This Swiss cheese cauliflower casserole brings a velvety rich elegance to any meal. Whether you’re entertaining, or just looking for a side dish for a family meal, you’ll want to take a closer look at this one. Loaded with Swiss cheese, flirty with green peas and savory with prosciutto.
About This Recipe – Why It Works
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I happily eat year ’round, raw or simply roasted with some garlic and olive oil. I love its flavor in all its nutty glory.
But with its snowy clusters, it seems perfectly seasonal for a winter side dish.
And creamy easy cheesy cauliflower in a casserole = it’s over the top.
This Swiss cheese cauliflower casserole is one that I keep in my back pocket and sneak it out for special occasion or holiday meals …and not so much for the reason that it’s difficult or time consuming, it’s just one of those side dishes that brings a velvety and rich elegance to a special meal.
Cauliflower with it’s naturally creamy properties and flavor makes a perfect partner for Swiss cheese.
Swiss cheese is a generic name for several varieties of North American cheese which resemble Emmental (or Emmentaler) which originated in the area around Emmental, Switzerland.
Our absolute favorite of this type of cheese is Jarlsberg which is a mild, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Norway. It tends to be sweeter and stronger than Emmentaler, it’s buttery and rich in texture with a nutty flavor. Bingo…great for cauliflower.
We buy it in a huge wedge at Costco and savor every bite, whether it be just a small slice on a cracker or on top of a sliver of ham with a dollop of Dijon. Great flavor combinations.
Let’s take a look at this creamed cauliflower casserole:
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Parsley: Purchase flat leaf Italian parsley. As I learned in Culinary School, curly leaf lettuce is mostly used for plating garnish, like you see next to that burger you ordered in a restaurant.
- Swiss Cheese: Use a good quality Swiss cheese. One that tastes like Swiss cheese. I’ve found some of the cheaper brands don’t have much flavor. I like Jarlsberg for this recipe. It’s perfect for this baked cauliflower with cheese sauce.
- Cauliflower: Use a nice big head of fresh cauliflower for this recipe. I’ve not used frozen cauliflower, so not sure if the texture would be compromised. We don’t want mushy cauliflower.
- Flour: All purpose. We use the flour as a thickener for the roux.
- Cream: Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream will work for this recipe.
- Peas: Any brand of frozen peas will work for this recipe. They add color and a hint of sweetness.
- Garlic: 4 cloves, minced. Practice those knife skills. Using a garlic press will bring more oil out of the garlic and will produce a stronger slightly bitter flavor.
- Prosciutto: Prosciutto has a delicately sweet and salty flavor. It’s a lovely addition to this casserole. A perfect partner for Swiss cheese.
- Prosciutto: In place of prosciutto use pancetta. Unlike prosciutto, pancetta needs to be cooked before eating. You will have to cook it longer to make sure it’s cooked through.
- Cheese: If you’re not a Swiss cheese fan, substitute any white melting cheese. Muenster would work well here or Monterey Jack. I’d avoid a yellow cheese, simply for the presentation factor.
How To Make This Recipe
This recipe comes together as expected with a simple roux of flour, butter and cream and is made even more decadent with the Jarlsberg cheese and prosciutto. Colorful with some dots of peas will have everyone yodeling for more.
Starting this recipe stovetop and finishing in the oven, this is easily a one pot side dish using my smaller Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I’ve included an Amazon link for the Dutch oven, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Step 1: Even though Prosciutto is air dried cured ham, ready to eat, we’re still going to chop it up and get it nice and hot in our Dutch Oven. Start by adding butter to the Dutch oven that’s been heated over medium high heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1 minute. Add the prosciutto and get it nice and hot. Stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Step 2: Add cauliflower florets to the hot pan and stir well. Cook cauliflower until it just starts to lose its crispness. About 4 minutes.
- Step 3: Stir in the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add cream, peas and cayenne pepper (if using) and stir well. Remove from heat.
- Step 4: Stir in Swiss cheese and parsley.
- Step 5: Move Dutch oven to the oven and bake until bubbly. About 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
FAQ’s and Ingredient Swaps
I never have used frozen cauliflower. If you do use it, keep in mind the texture of the cauliflower may be compromised, as it’s already been blanched before freezing. Add it, still frozen, at the same time you stir in the Swiss cheese and parsley. Then bake.
Yes, the end result will not be as thick and rich, but either milk or half and half will work fine. I’d recommend using full fat milk. A lower fat milk may separate or curdle during cooking.
Recipe For Swiss Cheese Cauliflower Casserole
If you’ve been looking for a cheese cauliflower casserole with cheese sauce recipe, I hope you give this one a try, and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating and scroll down and leave a message about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a favorite creamed cauliflower recipe, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Special Side Dish Recipes
- Creamy Cheesy Tangy Microwave Cauliflower
- Blue Cheese Potatoes Dauphinoise
- Green Vegetable Medley
- Rosemary Potato Strudel
And if you’re looking for more side dish recipes, don’t miss my side dish category. You’ll find lots of recipe ideas, including the most popular for Broccoli Cheese Whiz Rice Casserole.
Swiss Cheese Cauliflower Casserole
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 ounces prosciutto chopped
- 1 large head cauliflower divided into florets
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Cups heavy cream or whipping cream
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 Cup Frozen peas
- 1 1/2 Cups Jarlsberg or Swiss Cheese shredded
- 1/2 Cup Parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In an oven-proof casserole melt butter over medium heat stove top. When the butter becomes bubbly, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the prosciutto and sauté 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower florets and cook just until is begins to lose its crispness, 3 – 4 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the flour, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the cream and the peas. Blend well. Season with the cayenne, salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Bake uncovered until top is lightly browned and the mixture is bubbly. About 30 minutes.
Swiss Cheese Cauliflower Casserole …It’s what’s for a Side Dish.