Lighter cauliflower cheese

Makeover this classic side dish with some clever swaps to reduce the fat and calories, while keeping the flavour rich and creamy

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:30 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 251
  • fat 12.4g
  • saturates 6.9g
  • carbs 15g
  • sugars 10g
  • fibre 4.3g
  • protein 18g
  • salt 0.9g


  • 400ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large cauliflower, about 1kg, untrimmed
  • 75g extra-mature cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 25g Parmesan, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150ml buttermilk


  1. Mix 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornflour and set aside. Press the garlic cloves in a garlic crusher to smash – but not crush – them. Put them in a pan with the rest of the milk and heat until just coming to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and leave to infuse.

  2. Trim any leaves from the cauliflower and cut out the thick main stalk, then cut the cauliflower into florets. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the cauliflower, return to the boil, then simmer for about 5 mins until just cooked but still with a bit of bite.

  3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the cauliflower into a large colander, drain well, then transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish, about 1.5 litres (see tip, left). Mix both cheeses together. Stir 2 heaped tbsp with the chives and a grinding of pepper, and reserve for sprinkling over.

  4. Stir the cornflour mix into the warm milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring, until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat, discard the garlic, then stir in the cheese until it has melted. Stir in the mustard and buttermilk, and season with pepper. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to evenly coat, then sprinkle over the reserved cheese mix. Bake for about 25 mins or until bubbling round the sides and golden on top.

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