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Cauliflower Gratin with Pecans and Caramelized Leeks

Cauliflower Gratin with Pecans and Caramelized Leeks

It’s true cauliflower can be anything you can think of. It is also perfect in this combination with cheese, caramelized leeks, and pecans. As this recipe was a request from my sister for her holiday preparations, it was made to be a delicious side dish for a festive meal.

Cauliflower gratin good enough to grace your holiday table

Firstly, this is one of my favorite ways to have cauliflower. It tastes really good, and it’s quite festive, even though for those of us following a low-carb lifestyle, cauliflower has become an everyday staple and a replacement for everything.

Secondly, is super simple to make even though the caramelized leeks require some presence and attention in the kitchen. It’s totally worth it as it elevates the dish by creating an umami layer.

Ingredients

  • 1 big head cauliflower, washed, pat dried, and cut into big florets
  • 2/3 – 1 cup organic heavy cream
  • 3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans (for more taste use dry roasted pecans)
  • a handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano (to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 nutmeg, freshly grated (or a pinch of nutmeg powder)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 big leeks, sectioned in half, well cleaned and pat dried (you will use the white part and a little bit of the light green)
  • avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar
Cauliflower Gratin out of the oven

How to make cauliflower gratin

  • Preheat your oven to 375F.
  • Boil the cauliflower first, for about 5-7 minutes (if your florets are smaller, maybe less, you still want the cauliflower to be firm). Drain the cauliflower and add it to a baking dish (a 9×9 inch or something similar in volume is perfect).
  • Mix the heavy cream with Gruyere cheese and nutmeg, the pecans, and some salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauce on top of the cauliflower and sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top (I added a handful, you can go crazy here if you want and don’t care for keeping the dairy moderate).
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower gets a golden brown color.
  • While the cauliflower is in the oven, prepare the caramelized leeks. Finely slice the half sections (use the white part and a little bit of the light green, but not the leaves). Add a little bit of avocado oil to a sauteeing pan (I used a large one, so most of the leeks have contact with the pan) and heat on low to medium heat. Add the leeks and stir every time they get a little stuck to the pan. When you start to get brown spots on the pan, start adding just a tiny amount of water (about 1 teaspoon) and continue to stir and watch them (continue this until they are caramelized). They take about 25 minutes to be ready, but the time is worth it; they are so tasty. At the end, add one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar (used an aged, slightly thick one), stir some more, and take off heat.
  • Add the caramelized leeks to your cauliflower and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve warm.

Since there is no flour in the sauce, it will not get thick if you prefer a thicker sauce, you can mix in about 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or tapioca flour, dissolved in a little bit of cold water first.

The caramelized leeks will be added at the end, so you can make them while the cauliflower is in the oven. Making them is easy, but you have to be there and watch them and stir them up often. These are some pictures of the process to help you visualize.

YOU WANT TO SHOP MY AWESOME ALL CLAD COPPER CORE SAUTE PAN? IT’S HERE. A LITTLE PRICEY BUT A LIFETIME PIECE AND ONE FOR SAFE COOKING

(I got the one without the long handle for storage purposes)

I hope you love this cauliflower gratin with pecans and caramelized leeks. For another easy recipe with cauliflower, you should try my Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto.

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.

Cauliflower Gratin with Pecans and Caramelized Leeks

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.57 out of 5)
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By Claudia Curici Serves: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes

It's true cauliflower can be anything you can think of. It is also perfect in this combination with cheese, caramelized leeks, and pecans. As this recipe was a request from my sister for her holiday preparations, it was made to be a delicious side dish for a festive meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 big head cauliflower, washed, pat dried, and cut into big florets
  • 2/3 - 1 cup organic heavy cream
  • 3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans (for more taste use dry roasted pecans)
  • a handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano (to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 nutmeg, freshly grated (or a pinch of nutmeg powder)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 big leeks, sectioned in half, well cleaned and pat dried (you will use the white part and a little bit of the light green)
  • avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions

1

Preheat your oven to 375F.

2

Boil the cauliflower first, for about 5-7 minutes (if your florets are smaller, maybe less, you still want the cauliflower to be firm). Drain the cauliflower and add it to a baking dish (a 9x9 inch or something similar in volume is perfect).

3

Mix the heavy cream with Gruyere cheese and nutmeg, the pecans, and some salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauce on top of the cauliflower and sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top (I added a handful, you can go crazy here if you want and don't care for keeping the dairy moderate).

4

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower gets a golden brown color.

5

While the cauliflower is in the oven, prepare the caramelized leeks. Finely slice the half sections (use the white part and a little bit of the light green, but not the leaves). Add a little bit of avocado oil to a sauteeing pan (I used a large one, so most of the leeks have contact with the pan) and heat on low to medium heat. Add the leeks and stir every time they get a little stuck to the pan. When you start to get brown spots on the pan, start adding just a tiny amount of water (about 1 teaspoon) and continue to stir and watch them (continue this until they are caramelized). They take about 25 minutes to be ready, but the time is worth it; they are so tasty. At the end, add one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar (used an aged, slightly thick one), stir some more, and take off heat.

6

Add the caramelized leeks to your cauliflower and bake for 5 more minutes.

7

Serve warm.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    grace
    January 5, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    ON THE RICH SIDE BUT YUMMY.
    Thanks for another keeper Claudia

    • Reply
      Claudia
      January 6, 2019 at 10:52 am

      Thank you Grace, glad you loved it. Yes, a little gourmet, that’s why is more like a holiday dish :D. xx

  • Reply
    Jodi
    February 1, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Mmmmm this looks lovely. I am very new to the lectin free diet so I wonder… how is heavy cream lectin free?
    I understand I could use coconut milk but am very curious about a lectin free heavy cream. I will try this recipe this weekend for sure! Thank you. Jodi

    • Reply
      Claudia
      February 2, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Hi Jodi, I recommend you read The Plant Paradox book, it will help you understand all the “why”s and will make it easier for you to implement PP in your life. The thing is, is not all about lectins. The reason we avoid certain dairy products is because they have a protein called Casein A1, which is not healthy for us (as opposed to Cassein A2 which is easier for us to digest). Heavy cream is mostly fat, so no protein, so no casein A1, so acceptable in moderation (small quantities). Look for an organic and / or grass fed brand.

      • Reply
        Jodi
        February 2, 2019 at 11:36 am

        Thanks so much Claudia! I listened to The Plant Paradox audio book a couple of weeks ago. I remember the casein A1 part but missed the part about cream not having protein. I have ordered the book on Amazon to take a better look and get a better understanding. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I will let you know how it goes. I want to try so many of your recipes!!

        • Reply
          Claudia
          February 3, 2019 at 2:30 pm

          Yes, reading and being able to highlight and review certain parts will help a lot. I had to re-read several times to remember everything. Let me know if you make anything. xx

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