Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese


Will Ottolenghi ever stop writing cookbooks?!! That’s rhetorical, of course. I certainly hope he continues, because I was enamored with the four I already owned, before I just had to buy Simple, his most recent, published in 2018. And I’m so happy I did.

I’ve already made many recipes from Simple. It’s that good. And, it doesn’t seem like a repeat of Jerusalem, Plenty and so forth. In fact, I’m not sure I spotted pomegranate seeds in Simple’s food photos!

One extremely intriguing recipe is called mustardy cauliflower cheese. I’ve seen cauliflower cheese recipes before, meh, but when Ottolenghi has one, I pay attention!

From Ottolenghi: This is the ultimate comfort dish, looking for a roast chicken, some sausages, or a pan-fried steak.

Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese
Serves 4
Printable recipe below

1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 green chilies, seeded, finely diced
3/4 teaspoons black mustard seeds
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 1/4 ounces aged cheddar, coarsely grated
1/3 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 5 minutes, until just softening. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Put the butter into a 9” round casserole pan or oven-proof dish and place over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 8 minutes, until soft and golden.

Add the cumin, curry powder, mustard powder and chiles and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the mustard seeds, cook for 1 minute, then pour in the cream.

Add 1 1/4 cups of cheddar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.

Add the cauliflower, stir gently, and simmer for 1 minute before removing from the heat.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs and parsley. Mix, then sprinkle over the cauliflower.

Bake for 8 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cauliflower is hot. Turn the broiler to high and keep the pan underneath for 4 minutes, or until the top is golden and crisp.

Keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little – just for 5 minutes or so – before serving.

You can imagine what this cauliflower smells like, with the cumin, mustard, and curry spices!

Roast chicken would certainly be the perfect accompaniment. Or sausages.

89 thoughts on “Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese

  1. Gorgeous recipe. I love cauliflower. It’s very different to a classic recipe, which I made a lot when my kids were young, and we’d have it on its own with just crusty bread and maybe salad, as a main course. This is lighter and fabulous flavourings.

  2. This does look like the ultimate comfort food dish. Perfect with roasted chicken. We have cauliflower often, and I’m sure my family would love this one. Once again, your photos are so beautiful.

    • I resist all trends. But I’ve come to realize that he’s not just a trend. He knows food and ingredients really well!

    • I couldn’t resist any longer. But I truly was excited that there weren’t pomegranate seeds strewn on every dish in this cookbook!

    • It could, but a little ham or some sausages are great with it! You’ll be glad you got this cookbook, if you’re not yet!

    • HAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s a great recipe. Anything with Indian seasoning is way better than potpourri in my book!

    • Yeah, this dish is wonderful. I have that reaction to a lot of traditional dishes. Like haggis. I don’t care what’s in haggis, it’s just not good. I’d prefer a modern version of haggis with seasoning!

  3. Must agree Mimi, I see a nice piece of roasted chicken setting beside your Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese dish. It looks very comforting. On Ottolenghi’s Simple. Great cookery book, but our copy’s cover page is different than yours. It’s white with a big yellow lemon in center. I guess different covers for different markets.

    • Yes, all of the UK printed books have the lemon. It would be interesting to know why there’s a different cover for the USA published books. This dish is fabulous. I’m definitely making it again.

  4. What a delicious looking recipe, Mimi! This sure beats the heck out of roasted cauliflower covered in something akin to nacho cheese sauce. Haha. I love the aged cheddar in this one. I’m pretty sure aged cheddar is my spirit animal! :-)

    • I’m more of a soft and semi-hard cheese aficionado but it’s funny you mentioned that. For my dinner last night I nibbled on some of the same cheddar that I used in the recipe! Good stuff. As is this recipe!

  5. Hello Mimi, Simple is one of my favorite cookbooks as well….all of his are up on my list of favs. Your cauliflower dish looks so inviting and yummy. I’m so happy Cauliflower is having it’s day in the sun of the culinary world, aren’t you? Happy February.

    • I’ve always love the cruciferous veggies, but it’s nice to do something to them besides steaming or roasting! This is a fabulous dish!

  6. I have never cooked with mustard seeds before, but this recipe looks so good that I will have to try it! I love to “spice up” ordinary foods and give them a little flavor boost. Thanks for sharing this!

    • This recipe is definitely about boosting flavor! It’s really lovely. If you’ve ever used mustard powder, that’s crushed mustard seeds.

    • OH right. You’re having summer! When I spot photos of peaches and tomatoes I know the bloggers are in the Southern Hemisphere! This recipe is really good.

    • You’ll love it. And it’s very pretty, too! My husband preferred the most roasted pieces of cauliflower, so I got out my torch and browned the rest for him. He said it was heavenly!

  7. I actually do like cauliflower cheese a lot, but I also like the idea of mixing things up a bit. In fact, adding a bit of curry powder is something I’ve been doing already, so why not a bit of cumin and mustard, too? Sounds very intriguing, as Ottolenghi always manages to be, all these cookbooks later…

    • Cumin is probably the main ingredient in the curry powder you use, no matter what region it’s from. It’s such a wonderful spice. Some commenters told me they put cumin and turmeric in their scrambled eggs, and I wondered how in the world I never thought to do that! Ottolenghi definitely knows food!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible recipe. I’m excited to try it. I have so many Ottolenghi cookbooks and have resisted buying another. You’re not helping me in my resolve, Mimi! Or maybe you are…keep sharing. LOL!

  9. Looks delicious. I’ve got most of his earlier books and, while I love flipping through them, I have had mixed results with the recipes. “Simple” sounds like it might be the trick. But where would I put it?? The shelves overflow.

  10. Ottolenghi can continue writing as many cookbooks as he wants! Like you, I get them all. I love the way he combines flavors and textures. And this cauliflower cheese is a perfect example. I haven’t made this yet, but with your recommendation I will be making it soon.

    • You said it! He knows food well. You’ll love this cauliflower recipe. I actually omitted the ground mustard, but used the seeds. I don’t like things too mustardy!

  11. Davorka,
    It’s so nice to enjoy fruit during the winter months and yes, lemon and all citrus are in season now. This is perfect for those extra vitamins and with the chia it has a healthy crunch on top! Very refreshing indeed!

  12. Mimi,
    I’m like you in that I can’t seem to find a lot of great cauliflower recipes. I’ve not heard of the chef / author of the cookbook that you used, but he/she must really be amazing if you have 4 cookbooks! I’m definitely adding this to my veggie recipe repertoire. Pinned too,

    • He is an amazing chef. He’s mostly knowledgeable on Middle Eastern cooking. Such wonderful flavors and ingredients!

  13. Yesterday I planted cauliflower that should be ready in about 12 weeks time. I would love to make this when I come into my harvest! I am a huge fan of cauliflower cheese. I haven’t tried it with mustard so looking forward to following this recipe. The greenery is a lovely touch as well xx

    • I’m kind of envious that you have a garden right now! I’ve never planted cauliflower. This recipe is pretty wonderful – I hope you get a chance to try it!

  14. What a posh cauli dish, and of course it had to be by Ottolenghi. You’ve got all his books, wow! I’ve just got Jerusalem, given to me by my daughter this past Christmas. I’ve yet to dive into it, and I know when I do, there will be no stopping me. There’s a Ottolenghi site on FB where people discuss and post recipes of all his books. You’ve inspired me to bring out that book pronto! It’s just been so busy these days.

    • I understand. I still have two cookbooks sitting on my coffee table that I got for Christmas. I have to be in the mood to look at cookbooks, no matter how excited I am to have received or ordered them!

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