Cauliflower in Cheddar Mustard Cream Sauce

Raise your hand if you love cauliflower. 

Good for you! Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C and manganese, both antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatories, fiber, and a number of B vitamins. 

What's that? 

You noticed that my hand wasn't raised earlier? 

It's true. Although I love most veggies, I generally skip right over cauliflower in favor of broccoli. Or carrots. Or green beans. Or pretty much anything else. 

I decided that needed to change, so I tried out a bunch of recipes that use cauliflower. And tried them. And tried a couple more. And finally found a cauliflower recipe that I not only like, I love. As in, I ate it for a meal. Several days in a row. And thought about it at work all morning leading up to lunch time. (And no, that's not just because I'm pregnant.) 

It's just that good. It's also fast, and easy, which makes it even more of a win. Cauliflower is steamed until it is just soft, not mushy. Then it is tossed with a cheddar mustard sauce so good that you will want some bread to mop up every last drop. It's not light by any means, but I take comfort in the fact that it's probably better for me than mac and cheese. And I'd much rather have a bowl of this than of mac and cheese. True story. 

If you've been looking for a reason to love cauliflower, or if you just want an amazingly impressive side dish that is easy to prepare (perhaps for V-day?) give this a try. You won't regret it, and you just might dream about it. 

Cauliflower with Cheddar Mustard Cream Sauce


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Fit a large saucepan with a steamer basket. Fill the pan with enough water to reach just below the bottom of the basket. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the florets to the basket, reduce heat to medium, cover, and allow the cauliflower to steam until tender but firm, about 7 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the basket.
  2. While cauliflower is cooking, place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over medium heat. When the cream is steaming and just starting to bubble around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat and add the cheese, mustard and cayenne. Whisk together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Toss the cauliflower gently with the sauce in a serving bowl. Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately. (Note: Since the sauce isn't thickened with flour or any other thickening agent, a lot of it will run off the cauliflower even after tossing. Don't worry - it's rich enough that it will still flavor the cauliflower. You could probably increase the amount of cauliflower if the wasted sauce bothers you. I always like to make sure there is excess so I know each floret is coated.) 
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 7 min Serves: 4-6

Recipe Source: America's Best Side Dishes from America's Test Kitchen

19 Click For Comments:

this looks delicious! i love finding new ways to have cauliflower

Um, wow, this actually makes me want to eat cauliflower again! I was not a fan the last time I tried it, but this sounds pretty good. Do you think it would work to substitute half and half for the cream or would it not be thick enough?

What a lovely way to use an in-season veggie like cauliflower! Absolutely beautiful images too, Nicole. You are so talented in the kitchen and behind the lens!

You know, I've been wondering about doing that substition as well. I have heavy cream around my kitchen more often than I do half and half so I haven't tried it yet. I would think the sauce would be a little thinner, but still have the richness that makes it good. I'll let you know if I try it next time, but I'm thinking it would be a good compromise between healthiness and tastiness.

Ha ha! The reason you like this dish is because by the time you add a cup of cream and a quarter pound of cheese, it probably doesn't even taste like cauliflower anymore. :) I bought a head of cauliflower last week with the intention of roasting it (which is actually decent) but instead it went into my veggie stock at the last minute. I guess I wasn't *that* intent on roasting it. :)

Baby steps, Paula, baby steps. :) Can I help that cream and cheese makes it amazing? You can still taste the cauliflower, to my credit, and the cheddar and mustard work really well with it, so I'm still counting this as a victory towards cauliflower love. I've been meaning to roast some since it works so well for broccoli, but for some reason I never got around to it.

This sounds delicious! I love cauliflower, and basically anything in cheese sauce is awesome, yum

I'm not a huge cauliflower fan, but in a cheddar mustard cream sauce I certainly could be!

My hand wasn't raised either. I'm a skeptic, but I'll venture out and put it on the "to try" list. :)

I never even tried cauliflower until a few years ago - turns out I hate it raw, but cooked?  Total fan.  And you had me at cheese and mustard for this recipe!!

We love cauliflower so I know we'll REALLY love this dish!  Looks delicious.

Cauliflower one of the few veggies that my whole family loves.  That sauce sounds fantastic!  I pinned this to make sure that I get it on my menu!

We love cauliflower and I'm always looking for a new recipe for it.  Can't wait to try this one.

I'm not a huge cauliflower person either, but a cheesy sauce just might be enough to make me reconsider :)  Sadly every time I buy cauliflower I usually wind up throwing it away because I've ignored it in the produce drawer for a while...

Mustard? Check. Cream? Check. Cauliflower? YES! I'm a huge fan of cruciferous vegetables, they don't get enough lovin'. With a little help from cream and mustard, this is definitely something I'd love to try. Maybe with a lil sherry in the cooking mix! 

Wow- I believe I could eat my weight in this!!! MMM

If you like cheese and cream, you might want to try a cauliflour au gratin. I've made it a couple of times and it is always fantastic!

This looks incredible! I am loving that cheesy sauce! :)

This looks delicious. I love finding recipes that are healthy and yummy!  

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