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Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin - A creamy, zesty side dish that is perfect with just about any meal! Great for Cinco de Mayo dinners!

We’re continuing our Cinco de Mayo menu inspiration today with this delicious Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin! It’s the perfect vegetable side dish to serve alongside any main course dishes like our Mexican Pulled Chicken or our Carnitas!

(Actually, this Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin is so good – no need to wait till Cinco de Mayo…You can serve it year ‘round with just any entrée!)

There are three basic steps to this recipe: roasting the cauliflower, making the cheesy cream sauce, and then combining the cauliflower with the sauce and baking it together until the top is golden brown and bubbling!

Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin - A creamy, zesty side dish that is perfect with just about any meal! Great for Cinco de Mayo dinners!

But the big flavors in our recipe come from roasting the cauliflower in a combination of sriracha seasoning, red curry paste, plus other seasonings (all of which you can find at your local supermarket), that together lend a wonderful, zesty flavor to this warm and creamy casserole!

While you can vary the amount of sriracha seasoning you use in our Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin based on how spicy you want the finished dish, whatever you do – don’t leave out the red curry paste! The curry paste lends a more gentle heat to the dish, as well as a fantastic and almost sweet flavor that is the absolute perfect complement to the savory Gruyere Swiss and Parmesan cheeses and other seasonings in the cream sauce in this recipe.

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Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin - A Family Feast

Spicy Cauliflower Au Gratin

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


For the Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha Seasoninge (now available from McCormick)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Red Curry Paste (available in supermarkets in ethnic section – we recommend Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar if you can’t find champagne vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Au Gratin

  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups light cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder (we recommend Colman’s Mustard Powderone !important; margin:0px !important;” />)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere Swiss cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim cauliflower down to bite sized florets discarding stem and leaves.
  3. In a medium bowl mix Sriracha, garlic, curry paste, vinegar, soy sauce and both oils. Add cauliflower and toss. It’s OK if not all pieces are covered and do not add more oil.
  4. Pour out onto a parchment lined sheet pan and roast for five minutes. Turn each piece and roast for five more minutes. Remove from oven and hold.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  6. While cauliflower is roasting, in a medium pan heat milk and cream to hot but not scorched.
  7. In another medium to large pan, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add flour over medium heat. Mix and cook for three minutes.
  8. With a wire whip, whip in milk and cream one third at a time whipping as you add. Remove from heat.
  9. Add nutmeg, mustard, salt and pepper and stir. Add all of Parmesan and half of Swiss.
  10. In a small bowl mix bread crumbs, second half of Swiss and the two tablespoons of melted butter.
  11. To assemble, pour one third of the sauce into the bottom of a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.
  12. Remove cauliflower from pan with a slotted spoon leaving all oil in the pan and place over the sauce.
  13. Top with remaining sauce and bread crumb topping.
  14. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.
  15. Let set for five minutes, and then serve.

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  • Kim Beaulieu wrote:

    I think my son would go bonkers for this one Martha. I think I am going to have to make it when he visits.

  • Angie | Big Bear’s Wife wrote:

    so nice to see a creamy side dish like this with veggies! (well with cauliflower!!)

  • Brenda@Sugar-Free Mom wrote:

    You beat me to the punch! I was just planning on doing a spicy cauliflower gratin! Yours sounds fabulous! I will have to rethink my recipe! I’m loving the spices you used!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Brenda! That sriracha seasoning is great! I look forward to seeing your version – and trying it too!

  • Heather / girlichef wrote:

    Oh my gosh, I want this today. Unfortunately my kids still think cauliflower in any form is from the dark side, but the hubs and I love it – so we deserve a batch all for ourselves. 😉

  • Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah’s Cucina Bella) wrote:

    Sounds delicious — Love the Thai flavors in this!

  • Lora @cakeduchess wrote:

    I just adore cauliflower and of course, spice! What a fun way to add more cauliflower into your life, Martha!

  • Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic wrote:

    Now that’s a cauliflower dish that I can get behind. Spice + Cheese = Yes, please!

  • The Food Hunter wrote:

    I really need to eat more cauliflower.

  • Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) wrote:

    Oh man… this looks so beyond amazing!

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