Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese

Will Ottolenghi ever stop writing cookbooks?!! That’s rhetorical, of course. I certainly hope he continues, because I am enamored with the four I already own, 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.

By Published On: February 4th, 201991 Comments on Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Travel Gourmet February 4, 2019 at 6:49 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 8:00 AM - Reply

      Well that sounds wonderful as well, but I do love the seasonings in this version. Leave it to Ottolenghi!

  2. Blogtastic Food February 4, 2019 at 7:31 AM - Reply

    Looks amazing! I always struggle to make cauliflower exciting so something like this is always a treat (:

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 8:00 AM - Reply

      You will love this! Such fabulous flavors plus cheesiness!

  3. chezlerevefrancais February 4, 2019 at 7:51 AM - Reply

    Love this. We always used to put mustard powder in the sauce but this is definitely on the next level!

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 8:01 AM - Reply

      Definitely,. It was really exquisite!

  4. Anonymous February 4, 2019 at 9:49 AM - Reply

    This sounds and looks delicious. Next time I make cauliflower cheese this is what I will make.

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 10:04 AM - Reply

      It’s a wonderful recipe!

  5. jenniferguerrero1 February 4, 2019 at 9:50 AM - Reply

    I’m so glad you love it! What did we ever do before Ottolenghi?!

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 11:22 AM - Reply

      I know. I mean, I don’t know!!!

  6. Jodi February 4, 2019 at 9:52 AM - Reply

    OMG does this look DIVINE!!

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 10:04 AM - Reply

      It truly was!

  7. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso February 4, 2019 at 10:38 AM - Reply

    Wonderful tasty recipe. :)

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 12:16 PM - Reply

      Thanks Ronit! It was so good.

  8. Kelly | Foodtasia February 4, 2019 at 10:42 AM - Reply

    I haven’t heard of cauliflower cheese before, but it sounds delicious! Between the spices and the cheese, it must be an excellent way to serve cauliflower.

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 12:16 PM - Reply

      I think it’s a British thing? But this is a much nicer way to prepare it! Your wings were great, by the way!

  9. Colleen February 4, 2019 at 10:55 AM - Reply

    All of those ingredients sound so good together. Love your pics!

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 12:15 PM - Reply

      Thanks! It’s a really fabulous side dish that could definitely be a meal with a green or tomato salad.

  10. Laura February 4, 2019 at 12:00 PM - Reply

    Oh, Mimi, that’s a cookbook I’ve been wanting, and this recipe makes me want to get it pronto! This looks and sounds divine – thanks!

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 12:15 PM - Reply

      I’ve made a lot out of it already!

  11. Gaz February 4, 2019 at 12:32 PM - Reply

    I really like the idea of mustard flavours in cauliflower cheese.

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 1:07 PM - Reply

      And curry flavors! It was a crazy good combination of flavors!

      • Gaz February 4, 2019 at 1:36 PM

        Oh yes, I agree. I often add a cheap curry powder to cauliflower meals. The cauliflower takes up the flavours so well.

      • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 4:54 PM

        Obviously Yotam agrees with you!

  12. Katherine | Love In My Oven February 4, 2019 at 2:57 PM - Reply

    I can’t get enough cauliflower these days. I’ve got to try this!

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 4:53 PM - Reply

      I know you will love it!

  13. Gloria Baker February 4, 2019 at 3:04 PM - Reply

    This looks wonderful ! I love all with cauliflower !

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 4:53 PM - Reply

      It is a wonderful vegetable!

  14. Jovina Coughlin February 4, 2019 at 3:49 PM - Reply

    I am looking forward to making this recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 4:53 PM - Reply

      Absolutely! It’s magnificent!

  15. Linger February 4, 2019 at 6:07 PM - Reply

    The spices AND the mustard in this recipe!!!!! Oh My Goodness. This looks absolutely fabulous. Thanks for posting.

    • chef mimi February 4, 2019 at 6:15 PM - Reply

      You are so welcome. I was really excited to make it!

  16. Abbe@This is How I Cook February 4, 2019 at 9:54 PM - Reply

    Not only does this sound fabulous, it looks fabulous too! And I do love Ottolenghi!

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:11 PM - Reply

      Me, too. I resisted buying Jerusalem for a while, then realized I was being dumb. He’s not a trend!

  17. cookingontheweekends February 4, 2019 at 10:46 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:12 PM - Reply

      Aw, thank you so much! It’s really a wonderful side dish, and especially good if you love curry flavors.

  18. sherry a mackay February 5, 2019 at 1:55 AM - Reply

    yum yum we love cauli cheese in this house. i’ve never really cottoned on to ottolenghi. everyone else seems to adore him, but i must be a bit slow:)

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:13 PM - Reply

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

  19. Kathryn February 5, 2019 at 2:16 AM - Reply

    I love Cauliflower and I love Ottolenghi….I have all his book except Simple…must look again. 😊

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:14 PM - Reply

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

  20. Fran @ G'day Souffle' February 5, 2019 at 9:58 AM - Reply

    Yes! I also have this cookbook and I’ll definitely give this recipe a try. Looks like it could be a meal in itself!

