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Brown Butter Sage Parmesan Cauliflower Bake

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I think potatoes get a lot hype around the holidays. And don’t get me wrong- I love a good spud as a side, but I also think there are so many other seasonal vegetables that simply don’t get credit for being delicious and are easily forgotten at our holiday table. Cauliflower is one of them!

Now, I want to be clear- this isn’t about cauliflower taking the place of potatoes completely- it’s about letting cauliflower shine as a delicious option that’s not yet… another potato. This recipe might be my personal favorite from the 2022 Healthy Mama Holiday Recipe Series because it is SO unassumingly delicious. Like, ok, fine, cauliflower bake… but with brown butter, sage and parmesan and those crispy, herby, buttery breadcrumbs on top? I’ll have seconds, please.

Brown Butter Sage Parmesan Cauliflower Bake
Serves 6-8 as a side

2 heads cauliflower, separated into florets (stems chopped, as well)
salt as needed

For sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Breadcrumbs:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch salt
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 tbsp parmesan to top

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower and a large pinch of salt. Boil 10-12 minutes, until cauliflower is fork-tender.
  2. While cauliflower is cooking, prepare brown butter cream sauce. Add butter to a small sauce pot. Slowly heat on medium low, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Stir in garlic and sage and cook another 30 seconds.
  3. Whisk in flour and toast 20-30 seconds to create a roux. Add in milk, whisking, until it starts to thicken. Add in heavy cream and parmesan. Simmer, stirring, until mixture reduces enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. To make breadcrumbs, heat 2 tbsp of butter in a small saute pan until melted. Stir in breadcrumbs. Season with a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Stir until golden. Stir in parsley.
  5. Grease a 9×13″ or casserole dish with butter or oil. Combine cauliflower and brown butter cream sauce. Pour into bottom of dish.
  6. Top with breadcrumbs and additional parmesan. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Cover with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.
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Brown Butter Sage Parmesan Cauliflower Bake

Ingredients

Scale

2 heads cauliflower, separated into florets (stems chopped, as well)
salt as needed

For sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Breadcrumbs:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch salt
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 tbsp parmesan to top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower and a large pinch of salt. Boil 10-12 minutes, until cauliflower is fork-tender.
  2. While cauliflower is cooking, prepare brown butter cream sauce. Add butter to a small sauce pot. Slowly heat on medium low, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Stir in garlic and sage and cook another 30 seconds.
  3. Whisk in flour and toast 20-30 seconds to create a roux. Add in milk, whisking, until it starts to thicken. Add in heavy cream and parmesan. Simmer, stirring, until mixture reduces enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. To make breadcrumbs, heat 2 tbsp of butter in a small saute pan until melted. Stir in breadcrumbs. Season with a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Stir until golden. Stir in parsley.
  5. Grease a 9×13″ or casserole dish with butter or oil. Combine cauliflower and brown butter cream sauce. Pour into bottom of dish.
  6. Top with breadcrumbs and additional parmesan. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Cover with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.

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