Thursday 29 October 2020

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

I adore cauiflower and broccoli. They are actually my favourite of the cruciferous vegetable family and never more so than when I combine the two in a tasty bake such as Cauliflower & Broccoli and Cheese.

Another thing I love is The Big Bang Theory.  I actually had never watched it until I spent a few weeks in my brother's company a number of years back.  

We had both flown home to be with my mother when she had her lung cancer operation.  We spent about a week or so alone in my mom's house with only each other for company. 


Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

It was quite a pleasant time for us as we got reacquainted with each other after not having seen each other for a number of years. In the evenings we watched the Big Bang Theory. It was a television program which I had always avoided for some reason and a show he wasn't allowed to watch at home.

I don't know why I had avoided it really. I guess I thought it might be a bit silly.  In any case I fell in love with the show and have been watching it ever since.

The characters in it actually reminded me very much of my brother and his friends when they were in high school in many ways. They were all science nerds!

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese


One of my favourite episodes is where Sheldon decides he is going to prolong his life by taking certain steps. One of them was declaring that every Thursday night is going to be cruciferous vegetable night!  As one might suppose this does not exactly go to plan! 

Cruciferous veggies are a diverse group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress and, surprisingly, radishes.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese


While these all may seem quite different in size, shapes and colours, they do share quite a few health benefits.Most cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate and vitamin K.

Dark green cruciferous veggies also are a source of vitamins A and C and contain phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant-based compounds that may help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer.  

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

They are also rich in fibre and low in calories, a quality which helps you to feel full and satisfied without overly indulging!  Of course adding a rich cheese sauce somewhat adds a bit in fat and calories but what a delicious way to go!  

Most cruciferous vegetables go very well with a lovely cheese sauce. I am not sure about radishes.  Somehow the thought of radishes in a cheese sauce doesn't really appeal, but that's not to say that it wouldn't be delicious.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

 They are awfully good in salads however, which does go for most cruciferous vegetables I have to say. When it comes to cheese however, I don't think you can get much better than Cauliflower  or Broccoli Cheese! 

Or, in this case, Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese!  Yummo!!

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese


Crispy tender pieces of cauliflower and broccoli, bathed in a lush cheese sauce and baked until the whole thing is bubbling and golden brown. What could be bad about that! 

Today I used these little mini heads of both.  They're so cute. They look just like baby heads of broccoli and caulifower!

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese


I cooked them until just tender to the tip of a knife in some lightly salted boiling water. Then I drained them well and cut each in half. DO make sure you drain them well or you will end up with a soggy result.

It doesn't take long.  Pop them into the water. Bring back to the boil and then cook for just a few minutes longer maximum. You want them to still have a bit of a bite.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese


For the cheese sauce you want to use a really good cheddar. I use a nice strong farmhouse cheddar. It is the kind of cheese you won't mind eating on its own  with some crackers and it is excellent in a sauce such as this.

The important thing is to use a cheese that is well flavoured. You won't want to use a mamby pamby cheese. You want to be able to taste it. 

Cauliflower and Broccoli have strongish flavours. You will want a sauce that is equal to it in strength when it comes to flavours.  

I think the colours of the two in this dish look very well together.  The green and the white. I alternate them in the baking dish like a checkerboard.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

 I always add a touch of mustard and cayenne to my cheese sauces. It truly makes a difference.

These two ingredients make cheese sauces taste even cheesier. I am not sure how that works, but it works very well, just like magic.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese


Of course you can use just broccoli or just cauliflower in this. It does not have to be both. It will truly be delicious either way.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

This makes for a very lush side dish for any main meal and an excellent  main dish for a vegetarian.  Its delicious and lush no matter how you serve it.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 40 Mincook time: 15 Mintotal time: 55 Min
An old British favourite. This dish makes a tasty side dish, light main course, or delicious alternative for a Vegetarian Sunday lunch.


You will need:
  • 2 very  small cauliflower, trimmed
  • 2 very small broccoli crown, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
For the cheese sauce:
  • 1 clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 2 1/2 cups (600ml) of milk
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (150ml)of single cream 
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 2/3 cup (7 ounces) grated strong cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
To top:
  • 4 TBS grated strong cheddar cheese


  1. First make the cheese sauce. Attach the bayleaf to the onion with the clove, pressing the clove through the bayleaf and into the onion. Place in a saucepan along with the milk and the cream. Warm the milk mixture slowly to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to infuse with the flavours of the studded onion for 15 minutes. At the end of that time, strain the onion out. (reserve the onion)
  2. Melt the butter for the sauce in a clean saucepan. Whisk in the flour and dry mustard powder, and cook over low heat for several minutes. Whisk in the warm milk, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a smooth bechamel sauce.
  3. Add the onion again and allow to cook, over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. At the end of that time it should be lovely and thick and rich. Scoop out the onion and discard.
  4. Season to taste with some salt and pepper, and the cayenne.  Whisk in the cheese until it melts. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower and broccoli. Cook just until tender. This should only take a few minutes, leaving a slight bite. Drain off the water. Season with some salt and black pepper.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Spoon a little of the cheese sauce into an ovenproof dish. Arrange the cauliflower and broccoli on top. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over top to coat. Sprinkle with the additional cheese.
  7. Place in the oven to melt and colour for 10 to 15 minutes. It should be nicely browned and bubbling. Enjoy!
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Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

I could quite happy sit down with a plate of this and nothing else. If you are not fond of cauliflower, simply use all broccoli. If you don't like broccoli, use all cauliflower. If you cannot find the miniature heads of these vegetables use a small sized head of each, broken into florets.  You can add buttered breadcrumbs to the top if you wish. 

With the leftovers I made a delicious soup. Simply add the leftovers to a saucepan with chicken or vegetable stock to barely cover.  Bring to a simmer and heat through. Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender (carefully). Enjoy!  

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  1. I've always loved cruciferous vegetables as well and can't understand people turning their noses up at them (especially brussel sprouts which are delicios when cooked properly). My son particularly loved a dish I used to make that had strozzapreti and broccoli in it and always asked me to make "pasta with the little trees". ♡

    Cauliflower in cheese sauce is something I really enjoy, though I've never tried broccoli that way. I sometimes add blue cheese to the sauce for that bit extra flavour. I liked the idea of turning the leftovers into a soup - again something I'd not thought of doing, but which sounds really delicious.

    We don't get the mini vegetables here, but I'm happy to use the ordinary ones broken into florets.

    1. That sounds lovely Marie. Strozzapreti. I will need to look that one up. Blue cheese adds wonderful flavours to a cheese sauce. I often will add it as well. I didn't have any today so left it out. DO try making a soup with the leftovers. You are sure to love it! I am excited at the prospect of you trying it! xoxo

  2. This looks really yummy Marie, but then broccoli anything is yum to me. This looks particularly scrumptious and a massive upgrade to how broccoli is usually served in this house...simply steamed (with a dab of cheez whiz, shhhh).

    1. haha, been there done that. It was a real favourite with the children when they were growing up. THis is certainly an upgrade. I hope you will make and enjoy! xoxo

  3. Lots of good stuff ...AND........cheese!
    Yum! V


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