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:15 PM - Reply

      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!

  21. Eva Taylor February 5, 2019 at 4:33 PM - Reply

    Wow, I was actually licking my lips as I read through your post and salivated over the photos. I can only imagine how wonderful this smells as it bakes.

    • chef mimi February 5, 2019 at 5:44 PM - Reply

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

  22. Jeff the Chef February 5, 2019 at 10:29 PM - Reply

    Even though I love cauliflower, I probably have the same “meh” reaction, but not with this amazing cast of ingredients. Sounds amazing!

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 7:08 AM - Reply

      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!

  23. Ron February 6, 2019 at 1:29 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 7:06 AM - Reply

      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.

  24. David @ Spiced February 6, 2019 at 7:57 AM - Reply

    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! :-)

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 8:05 AM - Reply

      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!

  25. kitchenriffs February 6, 2019 at 10:12 AM - Reply

    Wow, terrific dish! LOVE all the flavors in it, particularly the cumin and curry. Thanks.

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 10:36 AM - Reply

      You will love it! Really nice flavors.

  26. Dawn @ Girl Heart Food February 6, 2019 at 10:38 AM - Reply

    Love cauliflower and love the flavours in this dish, Mimi! Sounds so warming and just perfect for this cold weather we’ve been having :)

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:08 PM - Reply

      It tastes and smells so good! Of course, I could probably eat curried shoe sole, but that’s just me!

  27. sippitysup February 6, 2019 at 12:37 PM - Reply

    The choice of cheese is really wonderful and unusual. I’d been considering this book and this recipe may have sealed the deal. GREG

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 1:16 PM - Reply

      It’s really another spectacular cookbook. And this recipe is a perfect example.

  28. ShePaused4Thought February 6, 2019 at 2:38 PM - Reply

    That looks divine. I can’t wait to try it.

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 5:42 PM - Reply

      You’ll love it! I can guarantee it!

  29. Teresa Blackburn February 6, 2019 at 4:10 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 6, 2019 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      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!

  30. Ann Coleman February 6, 2019 at 8:44 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2019 at 7:15 AM - Reply

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

  31. annie@ciaochowbambina February 7, 2019 at 11:25 AM - Reply

    OH MAN! This looks amazing!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2019 at 12:21 PM - Reply

      It was really good! I’m definitely making it again.

  32. Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 8, 2019 at 1:20 AM - Reply

    I always add mustard to my cheese sauce, but never curry powder. I shall have to give this a go when we have some colder weather :)

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:18 AM - Reply

      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.

  33. February 8, 2019 at 2:57 AM - Reply

    Wow, what a way to really fire up plain old cauliflower cheese. I do normally put a tiny bit of English mustard in mine, but I love the thought of the cumin seeds and green chillies here. Must try!

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:19 AM - Reply

      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!

  34. Frank February 8, 2019 at 7:56 AM - Reply

    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…

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:16 AM - Reply

      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!

  35. Susan February 8, 2019 at 11:09 AM - Reply

    This looks fabulous, Mimi! Pinning!

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:13 AM - Reply

      It’s really good. And it’s certainly pretty!

  36. Debra February 8, 2019 at 6:25 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:13 AM - Reply

      I know. So many cookbooks. But I do use them! You’ll love this cauliflower dish.

  37. Michelle February 9, 2019 at 6:38 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:11 AM - Reply

      I know. Every year I tell myself I don’t need any more cookbooks, but then, I buy two!

  38. David February 9, 2019 at 9:04 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 10:10 AM - Reply

      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!

  39. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina February 9, 2019 at 5:29 PM - Reply

    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!

  40. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina February 9, 2019 at 5:34 PM - Reply

    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,

    • chef mimi February 9, 2019 at 6:24 PM - Reply

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

  41. hotlyspiced February 10, 2019 at 7:52 PM - Reply

    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

    • chef mimi February 13, 2019 at 7:02 AM - Reply

      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!

  42. Loretta February 14, 2019 at 2:28 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi February 15, 2019 at 6:56 AM - Reply

      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!

  43. Angela@eatlivehappy February 16, 2019 at 9:51 PM - Reply

    Fantastic! I love this recipe!

    • chef mimi February 17, 2019 at 6:27 AM - Reply

      It was really good! Of course I love everything with curry flavors…

  44. Karen (Back Road Journal) February 26, 2019 at 9:55 AM - Reply

    This recipe takes cauliflower to a whole new level.

    • chef mimi February 26, 2019 at 3:05 PM - Reply

      It certainly does!

  45. Stanley Sawyer December 23, 2022 at 7:56 PM - Reply

    Thanks greeat blog post

    • Chef Mimi December 24, 2022 at 7:16 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It’s a great recipe.

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