This year I have been working really hard on vegetables and side dishes. I always have a ton of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts on my blog but I don't have many side dishes and vegetables because I basically rotate the same 5 of each every week. It's not that we don't eat things because we do. I'm really not sure why we don't try more new vegetables or side dishes.
When looking for vegetables I usually search by ingredient. This week green beans were on sale at the market so I started looking for green bean recipes. A lot of them were either roasting them in the oven or sauteing them with garlic or balsamic vinegar. So when I found this recipe for Green Bean and Cauliflower Gratin I was intrigued.
For starters you don't usually see green beans and cauliflower together. It's just not a likely pair. Secondly there isn't a ton of cheese in this recipe which was surprising. The sauce is made mostly from fat free half and half, flour, butter, and a little parmesan cheese. The topping is where the burst of flavor comes from. It is made with cheese, breadcrumbs, and butter.
While the recipe called for boiling the vegetables before baking I wasn't into that. I like to steam my vegetables so that's what I did. I did a quick steam on both the cauliflower and beans then put them in the creamy sauce. That ended up working well because they were soft but not mushy which was perfect in this side dish.
This dish was so good! The vegetables were tender but not mushy, the sauce was creamy and delicious, and the topping was perfection. The combination was one I wouldn't have picked but it ended up really working well. My husband and I both enjoyed it and said we would want to have it again soon.
Pro Tips & Substitutions:
- Broccoli can always be substituted for cauliflower.
- Instead of fat free half and half you can substitute heavy cream, whole milk, 2% milk, or regular half and half.
- Buy a bag of fresh green beans that can be steamed in the bag if you are looking for a fast and easy way to steam them without any mess. Simply cut the bag open after steaming and pour them into the baking dish.
- 1 ½ lb. green beans, trimmed and halved
- 3 c. cauliflower florets
- 4 T. butter
- ¾ c. breadcrumbs
- 1 t. black pepper
- ¾ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 T. flour
- 3 c. fat free half and half
- ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 t. mustard powder
- Steam the green beans and vegetables for 5-10 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
- Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium microwave safe dish and heat for 30 seconds. Add the breadcrumbs and mix. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and black pepper and set aside.
- Add the remaining butter to a large saute pan and melt over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring frequently.
- Sprinkle the pan with the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute.
- Slowly add the half and half while whisking the mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simme, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the Parmesan, mustard powder, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Remove from heat.
- Spread a third of the cream mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Place the vegetables in the dish on top of the mixture. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the vegetables.
- Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mix.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2019.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 9g
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