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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce + Sausages

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 95 minutes
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

Alison’s great grandma was said to have made a dish like this often in the 1930s and 40s. Whole roasted cauliflower is popular again and pairing it with a decadent, pourable, cheese sauce is definitely the way to make this a showstopper. It takes a little longer than our typical recipes to roast, but it’s mostly hands-off time in the oven.


  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 12 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
  • 12 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 pound Chicken Sausage
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 cups Cream
  • 2 cups Cheese (we used ½ cheddar and ½ gouda)
  • Nutmeg (grated fresh)
  • 5 cups Spring Mix Salad Greens
  • 4 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (vinaigrette)

Cooking Instructions


    Slice off just the bottom so it sits flat and most of the outer leaves are removed.

  • 3. BOIL

    Find a large pot that fits the whole head of cauliflower and fill with water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 bay leaf (if you do this around the cauliflower while cold you can make sure not to burn yourself). Remove the cauliflower and bring to a boil, then, carefully add the cauliflower, core side facing the ceiling (so top of head down). Simmer for 15 minutes, until cauliflower is fork tender.

    Drain cauliflower, and carefully place it on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan.

  • 4. ROAST

    In a small bowl, stir together: 2 Tablespoons olive oil, ½ Tablespoon dried parsley, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. Spoon or brush this over the cauliflower. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until crust is charred and brown. You can broil for a few minutes at the end to really get crispy edges.


    Roast sausages whole or sliced, on a pan in the oven until as browned as you like them.


    Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan on medium to melt. Whisk in flour, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, so flour can cook. Then whisk in cream and milk, until smooth. Add salt and bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.

    Turn off heat and shred cheese. Add it in small handfuls while whisking. Add a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Taste, and add a little salt if needed.

  • 7. SALAD

    Wash and dry lettuces if needed. Toss with dressing to taste.

  • 8. SERVING

    Put cauliflower on a platter or large plate with a little rim. Pour most of the cheese sauce over top but reserve some for dipping. Serve sausages on each plate. Serve salad. Use a knife or big spoon to scoop out servings of cauliflower.

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    look for dairy free cheez sauce, there are brands that come ready to melt and eat, or make your own cashew cheez sauce for this
    anything melty is perfect: provolone, mozzarella, gouda, cheddar, even american cheese!
    you can also just roast it, no sauce. Try adding miso and butter as a topping, or your favorite sauce, like BBQ, teriyaki, pesto, sundried tomato blend, etc.
    Make the cheese sauce. Omit boiling and chop into large florets. Coat with the oil and mustard blend and roast cauliflower for about 2 - 4 minutes until tender. Serve with skewers like fondue, perhaps add potatoes and bread cubes too

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • I usually add a little bread and fruit to complete the meal, especially if they don’t love lettuce
  • Slice sausages and skewer
  • Offer cauliflower scooped from the whole, might be shocking and fun to see, or cut into florets and offer sauce on the side with toothpicks like fondue (good to add bread for this purpose too)

For Toddlers

  • Scoop out some of the roasted cauliflower and mash it. Add some cheese sauce on the side or not
  • Slice the sausages
  • Serve with hummus instead, or a hard boiled egg
  • Add bread and fruit

For Choosy Eaters

  • Boil some pasta to go alongside, with or without the cheese sauce. Offer 1 floret of cauliflower to try
  • Slice the sausages and skewer
  • Add bread and fruit to complete the dish

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. You can boil then drain and chill the cauliflower. Roast another day and serve with sauce
  2. Make cheese sauce ahead and store it with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap right on the surface. Reheat over low, on the stove top just until it’s warmed
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