This cheesy cauliflower bake is packed with tomato sauce, mozzarella and panko breadcrumbs. It's a filling and delicious winter warmer!
Oh it's so cheesy and amazing 🧀
This bake is exactly what I need every night of the winter. It's so filling and comforting but at the same time you're also eating a lot of cauliflower which makes you feel like you're being almost healthy.
It's also pretty simple to make. You roast the cauliflower while you make the sauce so that once both of those are ready you can build the bake adding layers of cauliflower, sauce, cheese and panko until you're ready to get it all melty in the oven.
Once you take it out the oven you'll be faced with the most perfect dish of bubbly, cheesy deliciousness. The cauliflower will be perfectly tender and the panko on top will be crispy. The whole thing is my winter comfort food dream.
Why we love this recipe...
This is a great vegetarian comfort food dish thanks to all the melty cheese and that rich and delicious tomato sauce throughout.
It's so easy to make, especially with a clever bit of multitasking, so you can still get this amazing winter warmer on the table on a weeknight.
Despite all the cheese you still get a nice hit of vegetable thanks to a whole cauliflower and you can bulk it out even more by adding extra veggies like broccoli, kale or anything else you fancy!
This section is here to provide further tips and ideas for alternative ingredients. The full recipe and instructions are included in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
Tomato Sauce: This tomato sauce is a simple and classic combination of olive oil, garlic, fresh and tinned tomatoes, bay leaf and chilli flakes.
Cauliflower: This is roasted before being baked in the sauce so it gets a bit caramelised and super tender.
Panko: This is sprinkled throughout the bake and on top so some of it gets soft and melty in the sauce and the rest gets crispy and crunchy on top.
Cheese: I go for a mixture of parmesan (or a vegetarian alternative) and mozzarella.
How to make it
Roast the cauliflower: Toss the cauliflower with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes.
Make the sauce: While the cauliflower cooks start the sauce by heating olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the garlic followed by the chilli flakes, chopped and fresh tomatoes and the bay leaf. Simmer.
Make the bake: Spread a layer of sauce in a baking dish and top with half the cauliflower followed by half the panko and cheese. Pour over half the sauce followed by the rest of the cauliflower. Add the rest of the sauce and top with the remaining cheese and panko and bake for 20-25 minutes.
How long to bake cauliflower?
For this recipe I start off by roasting the cauliflower in florets for 30 minutes. That gets it pretty close to being ready (if you were just roasting without cooking further in the bake then you'd probably leave in for about 35-40 minutes).
How to store leftovers?
Leftovers can be stored in sealed containers in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What to serve with this bake?
We ate this bake as a main dish with a simple salad and it was delicious but it could also work well as a side to a roast meat. Try it with this roast chicken for an amazing meal.
Want more? Try these other vegetarian recipes!
- Spicy Tomato Soup with Bulgur Wheat
- Spicy Pasta with Harissa & Aubergine
- White Bean Soup with Herby Oil
- Spicy Lentils with Paneer & Caramelised Squash
- Mushroom Orzo with Beetroot & Feta
- French Onion Galette
Cauliflower Bake with Tomato & Mozzarella
- 5 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 head Cauliflower cut into florets
- Salt and Pepper
- 4 cloves Garlic sliced
- Pinch Chilli Flakes
- 2 400g tins Chopped Tomatoes
- 150 g Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 75 g Panko Breadcrumbs
- 100 g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative
- 250 g Mozzarella cut into small pieces
- Thyme Sprigs to serve
- Heat the oven to 220°C/430°F. Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoon olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
- While the cauliflower roasts heat the remaining olive oil over a medium heat and add the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes then add the chilli flakes. Stir in the chopped and cherry tomatoes and the bay leaf. Season well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes then remove the bay leaf.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish and top with half the cauliflower. Sprinkle with half the panko and half the cheeses. Pour over half the sauce. Add the remaining cauliflower, the rest of the sauce and top everything with the rest of the cheese and panko. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
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