This is a superb combination of 3 powerhouse vegetables. When I want a vegetarian side dish that feels a little special, I often go for this. It’s a delicious way to eat a lot of really great for you vegetables.
Since vegetables are such an important part of a healthful diet, I’m always looking for a tasty way to serve them. Even though I’m a vegetable lover, it can be tiresome and boring to eat a lot of plain veggies that are just steamed or sautéed. A little of that goes a long way. So I’m a big fan of incorporating them in interesting ways – the art of the hidden vegetable. This dish is a perfect example of the hidden vegetable technique. Instead of mixing the broccoli and cauliflower with a plain cheese sauce, spinach is mixed in as well. The sauce holds a surprisingly large amount of spinach, while still remaining cheesy and rich tasting.
I found this recipe awhile ago on Epicurious and have changed it around to make it easier, gluten free, and even more nutritious and tasty. It’s a one-pot preparation. The same pot that’s used to steam the vegetables is also used to make the sauce. All the vegetables are mixed with the delicious sauce, and the whole thing is baked until bubbly. I usually double the recipe since it makes for delicious leftovers.
One tip – don’t overcook the cauliflower and broccoli since they get baked for an additional 25 minutes. You don’t want them turning to mush.
Serve this nutritious casserole as a side dish or as a vegetarian main dish along with a salad.
- 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets, 1 small head of cauliflower 1-1 1/4 pounds
- 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets, 1-1 1/4 pounds
- 12 ounces baby spinach or 1 10 oz. package frozen spinach thawed
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup gluten free flour
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2/3-1 cup chicken broth
- scant 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided (see instructions for how to divide)
- Steam cauliflower and broccoli until crisp-tender. Remove from steamer basket and set aside. Add fresh spinach to steamer basket and steam until just wilted. If using thawed frozen spinach, steam until heated. Remove basket with spinach in it and let drain and cool. Squeeze liquid out of spinach in batches with your hands and chop.
- Pour water out of steamer pot and dry. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk in. Cook, whisking often, for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and 2/3 cup of chicken broth and nutmeg. Add more chicken broth as necessary to create a sauce that is the consistency of turkey gravy. Pour liquid in slowly and whisk constantly and the sauce will be smooth and clump-free. Whisk over medium heat until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach and 2/3 cup cheese.
- Coarsely crumble cauliflower and broccoli with your fingers (into small bite-size pieces) and mix into sauce in pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Butter a 1 1/2 quart (about 8 "x 10" x 2" deep) baking dish. Spread mixture into prepared dish. (May be made 8 hours ahead of time up to this point and kept covered and refrigerated.)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over the gratin. Bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. Add 10 minutes cooking time if just removing from the refrigerator. Turn oven to broil and cook until top is lightly brown, about a minute or two. Serve hot.