Looking for an easy and delicious side dish? This Loaded Cauliflower Casserole has all the feels of a loaded baked potato but without the heaviness. Cauliflower florets mixed with crispy bacon and a cheesy cream cheese sauce, all baked up in a casserole dish, will be a hit with the whole family!
Even the pickiest eaters will keep coming back for more of this delicious casserole. It may become one of your favourite recipes perfect for any night of the week. It's also ideal for a special occasion spread along with these Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts, Sauteed Lemon Garlic Kale, and Creamy Cauliflower and Celery Root Puree.
Here's what you will need to make this cauliflower side dish. For quantities see the recipe card below.
- Olive oil
- Fresh green onions
- Cream cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Cheddar cheese (I used smoked)
- Panko bread crumbs
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
Step 1 - Cut the head of cauliflower into small florets and place in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.
Step 2 - Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and chop into small pieces.
Step 3 - In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, yogurt, half of the shredded cheese, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
Step 4 - Remove cauliflower from the oven and mix into the cheese sauce mixture along with half of the bacon bits and half the green onions. Mix until everything is well coated.
Step 5 - Pour the mixture back into the baking dish. Top with bread crumbs, the remaining cheddar cheese and bacon bits and dot with butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and breadcrumbs are toasted. You may need to broil the top for a minute or two to brown. Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining green onions.
- Cauliflower - fresh cauliflower is ideal but sometimes you want to get the job done faster so feel free to use frozen cauliflower florets. Roast until you have tender cauliflower that is no longer watery.
- Bacon - bacon pieces can be switched out for turkey or veggie bacon or chopped ham. It can also be left out completely.
- Cream cheese - I used full-fat spreadable cream cheese. You can also use light cream cheese or flavoured cream cheese such as garlic and herb.
- Greek yogurt - sour cream is a great substitute. You can also use heavy cream.
- Smoked cheddar cheese - replace the smoked cheddar with sharp cheddar, regular cheddar, or Monterey jack.
- Panko bread crumbs - regular bread crumbs work here or you can omit the crumbs and sprinkle the top with some parmesan cheese. Or for an extra cheese hit, add Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs.
This casserole can be stored in an airtight container, or covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for 5 days, or frozen for 3 months.
Make ahead - to prepare in advance complete steps up to just before adding the bread crumbs and store in the fridge until needed. Bring the dish to room temperature and continue through the rest of the steps. If adding cold to the oven it will take extra time to bake.
Mixed veggies - there are a few other veggies you could add to the cauliflower such as broccoli, bell peppers, grated carrots, brussels sprouts, or some leafy greens such as arugula or spinach. Keep in mind if you increase the veggies you will have to increase the other ingredients as well.
Make it a meal - turn this dish into a meal by adding some shredded chicken.
Extra creamy - Increasing the cream cheese and yogurt as well as adding a few splashes of heavy cream to the cauliflower mixture is a great way to make it extra luscious!
Spicy - Kick it up a notch by adding hot sauce, cayenne, chili powder, or chopped fresh chili peppers to the cheese mixture.
Customize it! - This dish is so flexible the possibilities are endless. The "sauce" can be played around with to make it more cheesy or more saucy and you can toss in any combo of ingredients you love. Let us know in the comments below how you customize yours!
Here are some main dishes you can serve this cauliflower recipe with:
- Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs
- Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Verde
- Mustard and Herb Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
- I head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices bacon
- ½ cup spreadable cream cheese, 130g/4 oz
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, 2% minimum
- ¾ cup smoked cheddar cheese, grated (70g/2.5 oz), divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)
- Place cauliflower florets in a 9x13 baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Fry bacon strips until crisp. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and chop or crumble into small pieces.
- Mix together cream cheese, yogurt, ½ cup grated cheddar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Remove cauliflower from the oven and leave the oven on. Add the cauliflower to the cheese mixture along with half of the bacon bits and half the sliced green onions. Toss to coat everything. Add the mixture back into the baking dish. Top with bread crumbs, the rest of the grated cheddar and bacon, then dot with butter pieces.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and browned. You may need to broil the top for a couple of minutes to brown. Remove from oven and garnish with sliced green onions.