…or rather, Cheese Cauliflower – because we invert the elements of this classic winter comfort food to make it feel-good in both senses of the word.
Classically, the essential comfort components of this dish are the bechamel sauce and the bubbling melted cheesy top, luxuriously blanketing the cauliflower itself. Here, we replace the fat and starch of the bechamel with a velvety cauliflower puree, and the layer of cheese with a few cubes of burnished halloumi, which have a much stronger presence and so we don’t need as much to make the same impact.
Recipe: Healthy Cauliflower Cheese
Serves 2-3 as a main meal
1 head of cauliflower
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp butter
100g low-fat halloumi (about half a supermarket packet)
Optional: fresh chives, crispy onions
1. Put a small amount of water on to boil and set up a steamer basket in a saucepan.
2. Wash the cauliflower and break into individual florets, chop the stem into 1cm slices. Steam until tender and easily pierced with a fork (8-10 mins). I like to pour the leftover hot water into the bowls the cauliflower cheese will be served in, so as to warm them.
3. Whilst the cauliflower is steaming, dry the halloumi with paper towels and slice into 1 cm cubes. Fry in a dry pan over a medium-high heat until burnished on at least two sides. Put the cheese to one side.
4. Melt the butter in the frying pan and fry the garlic gently until soft and fragrant.
5. Puree the cauliflower with the garlic and butter (and chives, if using) in a food processor until very smooth. Add pepper to taste, but not salt – the halloumi will be very salty. If you prefer a softer/looser texture add a splash of warmed milk or hot water.
6. Stir in the halloumi cubes and serve (with a sprinkling of crispy onions, if using)
Curl up on the sofa with your warm bowl of cauliflower cheese and enjoy.
Ring the changes – replace the halloumi with crispy bacon, gently toast two tablespoons of breadcrumbs in the pan after frying the garlic and sprinkle over the dish to serve