add the grated cheese and stir through followed by the cauliflower.

Leave the sauce on a medium to low heat to thicken and cook the cauliflower stirring from time to time to make sure the bottom doesn’t catch. Make sure you don’t overcook the cauliflower as there is nothing worse than mushy cauliflower! About 10 – 15 minutes.

Pour the sauce into a casserole dish.

To make the gratin topping:

Combine the breadcrumbs and tasty cheese and sprinkle on top of the cauliflower cheese.

Place the dish under a hot grill for about 5 minutes – keep a close eye as you want the topping golden and crunchy.

If you are making the dish in advance I recommend sprinkling on the topping just before you reheat it to stop it going soggy. Then reheat at about 180’C covered with a lid. Once the sauce it piping hot switch the oven to the grill setting to crisp up the gratin.

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One thought on “Meat Free Monday – Cauliflower Cheese Gratin

  1. Pingback: 10 top tips help get a fussy toddler eating | Freddie's Food

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