This keto loaded cauliflower casserole is an EASY 30-minute keto comfort food for the cheese and bacon lovers! If you miss a classic loaded baked potato casserole on your keto journey, this keto cauliflower casserole will fix it!
The soft cauliflower bites coated with cheesy cream cheese dill sauce burst in flavors. Plus, one serve contains only 5.3g of net carbs so you can indulge with no guilt!
Cauliflower keto casserole ingredients
Calling all the cauliflower lovers with this new keto cauliflower recipe! An easy, cheesy cauliflower gratin with soft, melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower florets coated in a thick cheesy cream cheese and cheddar sauce. Add to this some crispy bacon pieces, chives and it will taste like a keto carbonara dish, without the carbs, of course!
Let’s see the simple ingredients you need to make this keto cauliflower cream cheese casserole.
Cauliflower – you need a large head of cauliflower which is about 6-7 inches diameter cut into small florets. The smaller you cut the florets, the softer they become and the tastier this loaded cauliflower casserole will be. Cauliflower is a great keto-friendly vegetable, in particular when it’s cooked!
Cream cheese – I like thick, rich heavy cheese sauce in casseroles, and cream cheese is the best for this! It reminds me of my old-time family French cauliflower gratin.
Garlic powder – or fresh garlic.
Chives – fresh is best, you can substitute for 1 tablespoon of dried chives.
Cheddar – I am using a combination of white shredded cheddar cheese and red cheddar.
How to make a baked cauliflower casserole recipe?
Cut & cook the cauliflower
The success in any cauliflower casserole recipe is to cut the cauliflower florets into small bite-size chunks. First, remove the large stems from the cauliflower head, it will release large cauliflower florets. Then, cut each large florets into bite-size pieces.
Steam, boil, or roast
There are many ways to cook cauliflower for a tasty casserole. I personally think that steaming is the best. You can steam the cauliflower florets into a steam basket or in the microwave. Steamed cauliflower is the best option for many reasons:
it is faster than roasting or boiling.
steaming doesn’t boost the cauliflower flavors – if you are not a cauliflower fan, this will make the vegetable bland in flavor.
it creates soft, melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower bites, not watery or crunchy.
involves minimal dishes – roasting involves one or 2 baking sheets, plus parchment paper while steaming only takes a steamer.
However, if you don’t have a vegetable steamer, you can:
roast the florets with olive oil on baking sheets at 200C (400F) for 20 minutes. Note that roasted cauliflower has a stronger cauliflower flavor.
boil the florets in vegetable stock or boiling water until fork tender – about 8-10 minutes. For this option, make sure you drain and cool for 10 minutes before adding into the cheese sauce.
Whatever the technique you choose to bake the cauliflower, cool it down before you add the cauliflower to the cheese sauce. The florets need to steam out to avoid a watery casserole.
How to make the cheese sauce?
This keto cauliflower casserole recipe is made with a cream cheese sauce cooked in bacon fat. First, prepare a large saucepan or pot (to fit all the cauliflower florets!) and fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Set aside 1/3 cup of the bacon pieces, this will be used to load the casserole dish at the end. Then, add heavy cream, cream cheese, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Stir and simmer the sauce until all the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Finally, remove the pot from the heat and stir in fresh chopped dill half of the shredded cheese. Your cheese sauce is ready to be used for your casserole.
Assembling the keto cheese cauliflower casserole
In order to assemble the casserole, you first need to combine the cooked cauliflower florets into the sauce. If the pot you used to prepare the sauce is not big enough to fit all the cauliflower florets, transfer the sauce into a large bowl. Stir the cauliflower into the sauce to fully coat each floret with the cheese sauce.
Then, transfer the cheesy cauliflower florets onto a large 9-inch x 13-inch casserole dish. Spread evenly and sprinkle the remaining crispy bacon pieces and shredded cheese on top.
Finally, bake the cauliflower casserole at 220C (425F) for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is grilled on top and bubbles form on the sides of the baking dish.
A baked cauliflower casserole – keto side dish or light dinner
Cauliflower casseroles are very popular keto diet side dishes to grilled meat or fish and perfect to serve to non-keto friends too! It’s a tasty Thanksgiving side dish swap to the classic mashed cauliflower, and delicious with turkey.
I guarantee that everyone will love this recipe, even the kids. You can serve this recipe by adding fresh chopped dill or green onions on top of the baking dish for extra flavors.
How to store your casserole?
Keto casseroles are convenient make-ahead keto recipes for any time of the day. In fact, they store very well in the fridge for up to 3 days into the baking dish. Or, you can freeze your casserole in an airtight container. I recommend freezing your casserole into single-serve containers. This is a great way to know exactly how much carbs each frozen portion contains. Then, when you need one serve, thaw in the fridge overnight. You can rewarm this casserole on a plate in the microwave or in an ovenproof dish at 180C (350F) until hot.
Authentic French Green Bean recipe from sauteed in olive oils with almonds, shallots, garlic and deglazed with lemon juice. An easy side dish for any occasion. Dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and low carb
9ozBacon sliceschopped into bite size pieces, about 6 slices
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Preheat oven to 425F (220C) Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
Cut the cauliflower head into bite-size florets, you should have about 1.8 lb/800g of small florets.
Place the cauliflower florets into a steamer basket and place the basket into a large pot with 2-inch water at the bottom. Steam the cauliflower for 8 minutes until fork tender.
Drain cooked cauliflower florets and set aside 10 minutes to steam out.
Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce.
In a large pot (can be the one you used to steam the cauliflower), fry the bacon pieces for 2-3 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup of cooked bacon in a bowl (you will use this to add on top of the casserole later)
Stir in heavy cream, cubes of cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and simmer the sauce over low/medium heat until cream cheese is melted and sauce is thick and creamy.
Remove from heat, stir in fresh chopped dill, half shredded cheddar (1 cup).
Stir in the cooked cauliflower florets until evenly coated with the cheese sauce.
Transfer the cheesy cauliflower florets into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer
Top the casserole with the remaining crispy bacon and shredded cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, switching to grill mode for 3-4 minutes if needed to grill cheese on top.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with extra fresh dill if desired
Serve immediately as a main dish or low carb side dish to grilled meat/fish.
Store up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can be frozen in an airtight container. Defrost in the fridge the day before and rewarm in the microwave or saucepan.
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Recipe serves 8. One serve contains 5.3g net carbs