Recipes by Request: Stuffed Cauliflower

Years and years (and years) ago, my parents gave me The All-Colour Busy Cook’s Book for Christmas when I moved away from home. For the most part, it has gathered dust on my shelf—first because I was single, cooking for one, and couldn’t be bothered (and consequently lived on tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for the better part of the first year); and later because wow…I don’t know what the author’s idea of a busy cook was, but I had neither the time nor the patience for recipes as fiddly as the ones in that book!

But while I may have tried only a handful of the recipes, there is one that I go back to time and again: Stuffed Cauliflower. It’s still a little on the fiddly side (and requires four cooking pots/pans!!!), but it is honestly worth the effort…and it’s the perfect autumn/cool weather/gloomy day comfort dish. Which is why I made it for dinner yesterday, how a Facebook friend ended up asking “how do you stuff a cauliflower?”, and the reason I’m posting the recipe for you today. I hope you enjoy! 🙂


Stuffed Cauliflower (adapted from The All-Colour Busy Cook’s Book)

1 large cauliflower

 1 large onion, chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

2 cups chopped, canned tomatoes

4 T tomato paste

1 tsp dried mixed herbs (I use an Italian seasoning blend)

salt & pepper

½ cup cooked rice

 2 cups milk

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 T butter

¼ cup flour (if you’re GF, an all-purpose GF blend makes an acceptable sauce…though not quite as smooth as the usual)

1 tsp Dijon-style mustard

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Put the whole cauliflower in, stem-side down, and cover. Cook 5-10 minutes (it will depend on the size of your cauliflower), or until just fork-tender. Drain. Return cauliflower to pot, but this time stem-side up. Cut almost all the way down through the stem so that the cauliflower falls into quarters(**). Set aside.

While the cauliflower is cooking, fry the onion and meat until lightly browned. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in rice, and add salt and pepper to taste.

While the meat is cooking, heat the milk and mushrooms together and simmer for 5 minutes. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, and stir over medium heat for one minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and mushrooms to make a smooth sauce. Simmer two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half the cheese.

Fill the cuts in the cauliflower with the meat sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the whole thing. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

**Note: if your cauliflower falls apart when you cut it into quarters, just cut the whole thing into florets instead, lay them in a baking dish, cover with the meat mix, and top with the sauce and cheese. Bake in the same way.



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One response to “Recipes by Request: Stuffed Cauliflower”

  1. Carmen S. Small Avatar

    Off the top of my head, I would consider melting cheese and whisking the creme fraiche into it – like manchego cheese, Gruyere. The roasted flavors would go well with a cheddar too, but it wouldn’t mix well with the chimichurri. So if you went with cheddar I’d nix the chimichurri (which also has serrano peppers in it). If you nix the chimichurri, you could flavor the creme fraiche with curry. That would go great with the roasted cauliflower flavor. I’m sure there are other ideas, and am interested in hearing what other people think.

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