Cauliflower Béchamel

I made this on a lark when I was trying to finish some milk that was coming close to its expiration date. It turned out to be a new favorite with my kids as it tastes surprisingly like mac-n-cheese but without the macaroni or the cheese. Imagine! Guilt-free mac-n-cheese.

It is made in the same fashion as the mushroom béchamel in my other blog. Here’s the recipe…

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

Yield: 12 servings or approximately 5 cups

thick Cauliflower béchamel

  • 4 tablespoons butter (or oil)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cup whole milk (or unsweetened soy milk), warmed for 1 minute in the microwave
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes – optional
  • salt and pepper (preferably white pepper) to taste


1.Using a glass measuring cup, pour out 1 2/3 cup of milk/soy milk and warm in the microwave for a minute.

2. Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic and start chopping the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces.

3. In a small pot, melt the butter over low heat.

4. Add the flour and garlic and whisk to moisten.

5. Cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes until you smell a slightly nutty aroma. You just want to cook it until the flour loses its raw taste. Do not let it brown otherwise, the flour will lose its thickening properties.

6. Add the chopped cauliflower and the salt and stir to coat. Cook for 3 -4 minutes, until the cauliflower pieces soften and begin to moisten the roux.

7. Add the nutmeg, chili pepper flakes, and white pepper.

8. Remove the pan from the fire and add 1/4 cup of the warmed milk and whisk well to remove lumps. Slowly add the rest of the milk while continuing to whisk to incorporate it into the roux mixture.

9. Place the saucepan back on the burner and cook the sauce over low/medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce begins to bubble.

10. Add the scallions as the mixture comes to a boil.

11. The sauce will begin to thicken as it comes up to a boil but keep cooking the sauce for the full 10 minutes as it needs to reach its maximum thickness.

12. Serve warm.

13. Any leftover cauliflower béchamel can be used in a frittata, a soufflé, or as an omelet filling.

14. If I were making croquettes, I would only add 1 1/4 cup of milk to the sauce to ensure that the béchamel was of adequate consistency for binding and holding its shape when cooled.

Note: The secrets to success are:

  • Not to brown the flour, just it cook enough to get the raw taste out;
  • Warm the milk beforehand, don’t add cold milk to the hot pan;
  • Move the pan off the hot burner before adding milk;
  • Add only a few tablespoons of milk at first to the flour mixture to ensure that there are no lumps;
  • Add the rest of the milk slowly while mixing well;
  • Place the pan back on the low burner and cook SLOWLY- be patient – and mix constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.

Written by Anju Kapur of Anju’s Table. All content and images on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without my permission. Should you wish to share this recipe on your site, please add a link to this post as the source.

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