This gratin is great, because you use the leaves of the cauliflower, and not just the florets. With the same creamy, cheesy sauce as your favorite mac and cheese, this cauliflower dish adds comfort and vegetables to your meal rotation. Sambal is an Indonesian chili garlic paste. In this dish, it cuts through the cream and adds a touch of heat. If you don’t have any on hand, a good substitute would be Sriracha; red pepper flakes can also work in a pinch.

Serves 2-4
50 minutes


  • 1 large cauliflower (2 ½ pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese, divided
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons sambal sauce (see note above)


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. To prepare the cauliflower, remove an inch off the cauliflower core and discard. Cut cauliflower into florets and slice leaves in half along the stem.
  2. Toss cauliflower with oil, garlic, and place on a baking sheet. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare cheese sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan then whisking in flour. Cook flour mixture for one minute then whisk in milk. Bring milk to a gentle simmer, and cook until thickened, whisking frequently. Turn off heat and whisk in a ¼ cup cheese until incorporated.
  4. Place cauliflower in a baking dish and stir in parsley and drizzle on sambal.
  5. Spoon cheese sauce over cauliflower and top with remaining grated cheese.
  6. Broil for 5 minutes or until top is bubbling and golden in color.