Gluten-Free Thanksgiving :: Cheesy Cauliflower

Growing up, Thanksgiving centered around my mom’s family. To this day, my Nanny Mary is the power behind the Thanksgiving menu. From planning the menu, to coordinating who was doing what, to hosting, to doing the heavy lifting on the cooking, and now, to planning super fun activities for the kids, my godmother is a magical holiday angel. (Shoutout – I am so blessed to have an incredibly loving and supportive role model, she is seriously the absolute best and has helped to shape me into the person I am today. I love you Nanny Mary.)

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of my aunt, turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cornbread dressing, rice dressing, and oh. so. much. Pie.

Wait, what?

It was a surprise to me to learn that other families had other traditional dishes. Over the years, I have come to love these too. That said, not many of these are gluten-free, so I have been engaging in experimentation to recreate my favorite recipes.

You remember how I said I had the most amazing aunt? As it turns out, my husband does too. Aunt Sue is a gem that helped me raise my ACT score in high school (yes I have been dating my husband that long) and is one of the most loving, kind-hearted women that goes out of her way to give her time to make the community around her better.

Aunt Sue took up the mantle of making Mom Lu’s cheesy cauliflower at Thanksgiving. This isn’t something I grew up with, but it was a big deal that I missed when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Plus, for that year when we hosted Thanksgiving and served a totally gluten-free menu, my husband would have been devastated if I didn’t make the cheesy cauliflower.

Bonus – the cheese sauce described herein also works great for basically anything else. Nacho party.

Gluten Free Cheesy Cauliflower

1 cup milk
1 Tbsp gluten-free flour (I like the King Arthur 1:1 gluten-free blend)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (yes, buy the block and shred it yourself – the pre-shredded stuff contains anti-caking agents that ruin cheese sauce. It makes a HUGE difference.)
2 bags frozen cauliflower
Gluten-free breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Steam the frozen cauliflower in the microwave.

Meanwhile, shred the cheese (yes seriously, shred it yourself.) Whisk together the milk and flour in a saucepan. Add the butter and salt and heat on medium heat, whisking constantly. The milk mixture will start to thicken. Reduce the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Add as much cheese as feels right in your heart. Stir until the cheese is melted.

Put the steamed cauliflower in a baking dish. Stir in the cheese sauce. Top with gluten free breadcrumbs. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Prepare yourself for everyone to love this. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jess Allain is a mom of two, an attorney, a triathlete, and a yoga teacher. She is a member of the Junior League of Lafayette and serves on the board of The Family Tree. When she isn't swimming, biking, running, reading, practicing yoga, litigating, or cooking something up in the kitchen, you will find her playing with her two beautiful girls. Adventure is out there!


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