Cauliflower With Bechamel Sauce Recipe—Cavolfiore Colla Balsamella

Cauliflower with bechamel sauce
Michael Powell / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
125 Calories
9g Fat
10g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 125
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 77mg 387%
Calcium 77mg 6%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 508mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cauliflower is a bit of a culinary blank slate, adaptable to so many different recipes. Lately, it's showing up in pizza crusts and as a keto diet substitute for rice, but before it started serving time as a starch substitute, this cruciferous veggie was a reliable side dish, often steamed and served on dinner tables along with broccoli and carrots.

This cauliflower with béchamel is one of those reliable side dishes, but dressed up a bit with this classic rich white sauce. If you've never made a béchamel sauce before, don't worry—it sounds fancy, but it's not hard. Bechamel is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine and is made by combining milk, flour, and butter, along with salt and pepper. It is, however, best made and used right away, so a bit of strategy helps. Prep the sauce while the cauliflower is cooking, and have it ready to go before the whole dish goes into the oven to warm up and brown a bit.

As a side, it would be delicious with a roasted chicken, or with an herby salmon dish or a rich roast beef dinner.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Remove the leaves and the green ribs from a large cauliflower, make a deep X-shaped cut in the stalk, and boil it in salt water till a fork penetrates into the florets.

  3. Drain the cauliflower, break it up into little pieces, and finish cooking it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of butter, seasoning it with salt and pepper.

  4. Transfer the cauliflower to a heatproof dish, dust it with grated Parmesan, and cover it with béchamel sauce.

  5. Bake it in a 375 F (185 C) oven for 10 minutes, or broil it till the top is browned.

  6. Artusi suggests this be served between courses or with stewed meat or boiled chicken.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.


  • Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley or chives, or a combination of both.
  • When making the béchamel, feel free to add a little bit of nutmeg, or some chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or chives. Or add a teaspoon of dry mustard to the flour before making the béchamel.
  • Feel free to use a combination of broccoli and cauliflower if you like.

How to Store Cauliflower With Béchamel Sauce

  • You can keep this vegetable dish in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat in an oven-safe dish at 350 F for about 10 minutes.
  • You can freeze this dish, but the béchamel sauce won't really be the same once it's defrosted and reheated, so it's not advisable.